Notre Dame vs. Washington State report card
Shocking, isn't it?
For only the second time this season, Notre Dame didn't have to rely on a fourth quarter comeback or halting a late charge from their opponent. No, the Irish did it the old fashioned way, by lighting up the opposition early and often.
ND's first half stats were mind-blowing: 24 first downs, 390 total yards, 30 points and a miracle hail Mary catch by Golden Tate as time expired. It was highly unlikely that the Irish would keep those numbers up, but let's revisit Tate's grab for a second. With four Wazzu defenders surrounding him, he timed his leap perfectly and snarled the pass into his bear trap-strong hands. Tate finished the game with 4 catches for 81 yards and a score, and four rushes for 61 yards and another TD. Every week with this guy.
Hughes had a big day on the ground with 24 carries for a 131 yards and touchdown, while Allen Jr. didn't play at all (injured ankle). As a whole, ND rushed for 255 yards.
Jimmy Clausen missed only five passes on the night (22-27), but had to be replaced late in the game when he re-aggravated his turf toe. Weis addressed Clausen's status after the game and told reporters that he could have gone back in, but it wasn't necessary.
The Irish offense did struggle in the second half, managing to score only 10 points (which is why I'm going to grade them for each half). Weis wasn't happy about that and neither were Irish fans. And it's only the second time they put up a 40 spot on the scoreboard since the 2006 season. That's an extremely mediocre statistic for a Charlie Weis football team. First half grade: A. Second half grade: C
Saturday's game against Washington State is just what the defense needed to get back on track. They held the Cougars to just 202 total yards, which is easily the best defensive output of the season. The Cougars were also terrible on third downs, converting only two of 11 attempts.
Tuel was able to throw for two TDs, but he also threw two picks. And I'm not going to complain about 14 points from a defense that's been defenseless for much of the season. Grade: B+
Reid Forrest, Washington State's punter, was the busiest Cougar of the night, totaling eight punts for 334 yards. ND's punter, Ben Turk, had a larger workload than coaches would've liked, and punted five times.
That's about it for the teams that are special. Grade: B
Overall Grade: B+
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