Five Answers – Utah

A look at five answers to the five pressing questions discussed prior to Saturday's victory over Utah.

Question One: Did the week away from playing a game allow the Irish to regroup, refresh, and recharge to make a strong push during the final three games of the season?

Answer One:  Yes!!!  The Irish played their first complete game of the season showing gained improvement on special teams, defense, and offense.  Players took the field looking to show this was not the Irish teams of recent years and gave the seniors a win in their final home game.  One more win is needed to earn a bowl berth, Army will be a test, but the Irish have placed themselves in a position to make a strong charge in their final two games.

Question Two: Tommy Rees is now the starter, while he showed signs of being capable of moving the offense; he also showed signs of being a freshman still learning the ropes.  Can Rees provide leadership and reduce the number of turnovers that cost the Irish the Tulsa game?

Answer Two: Yes!!!  Rees was 13-20-0 for 129 yards and 3 touchdowns.  No turnovers and hitting for 65% are keys to playing winning football under Brian Kelly.  While the freshman made mistakes, his overall play was solid and you could see teammates had confidence in him as a leader. 

Question Three: The defensive played a solid game against Tulsa, now; can they keep Utah's offense in check?

Answer Three: Yes!!!  The Irish gave up 265 total yards to Utah keeping them to 3.8 yards per play.  However, the big stat of the game was the fact the Irish only allowed Utah to be successful four times out of fifteen on third-down conversions and only one out of four on fourth down tries.  In the red-zone, Utah had two chances and walked away with 0 points.

Question Four: Can the Irish keep Utah linebacker Chaz Walker in check?

Answer Four: Walker posted six total tackles (2 solo) and posted no tackles for loss or sacks.

Question Five: Who will step up for the Irish and make a difference?

Answer Five: Who did not step up for the Irish? 

Michael Floyd played the type of game pro scouts have been waiting for him to play doing all the little things to show he is a player ready for the next level.  

Duval Kamara pulled down two touchdowns.  Cierre Wood showed continued improvement to his game.  Robert Blanton made a great play on the block and touchdown return.  

Brian Smith was all over the field.  Prince Shembo showed why he is a player to keep an eye on in the coming years.  Harrison Smith made a great interception.  

Austin Collinsworth showed what a Kelly "Right Kind of Guy" could do on special teams.  Chris Watt played some solid snaps at left guard.  Moreover, the list can go on and on.  

Last and not least, the ND student section and fans for showing up after two weeks of negative talk about the team.  Recruits and fans noticed the scene after the game across the country. Top Stories