Offensive Skill Positions StartersHead coach Brian Kelly's offense ranks 29th nationally at 438.86 yards per game but just 50th in scoring offense (30.14 per contest).
Quarterback #11 Tommy Rees: Suffered an interception last week to close out Notre Dame's offensive effort in a two-touchdown loss to the Trojans, his first pick since Week Four in Pittsburgh. Rees has thrown 14 touchdown passes in 6.5 games this season; last week the first outing of his career in which he was held without a scoring pass – the 11 straight games tied for third-best in program history.
Running Back #20 Cierre Wood: Held to a career-low five yards rushing last week and also suffered his first fumble since Game Two (Michigan). Wood has scored a touchdown in five of seven games this season and has posted four contests in excess of 100 rushing yards.
Wide Receiver #3 Michael Floyd: Has been intermittently dominant with four double-digit reception games and three separate 100-plus yard receiving efforts. The unquestioned team MVP through seven games, Floyd was held out of the end zone for the fourth time in seven contests last week in a loss to USC.
Wide Receiver #7 T.J. Jones: Has just three receptions over the last two games after posting a combined eight in the previous pair. Ranks fourth on the squad in receptions (23) yards (292) and is tied for second in receiving TD (3)
Slot Receiver #6 Theo Riddick: Riddick's 13 receptions over the last two games ranks second on the team as does his 139 combined receiving yards. Six of Riddick's 13 receptions have occurred on short crossing routes that he turned into first downs (and a touchdown) after the catch.
Tight End #80 Tyler Eifert: Leads the team with 15 receptions and 147 yards over the last two games and ranks first nationally in receptions for a tight end (39) and receiving yards (429).
Running Back #25 Jonas Gray: The senior's 8.5 yards-per-carry ranks second nationally among runners with at least 50 carries (third overall). Gray has scored five touchdowns in the last four outings, the first five of his career and the most by any Irish player over the recent four-game span.
Slot Receiver #9 Robby Toma: Has three catches including a touchdown over the last four games after not securing a reception over the first three contests.
Quarterback #12 Andrew Hendrix: Should again be used as a change-of-pace signal-caller in relief of starter Tommy Rees. Hendrix was held in check in limited action by USC after breaking out for 111 rushing yards on just six carries in his previous contest vs. Air Force.
Tight Ends #18 Ben Koyack and #82 Alex Welch: The tandem is used in three-tight end sets in some short-yardage and goal line situations. A true freshman, Koyack has one reception this season while the redshirt-freshman Welch still searches for the first of his Irish career.
Offensive LinemenOnly 5th-year senior guard Andrew Nuss is likely to see action in a reserve role during a competitive contest. Other reserves include senior center Mike Golic and sophomore tackle Christian Lombard.
LT #70 Zack Martin: 6'4" 303-pound junior is the only offensive lineman to appear on the Irisheyes.com Top 10 player list following each contest. Martin has started 19 consecutive games after sitting out as a true frosh in 2009.
LG #66 Chris Watt: Ranks as the site's second most productive lineman through seven contests. The 6'3" 310-pound Watt is the only first-time starter along the offensive front this season.
C #52 Braxston Cave: 6'3" 303-pound two-year starter (20 straight games) is at his best at the point of attack, manned vs. an opposing nose guard. Cave has shown a penchant, if not consistency, for finding and taking down linebackers at the second level.
RG #78 Trevor Robinson: 6'5" 311-pound senior leads the offense in total starts (34) and was lauded by his head coach in late September as the team's most improved lineman.
RT #75 Taylor Dever: 6'5" 301-pound 5th-year senior has improved greatly over the last two years, sealing the backside pass rush and run blitz lanes.