Aug 31, 2013, 7:51 PM EDT
On the back of a career-day from quarterback Tommy Rees, the Irish started out the season strong with a 28-6 victory over the Temple Owls on Saturday, Aug. 31 on the Notre Dame Stadium turf in Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame’s offense today would be best described as a “quick strike” one today. On the four scoring drives in the ball game for the Irish, they took three-and-a-half plays per drive (3, 3, 1, 7) and ran only seven total plays to score three first-half touchdowns.
There are many bright spots that can be taken from today’s ball game against Temple; here are my top three:
1. The play of Tommy Rees
A big question mark for most of the country would be the play of Tommy Rees. As I’ve stated in previous posts, I believe he may be the most underrated player on this Irish team. If not underrated, under appreciated. Rees completed 16-of-23 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns without throwing a single interception. After hitting the 300-yard plateau for the third-time in his career, Rees broke his career-high in passing (335) and threw a brilliant 66-yard touchdown pass to tight end Troy Niklas at the end of the first half. That 66-yard touchdown pass was the longest touchdown pass for the Irish since 2010 when Dayne Crist threw an 80-yard touchdown pass against Western Michigan.
2. Five-Headed Running Back Group
Running for a combined 193 yards on 34 carries, the running back stable of Amir Carlisle, Cam McDaniel, George Atkinson III, Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant were a terror on the outside for the Owls. Amir Carlisle started off strong for the Irish and continued that throughout the game, finishing with 68 yards on seven carries for a 9.7 yards per rush average. As I’ve previously said, the group of running backs that Coach Brian Kelly has at his disposal are like the cast of Seinfeld, no matter who the episode (game plan) revolves around, he is confident it will be successful. Look for more episodes of great play from these five players as the season rolls along.
3. Matthias Farley
The play of safety Matthias Farley stuck out to me. Albeit the Irish were beat at times across the middle and with quick outs, there were no openings down the field for the Owls thanks to the play of Farley. My favorite part of Farley’s game is his ability to identify the run and fill the gaps that are needed. As least today, Farley was sound in the gaps and played within himself. In the future, look for Farley to continue growing and be among the top safeties in the country at the end of the season.
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