Apparently the short punishment given Everett Golson by head coach Brian Kelly last Saturday night for violating team rules, was an inspiration for the young Irish quarterback because he had his best game of the season in Notre Dame's romp over Miami, 41-3.
Golson, as you know, didn't start and miss all of three plays. Tommy Rees started and took three snaps then gave way to Golson, who promptly led the Irish the final 69 yards of a 88 yard drive for the game's first TD.
As expected, the Irish running attack took center stage against the Hurricanes, who have one of the lowest rated rush defenses in the country. Golson finished the night with 17 completions in 22 attempts for 186 yards. He rushed six times for 51 yards.
ND had two 100 yard plus runningbacks. George Atkinson III had 123 yards on 10 rushes and Cierre Wood 118 on 18. Both had TDs. Freshman Cam McDaniel had a good night with 55 yards on 11 carries when Kelly began to substitute freely.
The Irish defense started slow. In fact if it wasn't for some dropped passes by Miami receivers the Hurricanes could have been ahead by a score early on. But as the second quarter began, and for the rest of the game, the Irish defense was dominating.
It was apparent from the start that Miami wanted to test the young Irish secondary. The Irish got some help from Miami receivers and then the ND "D" got tough.
More on the game later.
Today the Irish face a Stanford team that is ranked 16 or 17th, depending on the poll, and was rated one of the top five teams in the nation at the start of the season.
Stanford started slow with a 20-17 win over San Jose State, then picked up the pace with an easy win over Duke, 50-13. The Cardinal really opened eyes when they upended then top two ranked USC, 21-14. The high Stanford was on after the USC game came crashing down the next week when Washington upset the Cardinal, 17-13.
Last week, in a real shoot-out, Stanford beat Arizona, 54-48 in overtime.
The Cardinal is a good football team and is very similar to Michigan State. They mix it up with both the run and pass. Leading the way is QB Josh Nunes. He has completed 86 of 159 passes for eight TDs, and just four interceptions. Plus, he's not afraid to run with the ball as he has 70 yards on 16 carries this season. Top receivers are Zach Ertz and Ty Montgomery. Top rusher is Stepfan Taylor with 577 yards on 119 carries.
ND leads the series, 17-9, but Stanford has won the last three in a row. Last year the Cardinal won, 28-14. The last ND won was in 2008, 28-21.
The game will be televised nationally by NBC-TV with a 3:40 p.m. kickoff.
IRISH NOTES:ND's defense is now ranked second in the county in scoring "D". The Irish have given up just 39 points in five games and that is the fewest since 1976 season when the Irish allowed 37 in their first five games. ND is also the only one of 120 FBS teams not to have allowed a rushing TD this season. The Irish are 17th in rushing defense, 10th in pass-efficiency defense, 13th in total defense, and 20th in sacks....ND moved up in the polls from ninth to seventh thanks to the win and a few teams ahead losing....As we noted Miami's rush defense is among the lowest rated in the country. That helped ND to rush for 376 yards, the second most by a ND team since 1988 and had the Irish move up from 84th to 40th in rush offense. ND rush offense will be tested today against Stanford, ranked sixth against the rush....The biggest plus of Golson's performance last week was no turnovers. ND ranked seventh this week in turnover margin, up from 117th the same time last year....No major injuries last week, just some bumps along the road. RB Theo Riddick suffered a bone bruise to his elbow; TE Tyler Eifert took a couple of stitches to a cut to his elbow; WR TJ Jones rolled on his ankle; and TE John Goodman had a stiff back. All are expected to play today....The home away from home game was a sellout (62,871) at Solidier Field, home of "da Bears", as expected, because Chicago has the biggest alumni association for ND and gives the university million of dollars every year....Some more game stats. TJ Jones had four catches for 45 yards, DaVaris Daniels, three for 48.....Kyle Brindza missed his first field goal try after making eight in a row. He made two of three, 22 and 32 yards. The miss was 34 yards....Manti Te'o, now getting some Heisman Trophy talk, led the defense with 10 tackles. KeiVarae Russell had six....Scouts from the Orange and Sugar bowls were at the game....NFL scouts were also at the game. Teams who had scouts on hand were Green Bay, Philadelphia, Arizona, San Diego, Houstion, Denver, Tennessee and, of course, da Bears....ESPN's GameDay will be live from the ND campus today. It is the first time since October 2005 that the pregame show has been at ND....I may have misled readers last week when I said the Miami game was called the Shamrock Series. Actually the Shamrock Series is all ND "home away from home" games. Last year it was the game with Maryland played at the Redkins' stadium.... There will be a lot of local favor in South Bend today. A very large number of Irish fans from the Tamaqua-Panther Valley and Schuylkill-Carbon area will be on hand....Today the Irish will need to have its defense play as it did against Michigan and Michigan State. But more importantly, the Irish offense, and Golson in particular, has to be able to move the football both on the ground and in the air. It will be a real test since Stanford has one of the best run defenses in the country. Golson had a great game last week, with no turnovers. He needs that type of game today. In my preseason picks I went with the Cardinal. Today I have changed it slightly, to a toss up. The team that commits the fewest turnovers will prevail.