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Irish Insights

  • Brindza on Lou Groza watch list
    Notre Dame's Kyle Brindza was named to the preseason watch list for the 2014 Lou Groza Award. The Lou Groza Award is given annually to the nation's best placekicker.
  • Two more Irish land on watch lists
    Notre Dame center Nick Martin was placed on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's best player at that position.
  • Will Mahone no longer enrolled at Notre Dame
    Receiver Will Mahone has no chance of returning to Notre Dame while facing felony charges of assault on a police officer, intimidation of a public servant and vandalism, his attorney said Tuesday.

Notre Dame up to the challenge

Notre Dame didn't take the easiest path to its 2-1 start and No. 22 ranking in The Associated Press' Top 25 poll.

The Irish did open with relative lightweight Temple, but they then took on Big Ten-foes Michigan (a 41-30 road loss) and Purdue (a 31-24 road win).

Coach Brian Kelly said the season-opening challenges will pay off as the season progresses.

"I think when you are playing tough competition, you are being tested mentally and physically for four quarters," Kelly said Sunday. "You are definitely learning more about your personal, they are being challenged. I think you get a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Going into the fourth game, you know where you need to improve and the areas you need to continue to work on."

Notre Dame's fourth game starts an even more challenging three-game stretch.

The Irish play host to Michigan State (3-0), which fell one vote short of cracking the AP poll with 59 votes to No. 25 Texas' 60, on Saturday. Notre Dame then plays host to No. 12 Oklahoma (3-0) on Sept. 28 and plays No. 23 Arizona State (2-0) in a "Shamrock Series" game on Oct. 5 in Arlington, Texas.

"It's always a great physical contest," Kelly said of playing Michigan State this week. "That's how Coach (Mark) Dantonio prides himself on how they play. They play great defense. It should be another physical game, third week in a row for us in terms of playing a Big Ten opponent, back to back to back right out of the gate.

"We ask our guys to do a lot here at Notre Dame."