Last night in Chicago on the hallowed ground of Soldiers Field in front of a racaous capacity crowd of 62,871 with the Shamrock Series on the lone The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won big over its rivals the Miami Hurricanes 41-3. And did so this time on the offensive rather than the defensive.
The Notre Dame (6-0) offense ran all over the Miami Hurricanes (4-2) Saturday Night. Running backs Cierre Wood (118 yards, 2 TDs) and George Atkinson (123 yards, 1 TD) became the first Fighting Irish 100-yard rushing duo since 2002, when the team was off to a 8-0 start. (In perhaps an encouraging sign of things to come for the FCB-bound team this season).
Brian Kelly acknowledged the importance of a strong running game in Saturday night’s victory over Miami.
''We felt like we found a way to run the football today,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ''Our game plan was situated on running the football, which equals time of possession for us. We felt like if we could keep them from getting the big plays, and we could run the football, that was going on our recipe for success
QB Everett Golson (17-22, 186 yards passing, 51 yards rushing), who was benched for the first three plays of the game due to a violation of team’s rules, led the Fighting Irish to three straight scoring drives and a fast 13-3 halftime lead. Notre Dame then proceeded to put the game away on the ground in the sure hands of Wood and Atkinson III who racked up a combined 270 yards rushing in the final 30 minutes of play and four scores.
TE Tyler Eiffert quietly contributed to the victory with 31 yards receiving, including a highlight reel 23-yard grab in the first quarter to set up an early Notre Dame score. With his 100th and 101st career receptions Eiffert moved into 2nd place in Notre Dame record books behind John Carlson.
The mighty Hurricanes had fallen, scoring less than 38 points in a game for the first time all season against Notre Dame, coming off 1260 yards and 86 points totaled in their last two games. Miami QB Stephen Morris, passed for 201 yards against the Irish, less than half of his record setting number the week prior against North Carolina State. Morris was not helped by a mistake-prone WR Phil Dorsett who dropped two possible touchdown passes in the first quarter.
Miami was also not helped by the phenomenal play of the most prolific defensive player in the nation ala Manti Te’o (10 tackles) and his blue and gold band of defensive thugs who have yet to allow a rushing TD on the season, a touchdown in 12 quarters and more than 300 total yards to any appointment.
The Fighting Irish look West next week to face a ranked rival in the no. 18 Stanford Cardinals.