At Their Best: Offensive Backfield

Irish fans have high hopes for the future of what is a youth-filled, inexperienced roster heading into 2014. With the best likely yet to come, we review the best single-game efforts to date from players in each position group.

Below is a look at the best efforts to date by Notre Dame's sparsely populated offensive backfield, a group that will add there new competitors this fall, redshirt-freshman Malik Zaire and incoming freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer.

Redshirt-freshman running back Greg Bryant played sparingly as a rookie last fall, earning a pair of late carries for 12 (total) yards in the season opening win over Temple, then covering kickoffs against Purdue two weeks prior to losing the remainder of his season to a knee procedure.

Senior QB Everett Golson

Suspended for the 2013 campaign for academic transgressions, Golson earned offensive player of the game and/or game ball honors (distributed to up to 10 players) from Irish Eyes for his work against Purdue, Michigan State, Miami, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Wake Forest, and USC in his first season as a starter.

From the group, Golson's road efforts at Michigan State, Oklahoma, and USC are likely the most impressive, but without his second half heroics in a triple overtime win over Pittsburgh, Notre Dame's undefeated regular season would not have been possible.

Trailing 20-6 entering the fourth quarter and recently removed from his fourth and final benching of the season, Golson at one point either ran or passed the pigskin on 19 consecutive snaps, helping turn the 14-point deficit into a tie game to force overtime.

Included therein was a touchdown pass to Theo Riddick and ensuing two-point conversion dive by Golson that sent the contest into its first of three overtimes. The rookie put the game on ice with a one-yard touchdown plunge in the final extra session. His numbers on the day: 227 passing yards, 74 rushing, a two-point conversion run, a touchdown run, and two touchdown passes against one interception.

Senior RB Cam McDaniel

Notre Dame's most productive runner and definitive "closer" last season, McDaniel was at his best in wins over Purdue, Michigan State, Arizona State, USC, and Brigham Young, with the latter his best individual effort to date.

In a 23-13 win over the Cougars, McDaniel helped send out the 2013 senior class by posting a career-best 117 rushing yards on a career-high 24 carries. The workmanlike McDaniel compiled his yards despite just two carries that gained in excess of nine yards.

Sophomore RB Tarean Folston

A true freshman last fall, Folston's best came when the Irish needed it most, a 38-34 heart-stopping win over the Naval Academy on November 2. Folston's day included career highs of 140 yards and 18 carries along with the first touchdown of his collegiate career.

Among his carries were gains of 10, 13, 8, 9, 15, 15, 14, 14, and 10 yards, the final installment setting up his one-yard touchdown plunge that provided the game's final four-point margin.

Folston finished strong in the season's final three games, compiling 78 yards and a score on 13 carries vs. Brigham Young (his first career start), contributing 50 yards on 14 rushes against Stanford's stout defense, and ending the season with 73 yards and another score -- the game-clincher -- to drop Rutgers in the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl.

Note: For previously reviewed players, click the links below:

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends




Defensive Line Top Stories