Sep 1, 2012, 8:34 PM EDT
After months of anticipation, Irish fans finally got the opportunity to see their team open the 2012 season. After watching Notre Dame take on Navy in Dublin, Ireland, Irish fans have learned a lot about their team. Here are three things I learned:
1) Manti Te’o is the best linebacker in the nation: Considering his elite status, it is hard to believe that Te’o recorded two firsts of his career on Saturday. Manti registered both his first career interception and his first career fumble recovery. Although Manti only recorded six tackles against Navy (a stat on which most normally focus), his versatility shined in Dublin as he seemed to traverse the entire pitch.
2) Notre Dame has great depth at running back: Senior Theo Riddick and sophomore George Atkinson III dominated the game from the start. Riddick collected 107 yards and 2 TDs while Atkinson ran for 99 yards and 2 TDs. Sophomore Cam McDaniel added 59 yards in the second half. The Irish ran at will over the Midshipmen as they averaged 6.4 yards per carry and converted 7 of 10 (70%) third downs. While Everett Golson continues to gain experience at quarterback, Notre Dame will be able to rely on their running backs.
3) The Irish defense can cause turnovers: Notre Dame forced four turnovers in the season opener. Te’o had a fumble recovery and an interception, Dan McCarthy added a fumble recovery and Stephon Tuitt returned a fumble recovery 77 yards for a touchdown. Additionally, the Irish are +3 in turnover margin after only one game, a vast improvement over their 2011 campaign.
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