With senior Tommy Rees leading the way as quarterback, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame put on a solid performance rolling through the Temple Owls on opening day. Coach Brian Kelly also announced an extended contract until 2017.
Rees didn’t waste any time putting to rest quarterback concerns some had for Notre Dame as his first three pass attempts were completed for over 30-yards each, two going for touchdowns. Rees’ evident confidence and poise seemed to spark the Fighting Irish who were playing at a high level right off the bat.
Notre Dame’s first play from scrimmage was an Amir Carlisle 45-yard run into Temple territory. After a quick five yard run, Rees found an open DaVaris Daniels for a 32-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the game.
Notre Dame’s defense held Temple to a quick three and out and the offense picked up right where they left off.
On first down from their own 13-yard line, Rees dropped back and completed a 51-yard pass to senior TJ Jones. Jones would go on to have one of the most productive games of his career racking up 138 receiving yards.
After another short Atkinson run, Rees found Daniels for another 32-yard touchdown pass on just the third play of the drive putting Notre Dame up 14-points only a few minutes into the game.
Notre Dame seemed to be on the way to a blowout win but the offense missed some opportunities giving Temple the chance to string together a touchdown drive late in the second quarter and make it a one possession game. The Irish immediately responded with a 66-yard Rees touchdown pass to tight end Troy Niklas on the first play of the next drive with just over a minute left to go in the half.
Temple came out in the second half and drove down the field but failed to complete a fourth down pass attempt on Notre Dame’s 14-yard line. Notre Dame’s defense tightened up and didn't give Temple many chances for the rest of the game.
George Atkinson III scored Notre Dame’s final touchdown with a short two-yard run capping off another nice drive that included a Rees 30-yard pass. Atkinson finished with 34 rushing yards while Amir Carlisle and Cam McDaniel both ran for a little over 60-yards.
Tommy Rees ended the day having thrown for 346-yards while doing a great job of targeting multiple receivers. Rees owes a big part of his success to the offensive line who provided the senior with great protection and plenty of time to throw.
Today had extra significance for head coach Brian Kelly who reached 200 career wins. Notre Dame was happy to announce after the game that Kelly’s contract is being extended through the 2017 season. According to ESPN, Notre Dame was able to accumulate an impressive 543-yards of offense under Kelly’s direction while not turning the ball over once. If the offense continues to run this efficiently than Notre Dame can compete with anyone.
The Temple Owls weren’t a tough test, but Notre Dame looked like a team ready to make some noise this year in college football.