But the pre-game focus shifted to head coach Brian Kelly for his calling out of a segment of players on his team in a media interview Thursday night.
Was the timing of his words planned by the Irish head coach?
That question will never be answered, but we asked five questions prior to the game and now have our answers for those following Notre Dame's impressive 42-point victory.
Question One: How will the Irish respond following the loss to USC?
Answer One: Despite all the off field talk from the comments of head coach Brian Kelly, the Irish looked determined to make sure there was no question they were in control. There are still some things to clean up but the day was a positive as the Irish stayed focused on the task at hand from the opening kick-off through the final minutes with the second unit on the field.
Question Two: Could Navy embarrass Notre Dame again?
Answer Two: No! Notre Dame held the Midshipmen to under 200 yards on the ground and only gave up 14 points on the day. In scoring 56 points, the Irish made sure those from the Naval Academy knew who was in charge in South Bend.
Question Three: How many yards will Notre Dame give up to Navy?
Answer Three: Navy had 63 total offensive plays on the day and the Irish surrendered only 229 total yards. Considering the Irish gave the Midshipmen a game-opening drive of 13 plays for 44 yards (missed FG), and a 12-play drive for 59 yards (turnover on downs) in the third quarter and a 7-play 40 yard drive to end the game, you can see the Irish defense bent very little, but did not break as it had done a year ago.
Question Four: How much will Notre Dame miss Kapron Lewis-Moore on Saturday against Navy?
Answer Four: While you would still like to see Lewis-Moore on the field, the play of Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III was solid as the duo combined for 13 total tackles with Nix getting credit for half a sack.
Question Five: Will the Irish running attack return after going AWOL last week?
Answer Five: The Irish used Jonas Greay and Cierre Wood for about the same number of carries and both responded with solid days combining for 135 yards on the ground. Keep in mind neither back lost yardage on the day. Add in George Atkinson III who had seven carries for another 28 yards to the mix and the Irish returned to their solid running attack.