Sunday, September 26, 2004

ND 38, Washington 3


Courtesy AP/Michael Conroy

Never mind the third quarter. Brady Quinn had an excellent game. When you throw 3 TD's in the first quarter, and 4 by halftime, you're just going to be running clock for the entire second half. Once again, Pat Hayden is an idiot. Also to Quinn's credit, he was able to distribute the ball very well. Four receivers combined for 12 catches. Anthony Fasano's 3 catches were the first by any ND tight end since BYU. Finally, there were two catches out of the backfield, including 1 by Quinn himself. In case you're wondering why Ty would waste a year of freshman David Wolke's eligibility: there is currently a rule in discussion for the NCAA that will automatically give everyone 5 years of eligibility. Many football coaches this fall are counting on this rule to pass, and therefore playing freshmen that they would otherwise redshirt. If you (and by "you" I mean Ellen and maybe Jessi) were wondering why Ty would let someone take Nicholas Setta's number: well, I don't have an answer to that one. After Wolke and Pat Dillingham, I would have liked to have seen Yale transfer (and former Morrissey interhall MVP) Marty Mooney, but that's not my decision to make.

Running Back: Many people expected Darius Walker to repeat the 322 yard rushing performance given up by Washington last week. Washington is a Division 1 football team though, and they know Notre Dame runs well, so of course they're going to make run defense the focus of their preparation. That considered, 81 yards on 23 carries doesn't look too bad. Marcus Wilson showed flashes of competence this week (5 carries for 20 yards), but a small guy like him can do that against a smaller PAC 10 defense. Jeff Jenkins and Justin Hoskins put up similar numbers to Wilson; not bad considering Washington was looking run that late in the game. Only Travis Thomas struggled; the way the other backs are playing, it will be a long uphill battle for Thomas to get playing time.

Fullback: Hey, did I call the RPN/Josh Schmidt formation or what? Notre Dame may have found the inside power runner they need in Powers-Neal, but will they continue to use him in that function? Schmidt also had a catch out of the backfield for a first down; I believe it was his first catch of the year.

Receiver: Four wide receivers got to share in the fun in this one. Matt Shelton is continuing to have a breakout year; in addition to his two long TD catches, he also had 2 catches for first down. The more reliable first down targets Brady Quinn has, the better. Speaking of reliable targets, Jeff Samardzija had 3 more catches on Saturday, and Rhema McKnight showed up again, also with 3 catches. Carlyle Holiday also got to be a part of the offense with 2 catches. I liked the idea of running an end-around to Shelton to start the game, but I think he's more built to create separation downfield than he is to break tackles on a run.

Tight End: Anthony Fasano had a big game: 3 catches and 2 TDs. Fasano hasn't been heard from in a while, but it's not entirely his fault. With so many options for Quinn, the 6 tight ends get lost in the shuffle. As it is, Jared Clark only plays on special teams any more. Jerome Collins, in my opinion, would have been more helpful adding depth as a backup linebacker. Billy Palmer also would have been a decent idea as a tackle. But hey, whatever works.

O-Line: 146 rushing yards and no sacks.

D-Line: There were no sacks for the line (or for anyone), but they were still able to make some noise. Greg Pauly had five tackles. Justin Tuck and Victor Abiamiri combined for 2 tackles-for-loss. Kyle Budinscak had two pass knockdowns at the line. In addition, the Irish d-line stepped it up in the turnover game. The line alone forced two fumbles (Budinscak and Trevor Laws) and recovered two (Laws and Travis Leitko).

Linebacker: More big numbers for the chain gang. Mike Goolsby tied for the team lead with 7 tackles, and Brandon Hoyte and Derek Curry were right behind with 6 each. BHoyte also had a forced fumble, Curry had a recovery, and they each had a pass breakup.

Safety: Freddie Parish IV expected to see more playing time this year. With a chance this week, he made the most of it. Parrish also tied for the team lead with 7 tackles.


Courtesy AP/Michael Conroy

In one of my favorite categories - "quietly having a great year" - you will find Dwight Ellick. Ellick also had 7 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. Chinendum Ndukwe forced and recovered a fumble in some of his first action as a DB.

Kicker: Eight points for DJ (Ellen loves him), including a 45 yarder. I've just learned that Carl Gioia's last name is pronounced "joy-a." I've also learned he can kick off 7 times without having his leg fall off.

Punter: DJ as a punter is getting better and better. With all the scoring, it's amazing he still had to punt 7 times. He did punt 7 times, and he punted very well. He averaged 46 yards per (I'm happy with 40 per from any college punter, and 35 from a former walk-on) with a long of 54. He also put 4 inside the 20. In his debut, Geoffery Price had one punt of 36 yards, but he was able to put that one inside the 20.

Kick Returner: Well, there was only 1 kick return in this game. Justin Hoskins only got 17 yards, but he showed hurdle skills that probably has the track coach salivating. Hoskins will be one to watch.

Punt Returner: Not much for Carlyle Holiday in this one: 2 returns for 20 yards.

Special Teams: Not much for ND's return teams, but the coverage teams did very well. Washington was only able to muster 10 yards on 4 punt returns. On kickoffs, the Huskies averaged under 18 per with a long of 24.