Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson looked like a starting quarterback for a top-10 team in the first game he didn't start this season.
Golson, who sat out the first series against Miami on Saturday night because he was late to a meeting completed 17 of 22 passes for 186 yards and ran for 51 yards in a 41-3 romp at Chicago's Soldier Field.
It was a big step forward for the sophomore, who had to be pulled in the second quarter against Michigan after he threw two interceptions.
"I think his knowledge of Miami, having plenty of time to prepare for them (Notre Dame had a bye week before facing the Hurricanes), started to show itself on Thursday," coach Brian Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference. "I felt a lot more confident that he would be able to execute at a higher level than he had been previously.
"I think just being with him every single day, we have days where we make progress, and days where we've got to come back and work on it a little bit harder. So I think this is going to be the case most of the year."
Golson will face a stiffer test with less time to prepare when the No. 7 Irish (5-0) play host to No. 17 Stanford (4-1) on Saturday.
The Cardinal allows 379.6 yards and 21.8 points per game. A big step up from a Miami defense that is giving up 510 yards and 34.7 points per game.
"I think you're always concerned when you have a younger quarterback that he's going to be able to pick up a lot of things that a team like Stanford likes to do defensively," Kelly said. "They're an aggressive defense that bring a lot of looks, so we'll have to make sure he has the looks down.
"But I will say this, he did some things in the second half (against Miami) that he had not done all year. He recognized pressure, did not run out of the pocket, stayed in there, delivered some balls on time. If that continues to show itself, he's going to be very, very difficult to defend because he's got that confidence level and a strong arm that he can deliver the ball."
Tyler Eifert became just the third Notre Dame tight end to have 100 receptions when he came down with a 23-yard catch against Miami on Saturday.
And when he finished with two catches for 31 yards he moved to No. 2 on the school's list for receptions by a tight end. Eifert's 101 catches puts him between Ken MacAfee's 128 and John Carlson's 100.
But excuse the Bishop Dwenger graduate if he doesn't always grasp what he has accomplished.
"I don't know is that a lot?" Eifert said three days before the game against Miami. "I don't even know what the record is or anything like that."
Eifert, who holds Notre Dame's single-season record for receiving yards (803) and receptions (63) by a tight end, does appreciated the company he is joining.
And he could leave the Irish as the program's top tight end in receiving yards. Eifert has 1,344 receiving yards and trails MacAfee's 1,759 by 416 yards.
"That would be pretty amazing when you really think about it," Eifert said.
Kelly had minor injuries to report Sunday after Saturday's win over Miami.
Eifert needed three stitches in his elbow, but Kelly said there was no infection and the tight end should practice Tuesday.
Running back Theo Riddick has a bone bruise on his elbow, but he will also not miss any time.
Receivers TJ Jones (ankle) and Bishop Dwenger grad John Goodman (back) should also be fine this week, Kelly said.