Five Answers: South Florida

Saturday was not the day Notre Dame fans expected as the Irish fell to South Florida, 23-20, in a mistake-filled contest. We asked five questions going into the game against the Bulls; now we have the answers.

Question One: Brian Kelly praised Dayne Crist for his growth the day he was named Notre Dame's starting quarterback. Can Crist deliver on the field and fulfill Kelly's trust in leading the Irish to a strong opening showing?

Answer One: No, Crist and the Irish offense looked strong on the opening drive of the game. However, that soon changed with the fumble return touchdown by Kayvon Webster who ran 96 yards for the first points on the game. From there Crist looked like the quarterback we saw a year ago and would soon throw an interception costing the Irish points. By the time the Irish came back onto the field following halftime and weather break, Tommy Rees was at the helm and many feel will remain there when the Irish take the field against Michigan next Saturday.

Question Two: Several freshmen could take the field for their first official game in a Irish uniform. Will first game jitters lead to mistakes that will hurt the Irish on the field?

Answer Two: No, any jitters shown were not by the freshmen but instead by players with playing experience under their belts.

Question Three: The Irish defense ended the 2011 season with several solid performances. Can Bob Diaco's unit continue to perform as it did in the final month last season; now nine months later against a very athletic South Florida?

Answer Three: Yes, overall the Irish defense played solid and good enough for a win. USF had a total of 72 offensive plays on the day and the Irish gave up an average of 3.5 yards per play. Most days this is good enough for a victory.

Question Four: DaVaris Daniels, Aaron Lynch, and Stephon Tuitt all made the Irish two-deep depth chart. Which freshman will make the biggest impact against South Florida?

Answer Four: While it would not be fair to say any of the freshmen made an impact, Lynch did get into the game recording one total tackle and getting credit for a half tackle for loss. Tuitt played in both the first and second half as well while Daniels did not debut.

Question Five: Brian Kelly loves to throw the football, and while the running game had its moments in November 2010, there was still work to be done. Will the Irish running game get off to a strong start against the stout rush defense of the Bulls?

Answer Five: Yes, at least early. The Irish picked up 117 net rushing yards on the day led by Cierre Wood's 104 yards on 21 carries. However, it was the passing game that powered the offense as Tommy Rees hit on just over 70% of his throws going 24-34-2 for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Top Stories