If any team understands the importance of starting a season on the right foot, it's the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. After last season's embarrassing loss at home to South Florida, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly endured a disappointing and dissatisfying 2011 campaign.
The 2012 schedule looms over the Irish as one of the most difficult in the country, as well as in recent history. For the first time since 1996, Notre Dame find themselves playing in Dublin, Ireland. A mere jump across the pond to open the season versus the high-octane, option-based Navy squad. In front of a reported 35,000 Americans and 50,000 total attendees, the Irish did not repeat history.
Freshman quarterback Everett Colson overcame the hoopla of his first career start, managing the game more like a fifth year senior rather than a freshman. Colson seemed to excel where many recent Irish quarterbacks have struggled. The 2011 team struggled to secure the ball, finishing -15 in the all important giveawawy/takeaway department. The Irish seemed to cough the ball up time and time again, especially inside the opponents' 20, including a game ending goal-line fumble to end last season's opener. Notre Dame rusher Cierre Wood was sidelined due to team suspension, forcing their versatile weapon Theo Riddick into the backfield. Riddick put the Irish up early, cutting and slashing his way to a fine day. The Notre Dame offense were essentially able to march up and down the field effortlessly. Riddick and fellow back George Atkinson combined for 4 touchdowns. All-American tight end Tyler Eifert also added a touchdown catch. The defense, led by fifth year senior linebacker Manti Te'o, contributed solid play as well. Notre Dame cruised to a 50 -10 victory over Navy.
Next up for the Irish: Purdue Boilermakers @ Home (9/8/12)
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