Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Saturday, September 2

Notre Dame Toughs Out Victory

It wasn't supposed to be this tough, was it? Yes, we knew all about Georgia Tech and its upset history and fierce defense and game-breaking offense (can you name a better college receiver than Calvin Johnson?) But did anyone expect to see a Charlie Weis offense throttled so effectively as it was for most of Saturday's season-opening first half? Of course they didn't, just as few would have predicted the Irish defense -- yes, the defense -- would be so decisive in the 14-10 victory.

But let's get back to the offense. Notre Dame gained just 54 yards on its first 26 plays. In three earlypossessions it lost five yards, gained zero yards, lost five yards. Yellow Jacket blitzes turned quarterback Brady Quinn into Peter Brady. It was the same formula that the Pittsburgh Steelers used so effectively against Peyton Manning last year -- pressure, harrass, frustrate.

So Weis adjusted, Quinn settled down and the result was the kind of tough-minded victory you expect from a national title contender. Of course, there's a long way to go before contender becomes champion and if you saw how impressive powerhouses such as USC, Texas and, perhaps, even Tennessee were in their debuts, you know how much drama awaits.

But for now, the No. 2 Irish are right where they want to be -- undefeated.


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