Notre Dame opened up the season by taking down Temple 28-6. While the game was still one sided, Notre Dame should have won by a lot more.
The Irish got out to a quick start and then fizzled. Four touchdowns isn’t a bad outing, but for a team ranked 14th facing Temple, they should have scored a lot more.
Here’s what stood out to us:
- Tommy Rees. Two of Rees’ first three passes went for touchdowns. The other was for a mere 51 yards. He finished the day with three touchdowns, 346 yards, completed 69-percent of his passes and didn’t have a turnover. He was able to pick apart the Temple secondary for most of the day. He had some inconsistencies, but overall he was
- The first two drives. Six plays, two touchdowns. The two drives totaled 164 yards and was an even split between run and pass plays. It looked like the Irish would run away with this game, and put up 50+ on Temple, but the offense struggled after the quick start. In total, Notre Dame racked up 543 yards on offense, but you would have liked to see more points.
- Wide Receiver. TJ Jones hauled in six passes for 138 yards and Davaris Daniels three receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns. They were consistently open, but Rees wasn’t always able to make the right throw. If they stay healthy, this will be a very strong position all season long.
- Offensive Consistency. Following the opening two drives, the Irish came away empty on three consecutive drives. Had Notre Dame been playing a quality opponent, like say No. 17 Michigan, three empty drives (including a missed field goal) could be a disaster. The Irish put up 543 yards of offense, but they needed 135 yards per scoring drive. Typically you want that number around 70. The offense essentially put up a ton of yards for nothing, and by using the hurry up offense they didn’t even use up all that much clock.
- Third Down. Notre Dame was just 5-for-13 on third down conversions. That isn’t good enough for a team that is: A) ranked in the top 25; and B) playing a team like Temple. The offense could be a weak point once again for the Irish this season. Coach Brian Kelly, a supposed offensive genius, needs to figure out how the offense can be more efficient.
- Defense. This was a much closer game than it should have been. Yes, the defense only allowed one touchdown but Temple also missed a pair of field goals in the first half that would have changed the game. Notre Dame did pitch a second half shutout but still gave up 362 yards to an offensively challenged Temple team. Connor Reilly, playing in his first ever collegiate football game, passed for 228 yards. The defense has to be sharper than they were and need to be able to get more pressure on the QB and force more than the one turnover.
- Penalties. The Irish committed nine penalties for 63 yards. While the yardage wasn’t that bad, nine penalties is indicative of a team that is undisciplined. There is no reason for that many penalties when you’re at home and playing a team like Temple. Its going to get a lot more difficult next week in The Big House and penalties will sink this team’s chances of victory.
- Special Teams. Two missed field goals is inexcusable. One was from 39 yards, the other from 44. Both were extremely makeable, but still missed. Nick Tausch did manage to hit all four extra point, so that’s something.
Temple was supposed to be a warm up game, and it did point out a number of weaknesses that Kelly can work on this week. Notre Dame doesn’t have an easy schedule and it starts ramping up next week against No. 17 Michigan.
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