What we learned about Notre Dame: Week 3

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
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1. This could be a special season: Yes, it's been only three games. Yes, we may be overreacting. But Michigan certainly looks beatable, and BYU and USC lost Saturday. The daunting schedule looks a little less daunting, the Irish look a little better than advertised, and, well, you can be forgiven for wondering what the possibilities are for this team this year.

[+] EnlargeCierre Wood
Mike Carter/US Presswire Cierre Wood rushed for 56 yards in his first action of the season.
2. The front seven is as good as advertised: The Irish held Michigan State to 50 net rushing yards. Manti Te'o had a game-high 12 tackles, Prince Shembo had his best career game with nine, and Stephon Tuitt also notched his fifth sack of the season. If Notre Dame can slow MSU's rushing game to a halt, you have to like what this team can do against the run the rest of the season.

3. Everett Golson will grow: No, 14-for-32 passing for 178 yards won't light up any stat sheet. But this was a redshirt freshman's third career start and his first real road test. It came at night in a tough environment, as MSU had not lost inside Spartan Stadium since 2009. And it came after a horrible start, when the Irish had a false start and were forced to call a timeout before they could even get off a play from scrimmage to begin the game. Golson managed the game well, as he accounted for both touchdowns and avoided any turnovers.

4. Cierre Wood hasn't lost a step. A two-game suspension gave way to Theo Riddick taking the majority of the carries. But Wood, the returning 1,000-yard rusher, fared much better Saturday, carrying the ball 10 times for 56 yards, more than serviceable against the Spartans' defense. On Notre Dame's 12-play, 84-yard fourth-quarter drive that started from its own 4 and chewed up 6 minutes, 35 seconds, Wood carried it five times for 45 yards.

Matt Fortuna | email

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