Carlo Calabrese – The advantage of playing in the 3-4 is the amount of plays linebackers are placed in position to make. Calabrese had a great day with nine tackles (7 solo) in his first career game.
Darrin Walls – If one player on defense stood out it was Walls who posted seven tackles (5 solo) to go with an interception. Walls experience showed on Saturday and he will be counted on in the coming weeks to keep up the pace of the season opener.
Ian Williams – Nose guards in the 3-4 do not post big tackle numbers and Williams only had one on the day, but he was credited with half a sack and also had an interception while doing a solid job up front using his strength to anchor the middle of the Irish defense.
Armando Allen – Scored the first touchdown in the Brian Kelly era while also rushing for 93 yards on 18 carries for a 5.2 average. Add in his 38 yards in punt returns and fans should expect Allen to have a solid season, but he will be pushed by Cierre Wood in the coming weeks.
Cierre Wood – In his first game Wood picked up 58 yards on seven carries for an average of 8.3 yards while showing great burst. He also picked up 50 yards on two kickoff returns and 14 yards receiving. Wood should have a big year and push Armando Allen for carries as the season continues. This is the type of back Brian Kelly and Tim Hinton look for to carry the load.
Dayne Crist – All eyes were on Crist and he did not disappoint going 19-26-0 for 205 yards and 1 touchdown. Having watched several quarterbacks play in Brian Kelly's system, Crist looks to have a great understanding and should continue to grow as the season goes along. Not bad for his first career start.
Braxston Cave – The junior center had a great game for the Irish sealing off defenders and getting to the second level. Considering this was his first start, look for Cave to continue to grow and improve as the season goes.
David Ruffer – Going a perfect 3-for-3 (22,46,37) should place Ruffer on anyone's honor roll, considering he is a walk-on who Brian Kelly went with over a scholarship player, says volumes about where Ruffer is at with this staff. Also, keep in mind that Ruffer was a high school soccer player and golfer, not a football player.
Taylor Dever – Going against an All American in Ryan Kerrigan, Dever knew going in his day could be one of difficulties. There were a few downs, but overall Dever played great in his first career start and Irish fans should be excited about what they saw.
Brian Kelly – Kelly had his team ready and the results showed on the field. The offense, defense, and special teams played well, but overall the leadership Kelly brought leading up to a game where everyone was watching and looking for the Irish to fail.
Mike Elston – The Irish had a very good day on special teams with David Ruffer going 3-for-3, add three returns for 76 yards and Ben Turk placing one punt inside the twenty, and Elston will continue to take the Irish special teams to where they will need to be.