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  • Irish in a Rush to Defeat Temple

    by John Vannie

    Notre Dame scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions, and coasted to a 49-16 victory over the Temple Owls on Saturday. Tailback Josh Adams ran for 161 yards and two scores, including a 38-yard scoring burst on the second play from scrimmage to lead the Fighting Irish. The team racked up 422 yards rushing and all three tailbacks reached the end zone. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush made his debut as the starter and acquitted himself well, throwing for 184 yards and two touchdowns. The elusive junior also ran for 106 yards and another score. Defensively, the rebuilt front line and secondary held up quite well. End Daelin Hayes led the charge as the rejuvenated pass rush recorded three sacks and forced a fumble.

    Temple could manage a mere field goal during the initial Irish onslaught, and found itself in a 28-3 hole after only 19 minutes had elapsed. A Logan Marchi scoring pass to Kevin Kirkwood closed the gap to 28-10 at the half. but the Owls suffered two sacks and a missed field goal in the third quarter to squash any hope for a comeback. Notre Dame finished strong with three rushing touchdowns in the final 20 minutes, as Adams, Tony Jones and Dexter Williams hit paydirt.

    The only concerns for the hosts were an injury to tight end Durham Smythe, who was hit while laying out for a pass over the middle in the second half. Smythe did not appear to be seriously hurt. Also, kicker Justin Yoon missed both of his field goal attempts on the day, but made all seven extra points.

    Notre Dame’s offensive line was as stout as advertised, particularly on the left side where Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey cleared the way for several long gainers. Wimbush made a few extraordinary plays with his arm and legs, and his obvious raw talent overshadowed the few times when he took unnecessary hits while scrambling or threw his lone interception of the day. The defense played a solid game with crisp tackling, no obvious blown assignments and an effective mix of coverages and blitzes.

    Let’s take a look at the pregame questions:

    Which young quarterback will demonstrate poise and accuracy? Wimbush was in command all day and won this battle, as Marchi’s accuracy was not stellar and he felt pressure most of the day.

    Will the Irish defensive line stand firm against the run? Yes, Notre Dame held Armstead to 67 yards on 19 carries and kept the Owls under 100 for the day.

    Can either team generate an effective pass rush? Mike Elko’s charges played aggressively while consistently keeping containment. Temple’s offensive line was not exactly elite but the Irish should feel good about themselves tonight.

    Will Notre Dame’s offense play crisply and avoid mental errors? Yes. The penalties were minor and did not derail the express train that rolled for 49 points.

    How will Long’s play-calling differ from Kelly’s? There were still a few questionable passes and that awful goal line fade pass, but the avalanche of productive runs made it all good for Irish fans.

    Will Elko’s defense play aggressively without getting burned for big gains? Yes, and they also did not run out of gas in the second half as they did so many times last season.

    Can a mammoth video board be operated tastefully? It’s a long season, and the boundaries of good taste will almost assuredly be breached. Let’s hope Notre Dame can create enough highlights on the field to keep the clutter from assaulting the patrons.

    It was a good opening day for the Irish, and both the coaches and players appeared to be on the same happy page on the sideline. Perhaps the tribute to Ara Parseghian and the recognition of Bob Crable helped this team look and play more like its historic predecessors, but let’s take it at face value for now.

    18 Responses to “Irish in a Rush to Defeat Temple”

    1. Its good to see the Irish dominate teams they should dominate and its a good tune up for the Bulldogs.

    2. Thanks again John.
      Check out my pregame wish list. I’m never happy. Ever. But tonight I am reasonably pleased.
      What I liked:
      -Over 400 yards on the ground. Oooooooh, Mommy. All backs acquitted themselves well. ND controlled the line.
      -D better than I expected. Tackling GREATLY improved.
      -Using the TE as a Fullback. I freakin’ LOVE that. Did you expect that, based on OC’s previous tendencies?
      -No big injuries that I know about.
      -PUTTING LESSER OPPONENTS AWAY. When’s the last time we scored 49, Vannie?
      What I didn’t like so much:
      -Missed FG’s. Not the difference today, but might be sometime soon (like next week).
      -BW took too many hits.
      -Alize Mack had a tough day at the office.
      OK Fellas. Rinse 2016 with that victory and spit it out. Enjoy tonight, and get ready for them Bulldogs. Great start!

    3. Terry McManus says:

      Great start, let up a little in the 2nd quarter but came back in the 3rd and took over the game again. Over 400 rushing yards is a good sign, the O-line played real well. Wimbush made some rookie mistakes but overall ND was clearly superior.

    4. irishhawk50 says:

      Not a bad start, but the defense is still suspect. Too many open receivers who were either missed by Temple QB or who dropped balls. Georgia will be a tough test. The jury is still out.

    5. Yes. Great game. Escpecially in first quarter. Nice to come out of the gates fast. Wimbush cannot take those hits and survive a season, needs to learn to slide. Defense needs some work, but did get some pressure and did well vs the run. Gonna be difficult to outscore quality teams. Can go as far as defense will allow.

    6. ND did what they had to do. Temple is not a very good team. Now let’s see what happens vs Georgia.

    7. Austinirish says:

      Please, please, please remember one thing against Georgia: Run. The. Ball.

    8. 1. I think Temple is going to be a good team so this was a good win.
      2. We’ll see how long the “good” Brian Kelly lasts but at least he was on his best behavior yesterday.
      3. ND got out to a big lead and let up again. That has been a problem under Kelly.
      4. Josh Adams is a stud. Dexter Williams is clearly much better than Tony Jones. I don’t know why they had Jones run the ball on that 4th and 2.
      5. I loved that they ran for over 400 yards and had three 100 yard rushers for the day.
      6. Chip Long seemed to be trying to protect Winbush by calling a lot of short safe pass plays. They didn’t throw downfield very often.
      7. The offensive line looked good. There were a lot of long runs but there were quite a few no gains as well.
      8. I don’t know what this love affair with Alize’ Mack is about. I thought Wieshar and Smythe were much better.
      9. Winbush had a solid game with the exception of that interception. He’s more comfortable running but he has a strong arm. His mobility will be a key next week.
      10. I read an article last week that Kevin Stepherson is in the dog house and I noticed that CJ Saunders was barely on the field. You can bet Georgia is going to load up against the run so we may see more of those two next week to loosen up the Georgia defense.
      11. The defense improved as the game went on but there were seams and Temple ran well. Georgia has a big line and two big backs.
      12. The defensive backfield was helped by some Temple drops but they didn’t give up any long touchdowns.
      13. Daelin Hays  and Drue Tranquil were all over the field. Tevon Coney and Nyles Morgan looked good too.
      14. The defense actually had three sacks ….. in ONE GAME! They even forced a turnover.
      15. This team is a work in progress and we’ll find out a lot more against Georgia but I’m optimistic.

      • goirish1988 says:

        Not too much to complain about yesterday but, even if we eventually improve on defense, #3 above is the long-term problem under Kelly: no killer instinct.

    9. IrishGreen says:

      Offense is good and the defense is mediocre. We have seen how this plays out. Maybe the ground game offsets the poor D a little more then in the past but there were Temple receivers running open all day which doesn’t bode well against the better teams.

    10. In the Philly papers this morning, Temple fans are not happy with their bad team and new coach. So I will wait til next week to determine if ND has improved. I thought ND tackled better. Did Jerry Tillery play? Didn’t hear his name. Certainly expected him to be more of a force. I’m very happy albeit surprised that Brandon went under center inside the 5. Power the ball and impose your will. Good opening win for the team

    11. Aaron Koproski says:

      Good statement win IRISH! Definitely put last season behind us! Have to keep improving on both sides of the ball. Next week we’ll see how much we improved!!!! Enjoy this win weekend IRISH FANS!!! Come Monday….it’s all about James Oglethrope’s Bull-Dawgs!!!!

      GO IRISH ☘️

    12. Not a bad start, but I agree with IrishGreen that the defense looks like a liability. It might not have a bunch of suspended starters this year, but they still looked a few steps behind on their reads. Hopefully they get better to be able to stop better teams, but they looked like the typical post-Holtz Irish D, minus a couple of years. Temple has been good, but lost their coach and a lot of starters, so I don’t think they were a very good litmus test. Wimbush is the first real athlete at QB since Kevin McDougal because he has the quickness, size and explosiveness to get away and punish defenses with his feet, and the durability to not get injured from taking hits. His accuracy and timing were inconsistent, but the improved running game, via the O-line and backs, coupled with his constant threat to make big plays with his feet, are more important than the threat of a dangerous pass-happy attack. We will see what the Irish do against Georgia and Michigan State, but it’s one thing to beat some good teams, like 2012, but something entirely different to face the likes of an Alabama or Clemson calibre team in the College playoffs.

      • DenverJoeIrish says:

        Uh-oh, Terrence, you’ve forced me to invoke a Jim Mora reaction. PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS?!? You’re talking about PLAYOFFS?!?!?!?

    13. This is a much needed big win and there’s more good than bad. There appeared to be some blown assignments on defense and if Temple receivers had hauled in the balls that would have kept drives alive or put another score on the board. ND needs to clean that up and I expect they will.

      If Temple is bowl eligible this year then this will be an impressive win but if they finish 2-10 then not so much. We really won’t know how much ND has improved until the next 4-5 weeks.

      ND has to win against Georgia. Close losses to top 20 teams are no longer acceptable.

    14. Irish looked good and ran great. Defensive backfield may be a big issue. our special teams were better with punting filed goals, kick returns and overall special teams were not much improved. We are still miles away form competing with good teams. we will get a great test next week against a great running team. that will set the stage for the season

    15. great win and great to see the ball run so well. I would like to see Dexter Williams get a few more touches. the special teams despite all the hype abut improvement still were suspect in the filed goal aspects, punt returns, and kick off returns. without really good special teams we will not survive the season. we are still light years away from being able to compete against the top teams. Next weeks game will tell us al lot about the rushing defenese