Sunday, October 28, 2012

Notre Dame Remains Undefeated One More Week, Beats OU 30-13

[Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson (5) scrambles as Oklahoma defensive end Chuka Ndulue (98) defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. Photo: Alonzo Adams / AP]

[] If you read my Notre Dame Football preview back in August you know I certainly did not predict this, but right now I am not complaining. Not one bit.

The fourth-ranked Irish survived yet another test, this one on the road in Norman, Okla.,  defeating the No. 8 ranked  Sooners 30-13. Today ND-nation anxiously awaited to see where the polls would place Notre Dame, and they’ve landed in the No. 4 spot on both the AP and USA Today polls and have grabbed the No. 3 spot in the BCS standings.

Alabama and Oregon still will likely meet in the title game if both win out, but the Irish are at least in the picture again for the first time in years.

The Irish had a slow first half start, managing just 10 points in the first half, but rolled over the Sooners in the second half.

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson completed 13-of-25 passes for 177 yards with no interceptions. He also ran for 64-yards and scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter, finishing his first game this season and keeping former starter Tommy Rees on the bench.

Star linebacker Manti Te’o, the leader of Notre Dame’s 11th ranked defense, had one interception and 11 tackles to bolster his potential as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Notre Dame came in at anywhere from a 9 1/2 to 11-point underdog, but that didn’t stop the Irish from piling on 20 points in a decisive fourth quarter.

“What we’d been hearing was a lot of people didn’t think we could win this game. That kind of just added that fuel to my fire that was already burning,” Golson told the media in post game interviews. “We just wanted to come out and show them that we can.”

Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o had another big day against the Oklahoma Sooners. [Photo: Sue Ogrocki/Associated Pres]
“We knew what we could do. Today’s no surprise,” Te’o told the media. Te’o has five interceptions and two fumble recoveries so far this season, putting him on many Heisman watch lists. ”We knew that if we came to work, we came into today with confidence and everybody doing their job that we would be fine. I’m glad we came out the right way.”

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones completed 35-of-51 passes for 356 yards, with one interception and no touchdowns for the 5-2  Sooners. The Sooners were hoping that a win over the Irish would get them back into the national title race, but no such luck for Oklahoma.

“We’re better than we were at the start of the season,” Jones told the media in post game interviews. “We hit a bump in the road. Maybe the national championship’s not in the picture, that’s probably gone, but we still have the Big 12 and a bowl game up in front of us.”

This was a statement game for the 8-0 Irish. Four of their wins have come against top 25 teams, including two road games against top 10 foes. The national media was flush with praise for Notre Dame, including some from well known naysayers who have finally and reluctantly come around.

“We really don’t think about that. We really don’t care what other people think of us,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told reporters after the game. “(The players) really just care about each other, Notre Dame and winning football games. They’ll let everybody else decide who we are.”

The second-ranked Irish defense was as tough as ever against the Sooners, stopping the long passes and causing Jones and his offense to make mental mistakes under pressure. Oklahoma’s first two red-zone possessions ended with field goals, and the Sooners didn’t score their first touchdown until the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Blake Bell and their “Belldozer” short-yardage run package finally were able to  punch one in.

That one tied the game at 13 with 9 minutes and 10 seconds remaining in the game.

Notre Dame wanted to control time of possession and avoid playing catch-up against the Sooners. ”That was the way we set up. We were going to give up yards to keep the points down,” Kelly told the media. “We could not let the points get out of reach for us.”

With three potential wins on the horizon for the Irish, Brian Kelly and his staff should have time to continue to develop Golson’s skills. A potential stumbling block is the regular-season finale at USC, but the Trojans are already out of the national title hunt.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Notre Dame – Oklahoma Game Preview

[Photo: Matt Cashore, Notre Dame]

[] The much anticipated game between Notre Dame (7-0) and Oklahoma (5-1) is almost here as the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish head into hostile territory on Saturday to face No. 8 Oklahoma. This is only the second meeting since 1968 between the traditional football powers and Notre Dame’s first trip to Norman, Okla., since 1966.

Back in 1957, Oklahoma’s 47-game winning streak came to an end with a 7-0 home loss to the Irish.

Notre Dame definitely has the defense to hold Oklahoma’s offense at bay, but do they have enough offense to beat the Sooners? That factor will likely decide the outcome.

The Fighting Irish have averaged 25.9 points, but their biggest offensive outputs came against over-matched opponents such as Navy and Miami.

Against teams with stronger defenses like Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford and Brigham Young, the Fighting Irish averaged only 17.5 points and the Stanford match up went into overtime.

Oklahoma has the nation’s fifth-ranked offense, averaging 44.7 points. This will the stiffest test for a Notre Dame defense that has allowed just 9,5 points per game. The Sooners’ defense also has proven stingy, with the first-team unit allowing just one touchdown in the last three games.

Oklahoma’s only loss was 24-19 against Kansas State, which ripped West Virginia a week ago.

The big question will be which Notre Dame offense takes the field since quarterback play has been shaky at times despite the unbeaten start.
Irish quarterback Everett Golson and his offense will have to have a turnover free day to upset the Sooners in Norman. (Photo: Brian Spurlock, US Presswire)

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson and his offense will need to control the ball and avoid turnovers while hoping for a road victory that will extend their unbeaten run. Golson sat out the BYU game last week because of concussion-related symptoms.

Notre Dame’s defense will need to limit Oklahoma’s big plays and try to keep the Sooners outside the 20-yard line. Within the 20 in the “red zone,” Oklahoma has come away with points just under 97 percent of the time. The Sooners also like to pound it out on the ground and are averaging just under 200 rushing yards per game.

Junior running back Damien Williams is having a big year for the Sooners, averaging 92 yards rushing. On the defensive side, Notre dame’s Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o and teammates Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt must apply pressure and control Oklahoma’s strong running game.

While Williams has played a crucial role in Oklahoma’s run game, their passing game is equally as potent and ranked 26th in the nation behind quarterback Landry Jones (288 yards per game). The pass plays that Oklahoma runs are not typically deep balls, but watch for Jones to take some shots down the field hoping to expose Irish cornerbacks Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell with speedy wideout KeiVare

Pressuring Jones and limiting the rushing total will be major factors if the Irish hope to win.

With Golson back at the helm this week, turnovers remain an issue. Notre Dame’s running game is working well with Cierre Wood, George Atkinson III and Theo Riddick providing consistent production. Golson may look to send a few more passes in the direction of Tyler Eifert and T.J. Jones.

Notre Dame’s hopes for a national championship are riding on this tough road contest in Norman, Okla. A road game in a hostile environment against the best opponent they have faced this season should prove to be a formidable test for coach Brian Kelly’s squad.


Monday, October 22, 2012 Game of the Week – Irish Men’s Soccer vs. Marquette

This week's Game of the Week features the Notre Dame Men's Soccer team matching up against BIG EAST rival, the Marquette Golden Eagles, on Wednesday, Oct. 24. This key BIG EAST Blue Division showdown is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Notre Dame's Alumni Stadium. The match will feature two top-10 teams as the Fighting Irish are ranked seventh in this week's Soccer America poll and the Golden Eagles are fourth.

Wednesday's game is a must win for the Irish as postseason play gets closer and every game counts. The Golden Eagles are currently 14-1 overall and 5-1 in the BIG EAST standings, and Notre Dame is 12-3 overall, 4-2 in the BIG EAST.

Notre Dame heads into Wednesday's match up after a big win over Providence on Saturday, Oct. 20.  Forward Ryan Finley made his Senior Day one to remember, completing the hat trick as the No. 7 Notre Dame men's soccer team defeated Providence 3-0 in BIG EAST play. All three goals were scored in a span of 9:13 in the second half.

[Sidenote:] I personally think the ND Men's soccer team has the best IRISH coach ever ... check out this video. Does this guy have the best Irish accent ever?

Irish Halt Hoyas - Notre Dame Men's Soccer

Okay, I digress ... so don't forget, you can catch the Notre Dame Men's soccer game this Wednesday, Oct 24, at 7:00 pm ET, live at this link:


Friday, October 19, 2012

Notre Dame - BYU Game Preview

The Notre Dame defense is ready for another hard fought battle on Saturday, when they face the Brigham Young Cougars. Photo courtesy of Troy Breidenbach Photography.

The Holy War is here.

After a classic Notre Dame goal line stand and huge win over No. 22 Stanford last weekend, the Irish face their next opponent in the house that Rockne built in South Bend this Saturday, Oct. 20, the Cougars of Brigham Young University. The Irish may be looking ahead to a big game against the Oklahoma Sooners, but the Brigham Young (4-3) Cougars have a team that simply cannot be overlooked.

“I think it’s a trap game each week if you think that you can take a breather,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.

Although quarterback Everett Golson was cleared to return to practice Wednesday after suffering a concussion in the game against Stanford last Saturday, Kelly told the media that his starter will be a game time decision after he evaluates Golson at practice Friday and again prior to Saturday’s contest. Kelly said earlier in the week that he would have three quarterbacks ready for this Saturday’s contest against BYU (Everett Golson, Tommy Rees, and Andrew Hendrix) with Hendrix scheduled to take 40% of the snaps in practice this week.

Golson’s practice time has alread been limited during the previous two weeks as a result of turf toe and a shoulder injury.

In Saturday’s game against Stanford, Golson went 12 for 24 for 141 yards. He had one touchdown and no interceptions, but was sacked three times. Neither offense, however, was having much success at scoring though. The offensive line did seem to get somewhat of a spark when Tommy Rees came into the game. Tommy, in the final scoring drive, went 4 for 4 for 43 yards, but the o-line did still to let through one sack. The offensive line is going to have to toughen up against BYU’s 5th ranked defense if Notre Dame hopes to get more points on the board this weekend.

Read more at NoCoastBias ... 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Photo Journal: Notre Dame-Stanford

(This story was originally posted at

I must be the luckiest girl ever. First I get sent back to Notre Dame through the "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contest to watch the Notre Dame Men's basketball team upset undefeated Syracuse University. Then, I get the opportunity to do a special project and land myself in the press box for the Notre Dame-Stanford football game, the most exciting win that I've seen at Notre Dame in a very long time. Here are some highlights of my epic weekend on Notre Dame's campus in South Bend. I left bright and early Friday morning so that I would get to campus early enough to catch the sights and snap some pictures. My first destination was the set of Saturday's live broadcast of ESPN College Game Day. Life just does not get any better than this.

College Game Day:

Me at College Game Day:

The next thing on my itinerary was to snap some photos of campus while it was sunny, as the rain was set to move in overnight. It was such a gorgeous day on campus, and these photos don't even do it justice, but they are all I've got!

Library/Touchdown Jesus:




While snapping pictures I ran into friends, which is exactly what a Notre Dame weekend is all about. After catching up with them for a while, I met a friend for dinner, and turned in early to get ready for my big day ahead.
Saturday's first destination was to head on over to campus and watch ESPN College Game Day live and in person. Craziness. It is absolutely awesome to watch it on TV, but I have no words to describe how cool it was to see it in person. No words.

Signs at ESPN Game Day:

More Signs at Game Day:

The ESPN Game Day crew:

Desmond Howard

With about 10 minutes left in the show, there was a commercial break and it got really quiet. I was pretty close to the stage, and in my biggest Irish voice I yelled "DESMOND." And wouldn't you know ... he turned around. Saw me. Waved. Gave me a thumbs up and a huge smile. Yep. Day made. He was too busy to come over and actually talk, but I got my "HI" in, and he gave me a "HI" back, so it's all good. Yes, I was fraternizing with the enemy (MICHIGAN) ...but he's always been nice to me, and I have nothing but love for Dez.

Dez shout out:

Desmond Howard

So my work at ESPN College Game Day is done. Next I had an hour to hang with some friends before heading on over to the press box. I wish I had been able to spend more time with the TNNDN crew at their tailgate, but this is nothing new on a Notre Dame weekend. It's always a whirlwind schedule trying to see as many people as you possibly can. Next stop, press box. I i's the most amazing feeling ever to walk up, get your credentials, and take the elevator up to the press box. I'm not sure I'll ever forget that very moment. Ever.

My view from the press box:

The Band of the Fighting Irish:

And the hard core fans who braved the elements:

With five minutes left in the game, they give the media the opportunity to go down onto the field. I'm asked ... are you in? Hello? Is the Pope Catholic? So we head down to the sidelines.


And then, who walks up and stands next to me? None other than Vince Vaughn. Best quote of the weekend, after proudly displaying my photo, "You just won the internet."

Vince Vaughn

I could barely see what was going on (between all of the people crowded down on the sidelines, and the pouring down sideways rain), and almost got taken out by Tyler Eifert (which I would have totally been okay with, by-the-way), but this is the best score I saw all night long. WIN!

Me, a (happy) drowned rat on the sidelines:

And my favorite photo of all ... Manti Te'o and Robby Toma singing the alma mater. Epic ending to the story.

Manti Te'o and Robby Toma

The perfect end to a perfect weekend. I keep saying I don't think I can top this Notre Dame weekend ... and then I keep topping them. I hope there are many more epic weekend like this ahead!

Cheers & GO Irish!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Notre Dame Holds Stanford in Goal Line Stand, 20-13 in OT

Notre Dame holds Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor on fourth-and-1 at the goal line, winning its sixth straight game without a loss in its most promising season since 2002. (Photo: Jonathan Daniel)

Did we just witness another Notre Dame classic?

Notre Dame knew that Stanford was not going to be an easy win. But they never expected to be in an overtime situation trying to hold Stanford in a goal line stand.

A determined Notre Dame defense, whose vocabulary did not include the phrase “give up,” stopped running back Stepfan Taylor just  inches from the goal line on fourth down in overtime.  After a waterlogged 20-13 victory over the No. 17 Cardinal, the Fighting Irish move up to the number five spot in the AP poll and BCS standings this morning.

Taylor did everything within his power to get the ball across the goal line, and his knee did not appear to hit the ground before reaching the ball across the goal line. But the officials ruled that the ball crossed the line after the whistle was blown, and the play was stopped. Taylor finished the day with 102 yards on 28 carries. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, he came up one yard short of a victory.

The Notre Dame sideline spilled out onto the field but the celebration was halted in order to allow the officials to review the play.  The call stood as is and the field was flooded by Irish fans from the stands. Notre Dame’s national title hopes stay alive for another week. The Irish are 6-0 for the first time since 2002. “Physically, we controlled the line of scrimmage,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said of the game’s last play. “Classic. Classic goal line stand.”

Read more at NoCoastBias ...


Friday, October 12, 2012

Notre Dame Hosts the Stanford Cardinal and ESPN Game Day

(Photo: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE – Presswire)

The No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish play host to the No. 17 Stanford Cardinal this coming Saturday, along with a long awaited ESPN Game Day appearance in South Bend. The Stanford Cardinal will do their best to knock the Irish off the high they are riding after five straight victories. Notre Dame may be the Vegas favorite, but this will not be an easy win for the Irish.

Notre Dame has won five straight games in a row despite the quarterback merry-go-round that still seems to be plaguing them.  The Irish have also heavily relied on their rushing game, with the exception of their match up against Purdue, to win ballgames. One of the Cardinal strengths happens to be their run defense, ranked sixth in the nation.

Stanford has consistently had top ranked defenses over the past several years. This trend continues again this year lead by outside linebacker, senior Chase Thomas. Thomas has had 34 tackles, 20 solo and 14 assists, and one interception. He is a big part of this teams run stopping defense.

The Irish have relied on their running game to provide offensive stability in 2012. With three top notch backs in Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, and George Atkinson III, the Irish do a good job of rotating them around so that there are always fresh legs available to take the field. Cierre Wood has 217 rushing yards so far this season, Riddick has 272 rushing yards, and Atkinson has an impressive 278 rushing yards. The trio are definitely a force even against the best rushing defenses.

The Stanford defense will do their best to stop this running trio on Saturday. The Cardinal defense is ranked 4th in the nation in tackles for loss and 20th in sacks so far this year. They do a great job of finding ways to play in the backfield of opposing offenses.

Read more at NoCoastBias ...


Monday, October 8, 2012

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Dominate the Hurricanes, 41-3

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson breaks away from Hurricane defender Anthony Chickill Saturday at Soldier Field. 
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Hurricanes of old who came out with a thug & swagger mentality were no where to be found this past Saturday as Notre Dame dominated the Miami Hurricanes by a score of 41-3 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill.

So much for the Catholics versus Convicts rivalry that we knew and loved in the late 1980′s, early 90′s.

Notre Dame runs over Miami 41-3. Pictured: Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III Photo: Nam Y. Huh,
Notre Dame finally had it’s first 100-yard rushing game by two of it’s running backs, Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III (after Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III came a yard shy of this accomplishment at the season opening game against Navy). This was the first 100-yard rushing duo that Notre Dame has had in a decade.

The dreaded quarterback merry-go-round also returned with Coach Brian Kelly starting Tommy Rees, as a result of Everett Golson having a minor team violation (punishment for showing up late for practice). This was followed by Golson coming off the bench to play the majority of the game, and was finished with Rees returning once again at the end of the night. The Notre Dame fans are still unsure from week to week as to who the leader of their team will be. Hopefully, as Golson gets more and more playing time under his belt, he will become the sole heir of the leading quarterback role.

Read more at NoCoastBias ...


Notre Dame Miami Preview

Miami at Notre Dame; photo:

After a week off to rest and heal, Notre Dame heads to Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. to renew a storied rivalry with the University of Miami Hurricanes at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday night. The match up between the Fighting Irish and the Hurricanes on Saturday is the first between the two teams since the 2010 Sun Bowl, where Notre Dame beat Miami by a score of 33-17. This is also the first time these two teams have met in the regular season since Notre Dame defeated then 2nd-ranked Miami by a score of 29-20 in 1990.

Two weeks ago, the Irish defeated the Wolverines of Michigan at home by a score of 13-6. They used their bye week to give their nicked up players some much needed rest and recovery. The only big injury news over the break is backup defensive end Chase Hounshell will be out for the rest of the season and will have to undergo shoulder surgery this week.

Last week. the Miami Hurricanes narrowly defeated North Carolina State by a score of 44-37. Quarterback Stephen Morris threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett with 19 seconds remaining in the game to secure the win. Morris threw for a school and ACC record 566 yards last week along with completing five touchdowns. Morris had an excellent passing game against the Wolfpack, completing 26 of 49 pass attempts. This, however, is the biggest strength the Hurricane offense has right now. Their running game is all but non-existent, running for a mere 85 yards against NC State last week, averaging 2.7 yards per carry. The Hurricane defense is also suspect. The Hurricane defense ranks 114th nationally in total defense, currently allowing an average of 269 yards per game, which means their offense has to make up for this deficit. The Hurricane defense allowed North Carolina State to gain 664 total yards last week. This looks like a recipe for success for Notre Dame’s running game this week.

Read more at NoCoastBias ...


Monday, October 1, 2012 Game of the Week: Notre Dame Men's Soccer

The game of the week features an important match-up for the Notre Dame Men's soccer team. The No. 8 Notre Dame men's soccer team came up short on Saturday night, Sept. 29, at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. trying to knock off fellow top-10 foe, No. 2 Connecticut. They lost to Connecticut by a score of 2-1 and are now 0-2-0 in BIG EAST Blue Division play, 8-2-0 overall. This Wednesday night, Oct. 3, at 7 P.M. (ET) at Alumni Stadium, the Irish face the Pittsburgh Panthers in their third BIG EAST conference contest.

In the match-up on Saturday night, Connecticut led the Irish 2-0 at the intermission. Connecticut scored it's first goal on a penalty kick from Carlos Alvarez in the 29th minute, and the second goal on a tally from Flo Liu in the 36th minute. Both teams had four shots on goal and one corner kick in the opening half.

"We were very good tonight in many facets of the game," said Irish head coach Bobby Clark. "We opened the game very well, but unfortunately we made a couple of errors and they capitalized. The penalty kick was tough because I thought their (Connecticut) guy was going away from the goal. I then thought we had a little bit of a lack of concentration after they scored that goal."

ND midfielder, Dillon Powers
Irish Senior midfielder Dillon Powers scored in the 49th minute. It was his third goal of the season. In the second half, Notre Dame's Dillon Powers' goal in the 49th minute sliced the Connecticut lead in half. The senior midfielder tucked the ball into the lower left corner of the net for his third goal of the season. This score halted Connecticut's scoreless streak at 437:58.

Notre Dame out shot Connecticut 5-2 in the second half and 11-9 for the match, but still could not manage to come up with enough goals for the win.

"I felt we completely controlled the game in the second half," added Clark. "Full marks to our team for handling themselves well and getting a goal back right away in the second half. Playing games like these on the road in front of big crowds could be very useful to us later on in the season."

Notre Dame will play host to BIG EAST Blue Division foe Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday at Alumni Stadium.

You can view the game live at 7 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday here: