Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2012

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 89

ON PAPER REVISITED USC RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE Fifth-year senior running back Curtis McNeal rushed for 26 yards on USC's first four plays, and it appeared the Trojans would be able to establish the line of scrimmage early against Notre Dame, just like last year. But McNeal's five carries thereafter netted 12 yards. Junior Silas Redd also tasted some success with 12 carries for 77 yards. That was in part to find- ing more space up front because the Irish safeties played further back off the line to protect against the dangerous game-breaking receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. In two different goal-line stands, though, once the field became shorter, safeties Zeke Motta and Matthias Farley were both vital figures by aligning close to the edge, pinching the run inside and mak- ing crucial stops. Junior nose guard Louis Nix III led another stellar effort that helped limit the Trojans to 95 yards on the ground. Notre Dame's goal-line stand in the fourth quarter when the Trojans were unable to score on six plays that began at the Irish 2 was a microcosm of the entire season. Advantage: Notre Dame back Max Wittek was consistent statistically, complet- ing 7 of 11 passes for 64 yards in the first half and 7 of 12 throws for 122 yards in the second. Other than the 53-yard heave and completion to Lee in the game's final five minutes, the Irish did exceptional work of keeping completions in front of them and limiting the yards after the catch. The Irish used more twisting and stunts along the USC PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE In his first career start, redshirt freshman quarter- BY LOU SOMOGYI 16 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns per game. Against Notre Dame, the duo was limited to 12 catches for 167 yards and one score. Advantage: Notre Dame 146 yards) ran with a fervor and physicality that was as good as any observed in the 31-year his- tory of Blue & Gold Illustrated, especially given the competition. His yards after contact likely were a season high, and his timing and reads on cutbacks were exceptional. Meanwhile, the offensive line was providing enough seams inside for him to hit them with his strong bursts. Riddick's best play came on Notre Dame's final NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. USC RUN DEFENSE Senior running back Theo Riddick (20 carries for scoring drive when he broke through and evaded two potential tackles for what should have been a lost yardage play to pick up 14 yards to the USC 10. Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson (nine carries for 47 yards) ran enough option and draws to force USC's defense to honor that aspect, even though his cramping up at the end of the first half seemed to limit his mobility. The Irish rushed for 222 yards against USC after producing a season low 41 yards against the Trojans in 2011. Advantage: Notre Dame front in the first half, but seemed to stunt them- selves out of some fits. In the second half, it was more of an up-field approach and appeared to aid the overall defensive effort against the run and pass. There isn't a better receiving tandem in the coun- try than Lee and Woods, who had been averaging — but his lone completion was for 36 yards to senior tight end Tyler Eifert to set up a 33-yard field goal that provided a 19-10 cushion. In the first half, he connected on 14 of 22 throws for 181 yards, dis- tributing the ball to six different targets. The slants, particularly, were popular in the first half, and he consistently drilled those tosses with velocity and accuracy. The pass protection for Golson was strong NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. USC PASS DEFENSE Golson was only 1-of-4 passing in the second half throughout the game, giving him the opportunity to set his feet. However, Notre Dame's passing wasn't

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - December 2012