Ian Williams on the next defensive snap for a 12-yard snap of Carder; good edge push by Fleming and pure force from the senior Williams.
Applied late pressure (completed pass) on the ensuing play as well…Good backside pressure and pop of the RB in pass protection but Carder completed an 11-yard pass during the Broncos' late-half field goal march…Buried from a down RDE position as Winchester gained five yards to set up 1st and G at the ND 4-yard line…Sealed inside on Carder's 3-yard draw TD two snaps later.
Zeke Motta covered for him with a tremendous run fill and hit of the pitch man…Incredibly stupid late-hit (spear) by Kerry Neal midway through the second quarter. Making things worse: this is the first reference to Kerry Neal and its late in the second quarter…Smith cleaned up Juan Nunez after the receiver bounced off a Te'o hit (no wrap up) on a curl route inside.
Second Half: Neal hustled down the line unblocked to stop Winchester for a gain of 1-yard on the half's first snap…Neal fired off the backside on the ensuing play to team with Ethan Johnson for a 2nd down sack of Carder.
Prince Shembo: Also appeared early, but nearly provide a highlight late, playing a garbage-time reverse perfectly but failed to finish the tackle for loss in the Broncos backfield (the play resulted in an ugly limited gain.
Aaron Winchester for a solid hit and one-yard loss; credit to Brian Smith for forcing the early pitch and Ian Williams for taking away the middle, then a cut back lane.
Walls took away an outside lane on a 3rd and 3 pass to the flat but his inside pursuit (Brian Smith) slipped down and the Broncos moved the chains…As noted in our live game notes from the press box, Walls was beaten badly on a pump-and-go but Alex Carder threw opposite…Blanton gets caught holding on an out-route to help the Broncos convert a 3rd and 2 first down late in the half.
Second Half: Blanton showed good solo coverage on a corner route vs. Jordan White, forcing a 3rd and 10 on the Broncos' second series of the half…On the following series, popped Winchester on a toss left; Aligned basically as the OLB in a nickel role, Blanton popped the left tackle in the chest then burst through to make the backfield hit (seriously). Great job on the edge by Darrin Walls to cut off the outside lane…
Deftly cut off a 1st Down go route with under four minutes remaining in the first half; Gray diagnosed that route from the snap…Two plays later, dominated Juan Nunez on a sloppy slant route, picking off the Carder pass to set up the Irish with 1st Down at the WMU 44-yard line (ND scored on a Crist to Eifert TD four plays later).
Second Half: On the Broncos second series, Gray came up for a strong ankle tackle in run support to take down Drake for a 1-yard loss in the flat….
Zeke Motta and Harrison SmithTremendous effort coming up late to stop a surprise option to the right side: Motta sprinted from 11 yards back to drill Tevin Drake after a two-yard gain… A tad late (discretion probably the better part of valor on the play) in his Cover 2 assignment and a 20-yard near side out-route on 2nd and 22 is completed in front of him. Decent hit but Smith broke late on the play…Smith allowed himself to be picked on a crossing route in front of him for 11 yards down to the ND 9-yard line with just over six minutes to play in the first half…
Motta showed good coverage on a deep corner route late in the half but on the ensuing play, failed to knock down a late throw, then missed the tackle at the sticks on what became a 17-yard gain on 3rd and 3 to buoy the Broncos late-half TD drive; slop-fest by Motta and I have a feeling Brian Kelly had that particular play in mind during his post-half chat with Alex Flanagan.
Jamoris Slaughter, Dan McCarthy, Barry Gallup, Chris Salvi and Lo WoodSlow to break behind a 12-yard hook inside from the right slot (tough coverage assignment if that was really Te'o's pass drop as indicated by game announcer Mike Mayock…Entering the game midway through the final quarter, McCarthy was late getting to the deep corner in Cover 2 (despite a nice deep drop by the cornerback in front of him, Barry Gallup...The Broncos targeted McCarthy on the next play, beating him deep with Nunez down teh slot: one step to the corner and a burst to the post froze the rusty McCarthy for 48-yard gain.
Wood was close enough to break up the ensuing fade route touchdown attempt, but the freshman corner never got his head around (dropped and should have been six)...McCarthy came up to make a tackle on a broken trick play to eventually negate the late march and force a field goal...Walk-on Chris Salvi earned much deserved late-game snaps from scrimmage as the Irish limited the Broncos to a field goal on their final drive with what has now become their trademark bend but don't break defense.