Fighting Irish Fighting On

College football fans either love them or hate them, cry tears of joy or sadness after each game unravels, because the undeniable truth is that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is a storied, cherished program.  This year, Everett Golson and co. have not disappointed their distinguished fan base.
A 3-0 record and eighth overall ranking speak for itself; however, the quality of play has far surpassed what many experts predicted heading into the 2014 season.  The Irish have proven their ability to find the back of the end zone successfully, both through the air and on the ground.  Complementing the offensive unit nicely, the defense has the nation’s third best points-against average allowing just a shade above 10 points per game.
The leader of this talented bunch is none other than head coach Brian Kelly.  The 12-year veteran has found his rhythm as the Fighting Irish headman and has raised his overall record with the program to 40-15.  Thus far, Kelly has been masterful in his efforts to reinvigorate Golson’s career while also calling the right plays at opportune times. Golson, a dual threat quarterback, is the undisputed leader of a potent offense and has tossed seven touchdown passes to go with zero interceptions and an additional four scores on the ground.  
Notre Dame employs an equally distributed rushing game, one that has four players with at least 22 carries and is highlighted by Greg Bryant’s team high 119 yards.  Likewise, the receiving corps is talent-laden and Golson has been great about spreading the wealth, nine different targets have a reception so far. The big threat and top option has been sophomore William Fuller.  Fuller caught only six passes during his freshman campaign, but has been special since stepping into the starting role.  What scares opponents is that on top of their impeccable play on the scoring side of the ball, their defense is even better.
Over the course of the first three games, the Fighting Irish have allowed just 31 points, shutting out long-time rival Michigan for the first time in the storied match up. Joe Schmidt has been the defensive catalyst, recording 23 tackles plus an interception to guide a unit that has forced six interceptions and eight sacks, keeping opposing offenses at bay.
Still, Notre Dame has a brutal schedule ahead and will face four ranked opponents as they aim to qualify for the first ever college football playoff game. If they continue to play at this level, it’s very possible we will see some gold helmets playing meaningful football in January.
*Section Photo credit to Jeff Gross, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to SportSpyder
Sims, Cooper Roll Tide Past Florida 42-21
Sims, Cooper Roll Tide Past Florida 42-21