What we learned about Notre Dame: Week 2

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
10:00
AM CT
1. The QB position is, um, interesting. Well, that's one way to put it. Brian Kelly says there's no controversy, and that Everett Golson is his starter. Golson played well before Tyler Eifert (concussion) went down, but in the game's biggest moment -- when Kelly himself said that Golson probably was healthy enough to play -- he went with Tommy Rees, who ultimately delivered. The Irish escaped 2-0, and that will, in some way, validate the move. But does Golson need to look over his shoulder now? Things will only get more difficult at Michigan State, a tough environment that will also mark his first legitimate road test.

[+] EnlargeBrian Kelly
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBrian Kelly has led the Irish to a 2-0 mark for the first time since 2008.
2. Players must get healthy. Notre Dame suffered a number of injuries Saturday that severely hampered it. Kelly said after the game that he thought none would require surgery or have any long-term effects. The wounded include: Kapron Lewis-Moore (calf strain), Jamoris Slaughter (shoulder), Eifert (concussion), DaVaris Daniels (ankle sprain), Ishaq Williams (elbow) and Sheldon Day (dehydration). Kicker Nick Tausch also hurt his groin earlier in the week, forcing Kyle Brindza in.

3. The O-line has some work to do. We knew the ground game wouldn't take off like it did in rushing for 293 yards against Navy. But few saw the Irish's front having so much trouble with Purdue's talented defensive line. Notre Dame rushed for 52 yards Saturday as a team, and Golson was on the ground early and often (five sacks). What was believed to be the team's biggest strength now prepares this week for Michigan State's tough defensive unit.

4. ND is 2-0 for the first time since 2008. This category counts, right? Rees' biggest completion, a 10-yard third-and-6 throw to John Goodman, may have come with no time left on the play clock. And Purdue insisted on playing two quarterbacks, when one (Robert Marve) looked better than the other (Caleb TerBush) for much of the day. But the Irish weathered the storm of multiple injuries to key players and, when it mattered most, took care of business. How they did it, and what's in store next, is anyone's guess.

Matt Fortuna | email

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