You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Notre Dame

  • Bye gives beat-up Irish needed rest
    Notre Dame may be 3-0, but coach Brian Kelly said the upcoming bye week is a welcome sight since he has such a banged-up team.
  • Irish get the message
    INDIANAPOLIS – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly didn’t scream at his players during halftime at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night. That wouldn’t have been him.
  • Boilers-Irish will take break
    For 69 years, there’s been one certainty concerning Purdue and Notre Dame football: the in-state foes would play in a rivalry that dates to the 19th century.
Advertisement
Notre Dame
at USC
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
TV: ABC
Radio: 1380 AM, 107.3 FM

Golson’s maturity is key for ND offense

QB not playing like rookie

– The outcome was easy to predict.

After leading three scoring drives in a row against Wake Forest last Saturday, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was so confident that he tried to wedge a touchdown pass to 5-foot-9 Robby Toma between two defenders. The 24-yard attempt ended up in the hands of the Demon Deacons’ Allen Ramsey II.

What couldn’t have been predicted when the season started was how Golson would react to the mistake after things had started so well. The first-year starter delivered a perfect pitch to running back Cierre Wood on the game’s fourth play to lead a 68-yard touchdown run. He followed that up with touchdown passes to former Bishop Dwenger stars Tyler Eifert from 2 yards out and John Goodman from 50 yards out.

Instead of moping and dreading a tongue lashing from coach Brian Kelly, the 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore came to the sideline and acted like a quarterback who had played in more than his 10 career collegiate games.

“Those are the foolish and careless mistakes that he made earlier in the year,” Kelly said. “But he’s so much further along that those are ones that he comes to the sideline and says something before you say something to him, and then you know he’s on that right trend in terms of understanding.”

Golson’s development from raw rookie to a quarterback that can lead an offense to match Notre Dame’s outstanding defense is a major reason why the No. 1 Irish (11-0) enter Saturday night’s game at USC (7-4) a win away from the national title game.

After missing the Irish’s 17-14 home win over BYU on Oct. 20 while recovering from a concussion, Golson has completed 72 of 121 passes for 950 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also run for 177 yards with three touchdowns.

“I think I’ve progressed a lot and that’s with the help of these coaches,” Golson said. “Being that I am on offense, … you want to kind of pull your own weight. But like I said, my development with the help of (offensive coordinator Chuck) Martin and Coach Kelly has come a long way.”

Golson had come along way before his latest four-game tear. In Notre Dame’s 20-13 overtime home win over Stanford on Oct. 13, he threw for 141 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions and ran for 41 yards before being knocked out of the game with a concussion.

That was a far cry from his first five games when he 67-of-111 passing for 827 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions and running for 40 yards. He was replaced by Tommy Rees in wins over Purdue and Michigan and didn’t start in the victory over Miami because he was late to a meeting.

Notre Dame’s offense has gone from being ranked No. 71, averaging 398.4 yards, through the first five games, to No. 50, averaging 419.7 yards, in the last five games with Golson staring four of the five during the Irish’s offensive climb.

“I think his biggest thing is his confidence level is very high,” center Braxston Cave said. “At the beginning of the year, it wasn’t. It is hard to have a lot of confidence when you don’t have a lot starts or a lot of meaningful playing minutes. Now he has seen it all and been through every situation and knows how to react.”

tkrausz@jg.net

Advertisement