Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Halftime thoughts from Notre Dame-Navy

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Some quick halftime thoughts from Dublin, as Notre Dame takes a 27-3 lead:

-- Notre Dame's ground game, even without Cierre Wood, looked fantastic. But it's hard to say if that's because the Irish are playing well, or because Navy's defense is playing very, very poorly (as always, it's surely a little of both). Theo Riddick has 85 yards on 14 carries, and George Atkinson III busted free for a 56-yard TD run. The veteran Irish line is just manhandling Navy.

-- Maybe Brian Kelly should consider Stephon Tuitt as part of that backfield rotation. A 6-foot-6, 303-pound man should not be able to run as fast as he did on that 77-yard fumble return. Nobody even came close to catching him. Incredible. And just a sophomore. It was ND's longest fumble return since 1985. (The school record is 107, set in 1904.)

-- Kelly didn't ask Everett Golson to do much, instead relying on the ground game and short passes in the flat. Golson made a tremendous throw to DaVaris Daniels down the sideline, but made a lazy, casual throw into coverage that was picked off at the 4-yard line. That came with nine minutes left in the half, and amazingly, Golson hasn't seen the field since, thanks to Tuitt's fumble return. It'll be interesting to see how he bounces back from it (certainly helps that it didn't cost Notre Dame anything, and it also certainly helps to have a 24-point lead). It's worth noting that Kelly didn't berate Golson on the sideline afterward. There won't be a halftime hook this time around.

-- Golson stop fade to Tyler Eifert in the end zone .Get used to it. What corner is going to be able to outleap Eifert for a jump ball?

-- Matthias Farley acquitted himself well at safety. Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell both got beat once or twice, but most of Navy's passes have been short ones. 

-- Remarkably, Manti Te'o's fumble recovery was the first of his illustrious career.

-- Navy QB Trey Miller is a hell of a player. He's 10-of-12 for 113 yards passing, with 43 rushing yards.  Great athlete with a strong arm. Definitely gives Navy an added dimension, but the talent around him is too green to do much. Probably a safe bet that this will wind up being the easiest game on the Irish schedule, and by a long shot.

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NDs pass defense is going to be shredded by the likes of Barkley, Richardson, Jones, Nelson, and even Stanford's Josh Nunes. They will have 30 put on the routinely this year, and I predict a 5 loss season. They do indeed need some "tougher citizens" playing on that team. Otherwise they are simply a another version of Tulane.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on September 1, 2012 9:39 AM.

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