Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Halftime report: Notre Dame 27, Western Michigan 17

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame scored four touchdowns in taking a 27-17 halftime lead over Western Michigan on Saturday. But it's doubtful coach Brian Kelly is spending much time congratulating the Irish's quick-strike offense in the Notre Dame lockerroom.

Judging by his halftime interview with NBC, it's a good bet he's lambasting his defense, which had three takeaways in the half, but also showed little backbone in allowing three long scoring drives -- two of them for touchdowns.

Particularly the Broncos' 10-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by quarterback Alex Carder's three-yard run on a draw with 15 seconds left in the half that made it 27-17. The Irish had all the momentum after Dayne Crist made the most of a late first-half drive that looked like it was going nowhere and threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Eifert that gave the Irish a 27-10 lead with 2:19 to play.

Missed tackles and penalties aided the ensuing Western Michigan drive, including an illegal substitution penalty that turned a third-and-seven into a third-and-two at the Notre Dame 48. Carder gained 20 yards to the 18 on a scramble and scored form the 3 three plays later.

Western Michigan gained 212 yards in the first half. That's 28 more than the Broncos gained against Idaho in the entire game

Notre Dame scored in short bursts. On its first play from scrimmage, Crist threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd for a 7-0 lead 12 seconds into the game. Western Michigan responded with a 15-play, 59-yard scoring drive, with Carder scoring on a one-yard run to make it 7-7.

Darius Fleming intercepted Carder and wide receiver John Goodman, getting the ball on a reverse, threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Floyd for a 14-7 lead. Crist scored on a nine-yard run, but the PAT was blocked and Notre Dame led 20-7 with 9:16 left in the half.

John Potter's 23-yard field goal got the Broncos within 20-10. But Gary Gray intercepted Carder at the Notre Dame 45 to set up Crist's 39-yard TD to Eifert.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on October 16, 2010 3:23 PM.

Brian Kelly, Irish will find a way to survive without Kyle Rudolph was the previous entry in this blog.

Notre Dame defense responds as Irish break it open, lead 41-7 is the next entry in this blog.

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