At First Glance…

O'Malley's game notebook presents a handful of game balls, reviews the game's top plays, and offers numbers of note in Saturday's 84th annual Blue Gold game won by the defense.

Offensive MVP: C.J. Prosise

The safety-turned-receiver gave the Gold team (offense) a spark late, breaking free down the left sidelines for the game's only touchdown, a 35-yard offering from early enrollee quarterback Malik Zaire.

Asked about Prosise's progress in his first spring as an offensive player, head coach Brian Kelly offered, "Very athletic kid. He didn't fight the ball. Seemed to come very natural, but he's very raw. He's got a lot of work to do. but we feel very confident that if we stick with him and continue to work with him that we can see a finished product as we move through the season."

Prosise finished with 40 yards on two receptions and the aforementioned score.

Offensive Game Balls: Expected starting receivers T.J. Jones and DaVaris Daniels combined for 86 yards on six receptions. Daniels helped the offense "score" two points with a "Big Chunk" reception of 26 yards.

Tight end Troy Niklas (24 and 22), RB Will Mahone (29), and RB Cam McDaniel (25) also provided points for the offense with downfield pass receptions in excess of 20 yards.

Junior George Atkinson executed the only rush in excess of 15 yards on the day, gaining 17 an a run over left guard for two offensive points. Atkinson finished with 49 yards on 10 carries.

Struggles under center: The team's quarterbacks hit just 20 of 41 passes with two interceptions, one by starter Everett Golson, the other by Zaire, with Golson's occurring at the goal line. Donning red shirts denoting a hands off policy from the defense, the quartet of triggermen were sacked (tapped) a combined 10 times, losing 65 yards under the unique scoring system.

Defensive MVP -- Tyler Stockton

Playing in his record fifth spring game and in his first game action inside the House that Rockne Built since his sophomore year of 2010, the backup nose guard produced six tackles including two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Stockton's fifth season in South Bend came as a surprise to him as it did most Irish fans and media.

"I didn't even know. I thought I was done after the (Alabama) game. The coach's called me in and told me in and said they want to have a chance to give me a fifth year. It wasn't even official until closer to spring ball. Once I got it I was really relieved.

"At first when I came for the (spring) semester I thought I was done with football. I was going to have to find a job. Now that I got a fifth year I get to be with my teammates for another year, and I'm really happy about it."

Kelly offered Stockton's name earlier this week as one of a handful of non-contributors from 2012 who could find rotation time in 2013.

Defensive Game Balls: Junior linebackers Ishaq Williams and Jarrett Grace led the team with eight tackles apiece. Williams added two sacks and three tackles-for-loss while Grace recorded a stop behind scrimmage as well.

Junior safety Matthias Farley secured an Everett Golson interception in the end zone to kill a first-half drive, but Farley has fifth-year senior Carlo Calabrese to thank for the offering. Calabrese re-routed slot receiver George Atkinson down the seam, his shove negating Atkinson's attempt to bend his route inside and Golson's pass sailed directly to Farley's arms. Calabrese finished with five tackles in the contest including the game's best hit, a head shot to Atkinson who ran too high up the middle but earned first down yardage on the play.

"Oh yeah, he got me a little bit, but as long as we keep the chains moving, I'll take that punishment."

Senior nose guard Kona Schwenke finished with four tackles, a sack, and 1.5 tackles for loss, the latter including a safety vs. running back Cam McDaniel and a play that awarded his defense four points under the unique scoring system.

Junior walk-on linebacker Joe Schmidt recorded a crucial second half interception of Zaire, the play was worth seven points representing the single highest scoring snap of the afternoon.

Special Teams Review

5th-year senior Nick Tausch handled the kicking duties, hitting of efforts from 40, 31, and 36 after initially missing wide left from 39 in the first quarter.

Tausch set a since-broken program record with 14 consecutive field goals as a true freshman in 2009 and won the kicking job over current junior-to-be Kyle Brindza last August. Brindza replaced an injured Tausch for Week Two vs. Purdue last September, won the game with a late field goal, and never relinquished duties thereafter.

Brindza struggled punting Saturday, his first game in the role since high school in Canton, Michigan.

A potential place-kicker, kick-off specialist, and punter next fall, Brindza averaged just 30 yards per punt Saturday with no live defense rushing him.

"Kyle's moving into that position. The reality of it is, we have to continue to work with him," said Kelly. "I think the wind, obviously and being outdoors is going to be part of our consideration but we've got to get better there, there's no question. T.J. (Jones) lost the ball, as well. I'd like to leave the spring feeling a little bit better about it but we've got a lot of work to do there."

Today's scrimmage was Notre Dame's third practice held outside among Notre Dame's 15 allotted spring sessions. Inclement weather in South Bend chief for the month-plus spent inside the Loftus Sports Center.

There were no kickoffs, live punt returns, or punt/field goal block attempts allowed in today's scrimmage.

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