Although this rivalry hasn’t been officially christened “Catholics VS Convicts” since 1990, this years edition did not disappoint. Well, it didn’t if your a Notre Dame fan.
If your a Miami fan, then you are very sad about the Canes’ losing two in a row to the Fighting Irish. Ever since the season opening victory over Navy, the Fighting Irish have been highly dependent on their defense.
The reason for this is because of a slow down from the Irish offense. But tonight, Notre Dame finally broke out of it’s offensive mini-slump. For the first time since September 1st, the Irish have scored over 20 points.
They put up 41 tonight against a Miami defense that has given up over 30 points multiple times this season. At the start of the game the Hurricanes had a little optimism.
Everett Golsen started the game on the bench for violating team rules according to head coach Brian Kelly. Tommy Rees started and participated in the first four plays before being replaced by Golsen. Things went downhill for the Hurricanes from there.
Golsen put the Irish on his back and started the march towards victory. While Golsen got all of the attention right before kickoff, the focus would slowly shift to the Notre Dame running backs.
Tonight the Irish ran for 376 yards. It was the first time they ran for over 300 yards since 2002. Cierre Wood accounted for 118 yards, George Atkinson pitched in with 127, Everett Golsen’s feet ran for 51 yards, starter Theo Riddick had a quiet 21 yards, and on Notre Dame’s final drive Cam McDaniel accounted for all 55 yards that were accumulated on that possession.
Cierre Wood found the end zone twice, Atkinson and McDaniel had one touchdown run each. Even though Brian Kelly runs a “spread” offense, he always makes sure that the running game is effective.
As great as the rushing offense was, the Irish did throw the ball a few times. Between Golsen and Rees they completed 19-of-26 passes for 211 yards. Neither man was sacked.
The Irish offensive line definitely deserves a huge amount of credit. No sacks allowed, and they had their way with the Hurricanes defensive linemen.
At times the Miami bunch looked like they were getting tossed around like toys on the Soldier Field surface. Thanks to them, the Irish gained 587 yards.
The last time they gained over 500 yards was back in 2005 in the season ending victory over Stanford that year. But as great as the offense was, the unsung heroes honor still belongs to the Fighting Irish defense.
For the third game in a row, they have not allowed a touchdown. In the last 11 third quarters in which the Irish have played, they have held their opponents scoreless.
I’d be surprised if the Irish defense isn’t ranked higher once the new rankings come out on Monday. At this point in the season there is no doubt that the backbone of this Notre Dame team is the defense.
But if the offense can keep putting up points like this, and if they can wear down opposing defenses like they did tonight, they have a good chance of finishing the season unbeaten.
The Irish are now 5-0 for the first time since 2002. I think at this point, it’s safe to take the Fighting Irish seriously.
Here is the box score from tonight’s game: http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/boxscore?gameId=322800087
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