Notre Dame kicked off the 2013 season in (kinda) emphatic fashion en route to beating the Temple Owls during their first-ever meeting against Notre Dame with a 1st year Head Coach in Mark Rhule and 1st-year starting quarterback in Connor Reilly. Here’s a look at a pair of stats from Saturday’s matchup: One that matters, and one that was a bit misleading.
Stat of Importance:
Tommy Rees’ Performance: 16/23, 346 yds (career high), 3 TD, 0 INTs
The man who has come to be known as Reesus during the offseason clearly came to play on Saturday. Touchdown Tommy was nothing but extraordinary and performed about as well as a Notre Dame fan could ask. The biggest area of impress came in the 1st 5 minutes of the game. For a little perspective on his performance, Tommy Rees started the game off 3/3 for 114 yds and 2 touchdowns. Go ahead and read that again. That’s one 50-yard screen to TJ Jones and 2 almost identical 32-yard touchdown passes to DaVaris Daniels to start the game. If this performance is any indication of how much Tommy has grown, I expect great things from him again next week against Michigan at night in the Big House.
Starting Inside Linebackers: Dan Fox (10 tkls, 5 solo, 5 ast) and Carlo Calabrese (9 tkls, 2 solo, 7 ast)
Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese together led the entire Notre Dame defense in tackles at 1st and 2nd respectively, but don’t be fooled; the ILBs need a TON of work. Temple was supposed to be a cakewalk and any fan who watched that game knows that was not exactly the case. Connor Reilly was starting his first collegiate game at QB, yet he managed to amass 65 yds rushing on just 12 attempts against a defense that was supposed to be stout against the run. That’s a 5.4-yard average. Unacceptable. With Jaylon Smith dropping into coverage on most occasions and Prince Shembo mostly rushing the passer, the guys inside need to play more assignment-sound defensive football to prevent those gains on QB keepers. This will not fly against Michigan in Week 2 as Devin Gardner can move better than Reilly did against the Irish on Saturday. While they tackled well on a number of occasions, the inside of the defense was not up to par with the 2012 version.