Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 21, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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murphy's Law dan murphy with a new sense of confidence. "I think that just showed the team, hey, you know we can handle this," Jones said. The new confidence was contagious. Senior captain Bennett Jackson said he started to yell in the tunnel while the team waited to retake the field after halftime. Other players joined in. Then Kelly, and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco started to yell too. The energy flowed from one to the next like elec‑ tricity through a wire. It sparked a pass rush that had hi‑ bernated through the first five games of the season. Senior Prince Shembo and junior Stephon Tuitt combined for four sacks and spent the majority of the second half in Arizona State's backfield. During one five-play stretch, they hit quarterback Taylor Kelly four times and aided two inter‑ ceptions. In the second half, it was the de‑ fense's turn to throw the counter‑ punches. Junior safety Matthias Farley surrendered a game-tying score early in the fourth quarter. He ended the next drive with his second intercep‑ tion of the season. The Irish linebacker corps took a big blow when junior Jarrett Grace broke his tibia in the first half. His re‑ placement, fifth-year senior Dan Fox, returned an interception for a touch‑ down that sealed the game's fate. He also recovered a fumble that the Irish converted into a touchdown late in the third quarter. "It's just being able to answer the call," said junior Cam McDaniel, who rushed five straight times for 32 yards and set up a field goal after Farley's miscue. "In our two losses I think that was one of the things that really made it tough. We weren't able to really an‑ swer the call at times." Against Michigan, Notre Dame had a chance to drive for points be‑ fore halftime much like in the Arizona State game, but didn't come close. In their loss to Oklahoma, the Irish of‑ fense gained seven yards on nine plays in the fourth quarter after falling be‑ hind by two scores. They didn't sniff a comeback. A year ago, Notre Dame routinely trailed in the fourth quarter, but never looked beaten. The sentiment was usually, "How are they going to work their way of out a mess this time?" And somehow, they always did. That confidence seemed to return when Rees found Jones with 10 sec‑ onds lefts in the second quarter in Texas. And with it, a cloudy-looking 2013 became much brighter. Notre Dame heads into its midsea‑ son bye week with a 4-2 record. In front lies a wide-open schedule. The Irish should be favored in each of their games from now until the season finale against No. 5 Stanford. They won't coast through without a few speed bumps. But if they have indeed rediscovered how to respond, there's no reason why they can't march through to Palo Alto with BCS hopes still on the line. ✦ Dan Murphy has been a writer for Blue & Gold Illustrated since August 2011. He can be reached at

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