Notre Dame’s Defense allowed 17 points and 367 yards of total offense. The Fighting Irish made a few key errors that led to two long touchdown passes.
On Rice’s first touchdown pass, Junior Safety Elijah Shumate found himself out of position. Facing a 2nd and 17 situation, new Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder decided to rush three and drop eight players in coverage. This play call made complete sense with the down and distance. However, the players, in this case Elijah Shumate, failed to execute the play properly.
Senior Safety Matthias Farley capitalized on a critical error by Jackson. As seen in the picture, if Farley did not intercept the pass, Riggs likely would have made the play. However, it is important to note that Notre Dame did capitalize on the mistake made by Rice. The Irish then cashed in the turnover for seven points.
Notre Dame needs to capitalize on all turnovers to beat the better teams on their schedule.
On Rice’s second touchdown, Notre Dame’s secondary again failed significantly. This time, Notre Dame dropped seven into coverage while only rushing four. Rice’s backup Quarterback Tyler Stehling had a clean pocket to throw from. Backup Safety Nicky Baratti allowed Wide Receiver James Mayden to get behind him in coverage.
It is interesting to note that Notre Dame was beaten in coverage when they dropped the maximum amount of players into coverage. Notre Dame needs to improve their back end communication. If Austin Collinsworth played, it is possible these issue would not have occurred. However, they will not have Collinsworth until Syracuse. If the Defense tights up, they will have a very solid year.