Eye in the Sky: First Quarter D

Notre Dame dominated the opening quarter vs. Brigham Young, intercepting a pass and recording three sacks while holding the Cougars to 40 net yards.

Notre Dame's 2012 first quarter dominance as Bob Diaco's defense limited Brigham Young and quarterback Riley Nelson to 40 net yards from scrimmage, including -19 rushing, the result of two sacks that killed Cougars drives.

The Irish began the contest with immediate pressure by surging 5th-year senior defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, who pushed Nelson -- a lefty -- to his right and into what should have been a sack by sophomore star Stephon Tuitt. Nelson escaped both, a rarity vs. the athletic Irish front four, and found his receiver Cody Ross for 20 yards downfield. The scramble situation marked the Cougars longest pass completion of the day, and it occurred on their first snap.

Lewis-Moore made his presence felt again, fighting off a block to tackle running back Jamal Williams who had a lane had KLM not made the stop…One of the first of two dozen short "cupcake passes" works to the field side as cornerback Bennett Jackson is sealed inside, allowing a path down the sidelines for Ross and a gain of eight yards and a BYU first down…

Senior 'backer Carlo Calabrese was late to diagnose a screen on the ensuing snap, the result was a pancake block at his expense and Manti Te'o cleaned up the 12-yard advance downfield…For the second straight play, freshman boundary cornerback Keivarae Russell is blocked on a screen pass, this time Calabrese cleaned up the short pass to his side after five yards…

Redshirt-freshman backup defensive end Tony Springmann made his presence felt upon check-in, applying pressure on his first play to help force an incomplete pass. Backup nose guard Kona Schwenke recorded a hit on Nelson as well…

The Irish had a 3rd and 5 delayed shuffle pass well defended by nickel linebacker Ishaq Williams was a touch late in his recognition, the result a gain of 11 and the fourth Cougars first down of The Opening drive…

The All-America candidate Tuitt effectively ended the visitor's threat on the next snap, sacking Nelson on an attempted bootleg to Tuitt's side (left DE) for a 16-yard loss. It was a tremendous tackle in space by the 6'6" 300-pounder vs. a shifty quarterback -- Te'o contributed excellent coverage in the flat to contribute as did Lewis-Moore, who recognized the bootleg and came across scrimmage to take away a passing lane…

The resulting 2nd and 26 snap was intercepted, with Te'o recording his fourth of the season on a pass thrown behind Ross the intended target. Te'o had taken a full false step toward a fake screen to his right with Ross slipping beneath him, but Nelson's throw was errant, the result of pressure by Prince Shembo. Louis Nix had tremendous recognition of the potential screen pass as well…

A Pair of Three-and-Outs

Notre Dame ranks fourth nationally in terms of three-and-outs forced this fall, with two more added to the season's ledger against the Cougars to end the opening quarter Saturday. Nix won at the point on first down to allow backup defensive end Sheldon Day a clean stop on first down with junior 'backer Danny Spond sealing the edge…Nix's second down pressure on 2nd and 6 forced a Nelson incompletion while the ensuing 3rd and 6 was destroyed with Shembo coming off the edge, Williams applying pocket pressure with a stand-up blitz that took multiple Cougars to defend, and Lewis-Moore finishing the drill by discarding his man for a spinning sack of Nelson. (Tuitt was held on the play, no call.)…

The Irish D held to conclude the first quarter with Springmann holding the point on first down, allowing Tuitt and Shembo to make the stop. Second down followed with a strong read and react coverage fit by Calabrese, who collapsed running back Jamal Williams immediately after the latter's short reception in the boundary flat (Russell was there as well)…3rd and 2 yielded another Irish sack, this time after Lewis-Moore's pressure, combined with that of Williams -- his hand down as the left defensive end this time -- allowed a delayed blitz by Te'o to clean up Nelson for the drive-ending tackle. TE'o appeared to be spying on Nelson in the 3rd and 2 situation, then recognizing the quarterback's predicament in the pocket, attacked and stopped him behind scrimmage.

Inside the Game: Sophomore Cat linebacker Ishaq Williams served as the team's "nickel defender" throughout the contest, a personnel development that's gained steam over the last month. Williams came in on third down to blitz from a standup position inside and to rush the passer from both left and right defensive end. He replaces either nose guard Louis Nix or the Irish Will linebacker (Fox/Calabrese) in most third down situations.

1st Quarter Stars: Lewis-Moore, Tuitt, Nix, Te'o, Springmann, Shembo. (Williams was close, but poor recognition on one 3rd and 5 conversion was maddening to watch on film).


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