SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Many questions surrounding last year’s championship runner-up were answered after Notre Dame easily handled the Temple Owls in both teams’ season openers.
The Fighting Irish, led by incumbent starter Tommy Rees, erased any doubts from the Irish faithful by starting the regular season with a 45-10 victory. As expected, the defense and running game put on quite a show for the sell-out crowd.
The Irish dominated the ground game with their multi-talented running attack. Amir Carlisle’s first game in Irish uniform was well-received despite many fans’ concerns with his injury risk. Those concerns were quickly alleviated by the end of the 1st quarter when he had already wracked up two of his three total touchdowns. His 100 rushing yards on 19 carries left many Owl fans crestfallen.
Carlisle started the Irish blowout by capping a five-minute drive with a 1-yard run. After a quick three-and-out by the Irish’s strong defense, Tommy Rees quickly marched them down the field to end the 1st quarter with a 2-yard scamper up the middle by Carlisle.
Quarterback Tommy Rees, making his 19th career start, started the 3rd quarter off with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to push the score to 21-10.
Surrounded by controversy for the majority of his collegiate career, Rees (now 15-4 as a starter) proved just how capable he is in Everett Golson’s absence.
“I felt comfortable. It felt great to get back on the field and start the season with a win,” said Rees, who replaced the suspended Golson.
Just one year after the home crowd booed him, Rees was determined to prove how much he’s grown since his tumultuous sophomore season. “It was encouraging to see the home crowd so into the game. It certainly feels great to hear them chanting and cheering,” Rees said with a chuckle.
Kelly said he was pleased with his quarterback’s performance.
“Definitely. We didn’t ask him to do too much; sort of get back in the groove type of thing. We just asked him to manage the clock and obviously limit the turnovers. He did a fantastic job. The players really respond well to him, and that was one of the biggest points of emphasis for us this off-season.”
Temple appeared to be on their way to closing the gap in the 3rd quarter, but a long interception return by Austin Collinsworth and a costly fumble recovery by Kona Schwenke quieted the few Temple faithful in the stands.
Amir Carlisle replied, once again, with a 1-yard rushing touchdown to put the game out of reach.
Notre Dame’s stout defense allowed only 252 total yards to the Temple offense. Pair that with the Owls’ four turnovers, and the game quickly got out of hand.
“Our goal was to strike quick and strike often,” star lineman Stephon Tuitt said. Tuitt, who was just shy of breaking Justin Tuck’s single season sack record in 2012, recorded his first of many this season.
“We still have a lot of work to do, in regards to preparing for Michigan, but I liked what I saw,” Brian Kelly admitted. “Especially from our young guys.”
Greg Bryant finished the game with 18 rushing yards, and Jaylon Smith recorded his first collegiate interception. “Both guys came up big for us in different ways. As the season progresses, we’re expecting even better things to come.”**All stats, quotes, and ideas are purely fictional. This is a simulated recap, is for entertainment purposes only, and does not reflect any actual outcome.