Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 8, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 42 of 108

RICE RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE The rebuilding and relatively green Irish front seven did not allow any of the 28 rushing attempts by an Owls running back to gain more than seven yards, limiting them to 82 yards on the ground and 3.0 yards per carry. Quarterback Driphus Jackson (11 carries for 61 yards) was the main threat. Rice head coach David Bailiff admitted the changing Notre Dame schemes up front made it difficult to identify what they were doing. The Irish received especially high marks from head coach Brian Kelly and Bailiff for how well they tackled in space. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame RICE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE This is an area the Irish will have to clean up ver- sus Michigan, especially given how the Wolverines have had a proclivity of burning Notre Dame with explosive pass plays from mobile quarterbacks. The Owls tallied on 26- and 53-yard completions (although the latter came late against the re- serves), and also had 26- and 30-yard connections. Without captain/safety Austin Collinsworth (in- jured MCL) quarterbacking in the secondary, the Irish were a little more vulnerable. Nevertheless, sophomore corner Cole Luke shined overall in coverage in his first career start. ADVANTAGE: Even NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. RICE RUN DEFENSE The three running backs — senior Cam McDaniel (eight carries for 40 yards) and sophomores Tarean Folston (12 carries for 71 yards) and Greg Bryant (eight carries for 71 yards) — rotated every series, and each stayed in virtually the entire possession for his turn rather than shuffling in and out. Whether that's the method that will be used the remainder of the year is uncertain, according to head coach Brian Kelly, but what makes it feasible ON PAPER REVISITED BY LOU SOMOGYI Sophomore Will Fuller was one of seven Notre Dame receivers to register a reception in the 48-17 win over Rice. His first catch of the year was a 75-yard touchdown connection with senior quarterback Everett Golson. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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