Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 8, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 37 of 108

BY DAN MURPHY T he rain didn't start to fall until after halftime at Notre Dame Sta- dium on Aug. 30, but the skies opened up for senior quarter- back Everett Golson late in the second quarter. After sitting out all of the 2013 sea- son on an academic suspension, Golson accounted for Notre Dame's first five touchdowns, including two scores in the final 2:33 of the first half to break open an eventual 48-17 victory over visiting Rice. The first signs of what would be a triumphant return to the field started to show about a week before Golson took the field in a Notre Dame uniform for the first time in 600 days. "For the last four or five days, he car- ried himself with a great deal of con- fidence," Irish head coach Brian Kelly said. "There's a lot of things that he will tell you that he's got to continue to improve on, but there's a confidence that he carries with him that is starting to emanate, and that's going to only get better and better." That self-assuredness, Golson said, was the biggest difference in his game between his rookie season in 2012 and a new and improved spotlight perfor- mance to open his senior year. The prodigal quarterback's athleti- cism was as advertised on several of his scoring plays, when he showed off his ability to improvise and extend plays while revealing his improved arm strength and accuracy. He fin- ished the day 14-of-22 passing for 295 yards through the air, two touchdowns throws and three more scores on the ground. Notre Dame's offense looked far from surgical, but posted 569 total yards en route to its most productive outing since a 50-10 win over Navy in Golson's first debut in Dublin two years ago. Golson said his second season opener unfolded the way he imagined it dur- ing his year away from the program. "I think that's what inspired me to do all the training and all those days of me just working by myself," Golson said. "I think that's what helped me. … We WORTH THE WAIT Quarterback Everett Golson dazzled, and the offense rolled, in his return to the Irish lineup

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