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Sunday, October 17, 2010
What we learned: Notre Dame, Week 7

By Brian Bennett

What we learned from Notre Dame's 44-20 home win over Western Michigan on Saturday:

1. The Irish may have a killer instinct: Though not necessarily an assassin's mentality. After a subpar first half saw Notre Dame lead just 27-17, the Irish turned in a dominating third quarter on both sides of the ball to break Western Michigan's spirit. It was precisely the kind of effort lacking earlier this year when other, better opponents were on the ropes. It shouldn't have taken a halftime tongue-lashing to get Notre Dame going, but you can understand a lackadaisical attitude after six straight games against BCS competition.

2. Kyle Rudolph's loss might not be gigantic: Not if Tyler Eifert can play like he did Saturday. Replacing Rudolph in the starting lineup, Eifert had four catches for 72 yards and a 39-yard touchdown. Eifert isn't quite as good as Rudolph; few tight ends are. But he's talented in his own right and can help replace the lost production if he keeps this up.

3. Not much else: Michael Floyd had a huge day (nine catches, 157 yards, three touchdowns). Cierre Wood nearly ran for 100 yards in a nice second half as Armando Allen didn't play much. The Irish won their third straight. But the bottom line is that this was Western Michigan. Notre Dame should have had a big day against an overmatched MAC team. Next week's Navy game will provide more insight.