Here is a quick look back at some of the highlights of Saturday night blowout of Maryland…
It Was Over When …
Lo Wood picked off a Danny O’Brian pass and returned it 57 yards for the TD. With the Irish having just scored on back to back possessions, Wood’s TD put ND up 38-7. The game was over probably much earlier but this was the exclamation point that ended any hope for Maryland.
Jonas Gray darted through a nice hole on 4th and 1 to score a TD with 30 seconds left in the first half. With the Irish getting the ball to start the 2nd half and Maryland showing no sign of stopping the Irish offense, a 24-7 lead going into halftime was huge.
Three Good Stats
- 212 rushing yards — Maryland came into the game with one of the worst rushing D’s in the country and the Irish took advantage of it. Jonas and Cierre combined for 39 carries and 235 yards. It was a strong showing by the Irish offense. ND just missed having two 100 yard rushers for the first time since 2002.
- 78.9% completion percentage — Tommy Rees followed up one of his worst passing performances with one of his best. He finished the night 30-38 for 296 yards and most importantly, 0 ints. At least 3 of the incompletions were drops so it was a very efficient night. Tommy’s pass to Floyd was one of his best throws of the season.
- 0 turnovers — For the first time since the Air Force game, the Irish played a turnover free game.
Three Bad Stats
- 2 drops — This is nitpicky but Floyd had two drops during the game. We just beat a team 45-21 with the final 7 points of for MD coming in garbage time. There aren’t too many bad stats
- 3 sacks — For the first time since the Pitt game, the Irish O-Line surrendered a couple of sacks. Two of them were coverage sacks and/or Tommy holding the ball too long. The O-line has been outstanding all year so I’m not going to worry about too much about them.
- 14 2nd half points — With a bunch of key defenders nursing injuries, Brian Kelly and the Irish coaches rotated in several back-ups throughout the 2nd half. The back-ups did not perform as well as the starters yielding two TDs in the 4th quarter. The first TD still had several starters in but the 2nd one was entirely on the back-ups. This is something that has happened throughout the year anytime the 2nd-string D has gone into the game. It’s nice that they are getting some good experience but it would be even better if they could continue the strong play of the starting D.
- Jonas Gray/Cierre Wood — Another strong game. Rinse/repeat.
- Roby Toma — stepping in for a injured Theo Riddick, to the eternal delight of MQ, Toma played an outstanding game. He finished the game with 7 catches for 73 yards. He also had a couple of big blocks on bubble screens. Toma has a feel for playing in the slot and it showed on Saturday night. It will be nice to see if he continue his performance going forward
- Lo Wood — Though the Int was more a result of a bad pass than anything else, Wood played an overall good game. Robert Blanton was in and out of the line-up with a stinger and I didn’t see too many bad plays by Wood. Since Gray & Blanton are graduating this year, strong performance like this one will help Wood going forward next season.
- Wood’s INT was the first of his career. It was also the first pick six for ND since Darrin Walls’ against Army in last year’s “Shamrock Series” game.
- As noted earlier, Notre Dame finished 1 yard short of having two 100 yard rushers since the 2002 game against Stanford.
- Ethan Johnson returned for the first time since injuring his ankle against Purdue. ND was constantly rotating DL but it was nice to see him return. EJ getting healthy will be key for the game against Stanford.
The Irish return home for the final home game of the season against Boston College. They open up as 24.5 point favorites.