Notre Dame defeated Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon 29-26 to stay undefeated. Although this close result was unexpected, there are some positives to take from this game. Here are some positives to take away from Saturday’s result:
Everett Golson’s Continued Emergence
After performing masterfully on the previous Saturday against Oklahoma, Golson rallied his team to victory against the Pittsburgh Panthers. He totaled 301 yards of total Offense against the Pitt Defense. His completion percentage was decent. Golson completed 23 of 42 passes. More importantly, he produced all three of Notre Dame’s touchdowns (two passing and one rushing). Brian Kelly awarded Golson the game ball following the 29-26 victory. It is easy to say that he single handily defeated the Panthers on Saturday. This experience will only bolster his confidence going forward.
Notre Dame’s Offensive Output
The Fighting Irish outgained the Panthers 522-308 on Offense. Although the Irish did not put a significant amount of points on the board, they did not struggle to move the football against Pittsburgh. This total was the second highest of the season. The highest was 587 yards against Miami (Fl). Notre Dame’s Offensive Line pounded the Panthers for 231 yards. Everett Golson and Tommy Rees combined to throw the ball for 291 yards. If Notre Dame can combine prolific Offense with shut down Defense, Notre Dame will be difficult to beat down the stretch.
Daniels Steps Up
Davaris Daniels was expected to be a major player for the Fighting Irish this season. He has probably met everyone’s expectations to this point. He is a third leading Receiver on the team. On Saturday, he stepped up in a big way. Daniels had 7 receptions for 86 yards. The biggest reception occurred on the game tying drive when he hauled in a 45 yard reception from Everett Golson. Daniels has accumulated 353 receiving yards. He only trails T.J. Jones (383 yards) and Tyler Eifert (403 yards) for the lead in Receiving yards.
Notre Dame Overcomes
There were a lot of disappointed fans Saturday night following Notre Dame’s near loss to an inferior Pitt squad. The others were just relieved that the Fighting Irish had made it to 9-0. However, this victory demonstrated that Notre Dame’s Offense can win a game when it needs to. Entering the 4th Quarter, Notre Dame trailed 20-6. The Fighting Irish Offense continually marched down the field. In three consecutive drives, Notre Dame moved the ball into the Red Zone. On one occasion, Everett Golson threw an interception to a Pittsburgh defender. Another consequence that this game had is a “Wake Up Call” for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame was going into three games where they were going to be favored after defeating Oklahoma. Now, after the most recent scare, the Fighting Irish should be on top of their game for the rest of the season. Brian Kelly will not allow his team to lose focus.