Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

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

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Page 45 of 111

TURNING POINT Pitt was barely hanging in the game with a 14-3 deficit in the first half when it picked up a first down at the Notre Dame 21. On the next play, quarterback Nate Peterman's pass over the middle was intercepted by diving fifth-year senior safety Matthias Farley at the 1-yard line with 4:55 left before halftime. Pitt still had the field-position advantage after an Irish punt, but Notre Dame forced a three-and-out series. Three plays later with only 1:55 remaining in the half, sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer found junior speedster Will Fuller in single coverage, resulting in a 46-yard touchdown and what would prove to be an insurmountable three-score Notre Dame lead at 21-3. The teams traded scores in the second half, but the closing sequence of the first half provided Notre Dame the cushion it needed. STAT OF THE GAME Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman entered the game ranked 15th in the country in completions percentage (67.4) while running a controlled, short passing game. He also had not thrown an interception in 151 consecutive passes (a streak that ended at 163). Against Notre Dame, Peterman was held to a 38.7-percent clip, completing only 12 of 31 pass attempts. More notable was during the decisive first half when the Irish built a 21-3 halftime lead, he was 3-of-18 passing (16.7 percent) for only 44 yards. Those type of numbers are virtually unheard of in today's brand of football. Several catchable passes were muffed by the Panthers, but they also had prob- lems gaining separation against the Irish defense. Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd, a prime NFL prospect, had only one catch for nine yards in the first half. DEPTH DEFYING The left shoulder/upper body injury to star senior running back C.J. Prosise in the second quarter that knocked him out the remainder of the game likely elicited angst among Fighting Irish faithful and the coaching staff. It looked like he might become the eighth player this season to have a season-ending injury, although reports after the game were that he'd be more "day to day." Yet the Irish didn't miss a beat with freshman Josh Adams, who rushed for 147 yards on 20 carries. At the end of last spring, the incoming Adams was a prime redshirt candidate because of the presence of part-time running back Prosise and the junior tandem of Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant. It's a huge compliment to the Irish system and recruiting under Brian Kelly. That is what makes a "program" and not just a team. THREE OBSERVATIONS BY LOU SOMOGYI

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