NCF Nation: Kapron Lewis-Moore

Notre Dame season preview

August, 15, 2013
Today we're looking at Notre Dame, which looks to build off its best season in more than two decades.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Coach: Brian Kelly (199-68-2 overall, 28-11 at Notre Dame)

2012 record: 12-1

Key losses: RB Theo Riddick, RB Cierre Wood, TE Tyler Eifert, C Braxston Cave, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, LB Manti Te'o, S Zeke Motta

[+] EnlargeBrian Kelly
AP Photo/John BazemoreBrian Kelly's Irish should once again be in the hunt for a BCS bowl game.
Key returnees: QB Tommy Rees, WR TJ Jones, WR DaVaris Daniels, LT Zack Martin, LG Chris Watt, DE Stephon Tuitt, NG Louis Nix III, LB Dan Fox, LB Prince Shembo, CB Bennett Jackson

Newcomer to watch: RB Greg Bryant. The Delray Beach, Fla., native was ESPN's No. 2 running back prospect for the Class of 2013 and walks into a crowded but opportune situation. Bryant, an Oklahoma de-commit, is one of six backs vying for extensive playing time after the Irish said goodbye to their top-two rushers from a year ago. Coach Brian Kelly has already gone on record as saying that his young running backs are guys who will help the Irish win some games this fall, and Bryant may turn out to be the best of the bunch.

Biggest games in 2013: Sept. 7 at Michigan, Sept. 21 vs. Michigan State, Sept. 28 vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 5 vs. Arizona State (in Arlington, Texas), Oct. 19 vs. USC, Nov. 30 at Stanford

Biggest question mark heading into 2013: The most pressing question may be how Notre Dame adjusts on the fly after learning after the spring that it would be without quarterback Everett Golson for at least the fall (academic misconduct). Luckily for the Irish, senior Tommy Rees and his 18 starts are back, though he will need some new playmakers to emerge around him after the Irish lost their top two running backs and first-round pick Tyler Eifert at tight end. Six men are vying for carries in the backfield, while TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels anchor the receiving corps.

Forecast: Kelly made it clear that 2012 was in the past by taking his team to Camp Shiloh in Marion, Ind., for the first week of fall camp. No social media or television and, more specifically, no more talk about the Alabama game, Manti Te'o or the other headlines that followed the program during a wild offseason. In helping to get that message across, Kelly has the perfect quarterback in Rees, who has overcome negative headlines of his own and, last year, overcame losing his starting job. He went on to save the Irish in three of their first six games last season and proved to be as valuable as anyone on the roster. Never will that be more evident than this season, as he steps up again in Golson's absence. A stronger Rees took control of the offense during the offseason, and better decision-making should pay dividends for the Irish this fall.

They finished second nationally in scoring defense last season and return eight starters from that unit, including potential 2014 first-round draft picks Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. They are also much deeper, with a plethora of linebackers and defensive backs ready to spare the starters at a moment's notice, a far cry from last season, when the team broke in three new starters in the secondary -- with all three having been on the offensive side of the ball earlier in their careers.

Kelly returns all of his assistants after a renaissance 2012 campaign that saw the team notch a perfect regular season before meeting Alabama in the BCS National Championship. He brought in ESPN's No. 4 recruiting class for 2013. And he brings back more than enough talent to prove that last season was not a one-year wonder, and that the Irish are, in fact, here to stay. Another BCS bowl game -- despite the late loss of its starting quarterback -- should be well within reach for Notre Dame in 2013.
The NFL does not wait for everyone, and so what was an otherwise 10 a.m. ET call out of Baltimore turned into an early-morning wake-up for the latest former Notre Dame player to take his talents to the next level.

Toma will join fellow Irish player Kapron Lewis-Moore with the Ravens. The often-overlooked 5-foot-9, 185-pound receiver is now the 13th former Irish player who will get a shot at the NFL in one form or another.

The official Notre Dame football page has a nice graphic of most of the players here.

To recap:
1. Bob Stoops has won 149 games in 14 seasons at Oklahoma. He is nine wins shy of surpassing Barry Switzer as the all-time leader in Sooners coaching victories. And for the first time in his tenure, the Sooners failed to reach a BCS bowl in consecutive seasons. It’s not time to panic -- Oklahoma went 10-3 last season -- but the Sooners didn’t measure up to his standard, especially on defense. Stoops discusses his career, college football and his 2013 team with me on the ESPNU College Football Podcast posting Thursday.

2. Notre Dame returned to national prominence when it got bigger and faster. It was no coincidence, as I pointed out last season, that the Irish defensive linemen came from Texas (Kapron Lewis-Moore), Georgia (Stephon Tuitt) and Florida (Louis Nix). Here’s the other side of the geographic coin: Top punt returner Davonte' Neal (Arizona) and receiver Justin Ferguson (Florida) have left the program. A year ago, defensive lineman Aaron Lynch (Florida) left. Perhaps the margin of error on national recruits is thinner.

3. For as long as I can remember, athletic administrators have sprained their wrists wringing their hands over the rising cost of college football. And yet with the announcement that FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are moving to the Sun Belt Conference, the number of FBS schools will increase 127, up from 119 five years ago. That means schools are choosing to spend more money. Perhaps because they are chasing more money, too, not to mention the glue that college football can provide a campus.

Bowl superlatives: Notre Dame

January, 10, 2013
One last look back at the disappointing end to Notre Dame's magical 2012 season:

The good: Notre Dame made it this far, winning all 12 regular-season games before a 42-14 rout by Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship ended its season. The pain is fresh, but the big picture shows a program ahead of schedule, pending the status of coach Brian Kelly.

The bad: No one wants to go out the way the Irish did, regardless of stage. The defense looked helpless all night against the Tide's offense, and the outcome was all but decided before the first quarter had ended. The S-E-C chants were coming down in the second quarter.

The ugly: Fifth-year senior and captain Kapron Lewis-Moore left the game in the second quarter with what the Chicago Tribune reported was a torn anterior cruciate ligament. As far as bad injuries go, this takes the cake: Lewis-Moore battled back from a knee injury that ended his 2011 season early, lost his starting job to Aaron Lynch, then emerged as a captain and a standout for the nation's No. 1 scoring defense in the regular season. He committed to the Irish after a historically bad 3-9 season in 2007 and exited it on crutches. He was just climbing up draft radars, too.

Wrapping up: Notre Dame finished No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25, the Irish's best finish in the polls since a No. 2 showing in 1993.

Next up: The Irish will kick off the 2013 season Aug. 31 at home against Temple, when they will return as many as seven starters on offense, eight on defense and will have in-store what is currently the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.

Demoralizing first half for Irish

January, 7, 2013
MIAMI -- Notre Dame is down 28-0 to Alabama at halftime. The "S-E-C!" chants are out. And -- something that I find worse than anything else -- fifth-year senior captain Kapron Lewis-Moore had to be helped off the field after suffering what looked like a very painful right-knee injury.

It is ugly, and there is no sign of letting up.

Yes, possibly the worst call in national title-game history happened on the game's first punt, when Notre Dame recovered a Christion Jones fumble and the officials threw an illegal contact flag even though it was another Tide player who bumped into Jones. But there is no mistaking that Alabama is taking it right to Notre Dame, from T.J. Yeldon turning a Manti Te'o missed backfield tackle into a 10-yard gain, to Eddie Lacy tossing Danny Spond aside and getting a five-yard rush.

Notre Dame's defense was supposed to give it a chance. It surrendered just more than 10 points per game this season, the best in the nation. Instead it surrendered touchdowns on the game's first three drives, and the offense has not done much to keep it off the field.

Alabama is outgaining Notre Dame 309-124. The Tide have 153 rushing yards to the Irish's 31. They have dominated time of possession, holding it for 19 minutes, 46 seconds of the first half. They have held Notre Dame to 0-for-5 on third downs. The Irish have three penalties, too.

Notre Dame's improbable run to this night began with an unranked squad facing issues on both sides of the ball with a daunting slate ahead.

It will take something far more improbable during these next 30 minutes if the Irish wish to give themselves a chance in this Discover BCS National Championship.

Kapron Lewis-Moore relishes journey

January, 3, 2013
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In his darkest moments, when he saw his teammates stumble their way to the finish line of another pedestrian season, when he heard his name less and less as a freshman sensation broke out and delivered the promise of more, Kapron Lewis-Moore was not thinking of any scenario like the one that played out Thursday.

"Never. Never in a million years," the Notre Dame defensive end said.

The medial collateral ligament in Lewis-Moore's right knee was torn, and Aaron Lynch was rocking quarterback after quarterback in his first year with the Irish. Three years of first-team reps and the 29 starts that came with it seemed to matter little, especially with Lynch racking up 5.5 sacks despite plenty of untapped potential.

[+] EnlargeKapron Lewis-Moore
Matt Cashore/USA TODAY SportsNotre Dame's Kapron Lewis-Moore has shown a knack for getting to the quarterback this season.
Lewis-Moore may as well have been damaged goods; Lynch was the future.

An unwavering work ethic and a seemingly devastating transfer by Lynch to South Florida changed all that. And now 12 games and more than a year later, Lewis-Moore found himself fielding questions four days before the Discover BCS National Championship, dozens upon dozens of reporters seeking answers from a captain of the nation's No. 1 team that has been bolstered by its No. 1 scoring defense.

"I think about it because that kind of keeps my edge about myself," Lewis-Moore said of his ups and downs. "You've got to appreciate this game, because you can be one injury away from never playing again. I missed six games, and it was the longest half-a-year ever — I want to be out there and play.

"So this year, something that my knee injury really taught me is just how to appreciate the moment. Play-by-play, day-by-day, that's kind of like a motto I keep to myself and keeps my head going."

His 8.5 tackles for loss and six sacks are both good for third-best on the Irish. He has added nine quarterback hurries and forced two fumbles.

"He just shows the belief and commitment that we all know what we're capable of, and watching that is motivating," linebacker Danny Spond said. "Having him go from last year kind of being injured and down a little bit to now, out here and starting as a captain for us, is something that's just remarkable and something we all work for, just to be that tough, if anything."

Alabama and an offensive line with legendarily positive buzz await on Monday, and how much Lewis-Moore & Co. can get to quarterback AJ McCarron is as big of a question mark as any.

Lewis-Moore is more than just happy to be here, and remembering where he was after going down in Week 7 of last season against USC has helped him spring forward to this point and perhaps beyond.

"I went through the knee injury — that sucked," he said. "So I kind of just rehabbed, prayed a lot, had a bunch of cards and people saying, 'Oh gosh.' Stuff like that. But going back out there playing in the spring game, I knew that I had to fight for my spot back, and that's something I'm always going to do. I'm a competitor.

"Even if Aaron was still here, I was still going to compete to my best ability. And obviously it's unfortunate he left, but now being a captain of a Notre Dame team that four years ago, if you would have asked me that, I don't think I could've said this."
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- There is no paper trail to remind him of what could have been, the history that came so close to happening had the linebacker become the only exclusively defensive player to receive college football's highest individual honor.

There are no words stored away in a desk drawer somewhere, awaiting their proclamation for the next time he is on the doorstep of greatness.

No, Manti Te'o has not thought of almost winning the Heisman Trophy. He has not spoken much to his Notre Dame teammates about the trip since returning from his six-city, seven-day, 9,936-mile tour of the awards circuit one month ago. He has happily moved on to returning to the Irish and to preparing for Monday's showdown with Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship.

[+] EnlargeManti Te'o
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiFinished with the postseason awards circuit, Manti Te'o can now focus on winning a national title.
And he never had a speech planned had things played out differently, anyway.

"They actually gave him time over at the Heisman for the speech," his father, Brian Te'o, said. "And Manti spent that time sleeping."

Most days began at 4 a.m. local time -- which varied from Eastern to Central to Pacific -- and the obligations rarely ended before 10 p.m. on most nights.

And, really, it is not as if he had an entirely new message to deliver during a circuit that saw him take home a record seven national honors.

Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco says that Te'o has practiced harder than he has at any point this season, and Te'o says that has nothing to do with whatever metaphorical chip he could have developed since his weeklong tour in December.

"No. It's for the simple fact that I know that a lot of the success that you experience on game day was already done throughout the week, and if I don't prepare myself the best I can throughout the week, I won't be ready for Saturday," Te'o said. "Coach always talked about you can't just turn it on and off. I can't just slack the whole weekend and when game day comes, say, 'OK, I'm ready, I'm going to go all out now.'

"It's like how we talked, it's a day-to-day process, and I know that, and everybody on our team understands that. If we want to be successful on Monday, we have to be better on Wednesday and better on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then Monday hopefully will take care of itself."

His teammates have mostly let him be ever since, with the occasional ragging here and there.

"We kind of give him a hard time: 'Hey, where you going next? Hey, how was flying here and there?'" fellow defensive captain Kapron Lewis-Moore said.

Still, there is the matter of that speech. His story -- from a Mormon in Hawaii to a Catholic school in Indiana, from passing up the NFL to overcoming the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend to lead Notre Dame's resurgence -- is already wildly popular.

That's why his parents took no issue with their son using that speech-making time to catch up on some rest. They had a good idea of what he would say if he won, and in four days there will be an even bigger stage to re-tell his story should he and the Irish win a national title.

"I think we're quite comfortable with what he could've said," Brian Te'o said. "He's been pretty consistent about who he acknowledges and who he thanks, so I think we're pretty comfortable with whatever he would've come up with.

"I know he would've paid a very large tribute to his teammates, which was a constant theme throughout all of his acceptance speeches. His teammates, his coaches and of course his family. I think he knew what to say if he had the opportunity to give that speech."

Talkin' Tide, Irish with TideNation

December, 6, 2012
Notre Dame and Alabama are squaring off Jan. 7 in the Discover BCS National Championship, in case you haven't heard. With the matchup more than a month away, TideNation's Alex Scarborough and Notre Dame blogger Matt Fortuna go back and forth on a number of topics between the Tide and Irish.

AS: The other day Nick Saban called Notre Dame's front seven possibly the best in college football. How do you think it stacks up and what is it about the Irish defense that makes it special?

MF: One of the most overlooked pieces of Notre Dame's defense has been nose guard Louis Nix. He is a junior who came in overweight two years ago, dropped roughly 40 pounds, and then was told last year that he might not see 20 snaps a game. Injuries turned him into nearly a full-time starter last year, and he has taken his game to another level this year. His numbers -- five tackles for loss, two sacks and one forced fumble -- simply do not do him justice. He regularly takes on two blockers at a time, freeing up athletic end Stephon Tuitt (12 sacks) and allowing the Irish linebackers to make more plays. The biggest question for me -- especially after the SEC title game -- is how much pressure can these guys get on AJ McCarron? Is this offensive line invincible?

AS: The offensive line is about as invincible as it gets in one respect -- the running game. When Alabama commits to handing the ball off the Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, there's not much a defense can do. The job Chance Warmack, Barrett Jones and Co. do pushing the line of scrimmage is remarkable. But in another respect, the line is somewhat vulnerable. Georgia showed it's not very difficult to get pressure on the backfield. It's why Alabama committed to the running game like it did in Atlanta. There wasn't much of a choice with Jarvis Jones harassing McCarron.

If there's a spot to attack Alabama's defense, it's the passing game. Georgia hit the Tide up for big play after big play on Saturday. Does Notre Dame have enough with Everett Golson to stretch the field and keep the defense honest?

MF: I think the Irish do, although if they fall behind early it will be difficult. Golson's growth over the course of the season has been crucial to Notre Dame's 12-0 season, and you've seen the offense open up more almost every week. Golson netted negative-11 rushing yards over his first four games; he has netted 316 in his past seven games (he missed the BYU game because of a concussion). Tyler Eifert is arguably the best tight end in the country and has developed a better rapport with Golson as the season has progressed, and the Irish should be welcoming back deep threat DaVaris Daniels (broken left clavicle) for the title game as well.

AS: Much has been made of the way Brian Kelly has turned around the program in South Bend and how he's recreated it with an SEC flavor in mind. How do you evaluate the job he's done in such a short time and do you see an SEC-type formula in what he's built? Is it a team that you feel could contend in the conference that's come away with six straight national championships?

MF: The general feeling upon Kelly's hiring was that if he couldn't win at Notre Dame, who could? He's done it at every step of his career, from Div. II to the MAC to the Big East, and now at Notre Dame. The difference is he is now doing it with defense, something he said from Day 1 would be required to contend, especially given the variety of offenses the Irish face with their independent schedule. You see that now with their front-seven, and especially on the line, where all three of their starters (Kapron Lewis-Moore - Texas, Nix - Florida, Tuitt - Georgia) hail from SEC country. Even athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he felt that Year 4 would be the time that Notre Dame would contend for a national title, so it's safe to say that Kelly is ahead of schedule. This team is built like an SEC squad, and it could certainly contend in the nation's best conference this season. The question is if the Irish can sustain this kind of success.

From the outside looking in, it would appear that this Alabama team is less talented than the last two to win championships, and maybe even less talented than the 2010 squad that didn't win it. Is that a fair statement, and what's it say about Nick Saban that he has the Tide back on the sport's biggest stage yet again, despite taking everyone's best shot?

AS: It's tough to say the Tide are less talented today than they were a year or even two years ago. To me, it's a matter of performance as I can look out and see a number of future NFL prospects on both sides of the ball. I believe what we're seeing this season is a result of a lack of experience and seasoning, not ability. You have first- or second-year players starting at 10 or more positions at any given time. I think that a year from now we'll be saying something much different about the talent in Tuscaloosa. That said, you have to commend the job Saban and his coordinators have done to this point masking inexperience. Remember, Alabama lost 11 starters from a year ago. Saban replaced star cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick with Dee Milliner, who some scouts believe might be the top defensive back available in this year's draft. Saban replaced the Trent Richardson/Eddie Lacy tailback combo with Lacy and freshman T.J. Yeldon, who has rushed for 1,000 yards this season. It's remarkable how the Tide haven't missed a beat, and that all traces back to the staff's ability to recruit and develop players. Alabama has finished with a top-3 recruiting class every year since 2008.

Notre Dame helmet stickers

November, 25, 2012
Notre Dame is title-game bound. Here's who helped the Irish get over one last regular-season hump Saturday night in its 22-13 win at USC.

Everett Golson, QB: Former Notre Dame scribe Douglas Farmer made a pretty good point on Twitter after the game: Three more years of Golson/Max Wittek matchups could be a win for everyone. Tough to replicate what Golson did on Saturday's stage, completing 15 of 26 passes for 217 yards, rushing for 47 yards and avoiding any big mistakes. He played in character, setting the tone for the rest of the team in the win.

Theo Riddick, RB: The recipient of the game ball was tough to bring down all night, carrying it 20 times for 146 yards and a touchdown, while adding three catches for 33 yards.

Manti Te'o, LB: One more interception for Te'o, his seventh of the season, this one, at the very least, punching his ticket to New York.

Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE: Another defensive captain, this one saving his best for last. The fifth-year senior had five tackles, two tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and was instrumental in another big goal-line stand late for the Irish.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- No, there is not a cardboard cutout of Max Wittek standing in the Notre Dame locker room. The USC quarterback's comments from a Tuesday radio appearance are not posted around the school's football complex.

The news to Irish players Wednesday? Of course a starting quarterback thinks his team's going to win, so why is it a big deal?

"He's a big guy, he has a strong arm -- obviously he guaranteed a win or whatever, but at the same time what do you expect?" Notre Dame's fifth-year end Kapron Lewis-Moore said. "You don't expect him to say we're going to lose. I think people are really making a bigger deal than what it is. He's a confident quarterback, and you want to play for a confident quarterback. So by him coming out saying, 'We're going to win,' that's what you want out of your quarterback.

"Obviously we're not over-thinking it, it's not hanging up in the locker room, it's not bulletin-board material. You know about it, just kind of shrug it off, then go to work."

Wittek is making his first career start after Matt Barkley went down Saturday with a shoulder injury. The redshirt freshman has completed 8 of 9 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown as a reserve this season.

On Tuesday, he went on 710 ESPN Radio in Los Angeles and expressed confidence in his chances against the No. 1 Irish.

"If he wants to air it out, let's air it out," Wittek said of Trojans coach Lane Kiffin. "If he wants to pound it on the ground, let's do that. I'm gonna go out there, I'm gonna play within myself, within the system, and we're gonna win this ballgame."

The comments drew a strong response, just not among Notre Dame players.

"They probably just mis-said a few words, who knows?" Irish nose guard Louis Nix said of the comments. "I don't try to take comments, what people say, because sometimes people speak out of terms and people try to boost it up. If he said it, he said it. If he didn't mean to, he didn't meant to. I don't really care. I'm just going out to the Coliseum trying to play some good football."

Last year USC linebacker Chris Galippo said that Notre Dame quit when it didn't use any of its three timeouts late in a 31-17 Trojans win at Notre Dame Stadium. Barkley echoed those comments later on a radio show.

"I think that from their position, you'd hope that a quarterback coming in and being a rookie and all, you'd have confidence going into a game like this," Irish safety Zeke Motta said. "But with that inexperience, it could go either way. But I think that you think about an inexperienced quarterback out there, try to use that to your advantage out on the field. But at the same time he has nothing to lose, so he can chunk it up or whatever."

Who will transform tomorrow?

November, 16, 2012
My pick for who will transform tomorrow is Kapron Lewis-Moore.

He has been through this routine before, taking part in senior day festivities last season before being invited back for a fifth season. So he will probably be among the least-affected of the group in the early stages, when Notre Dame has had more than enough trouble getting off to hot home starts.

Lewis-Moore was the forgotten man for much of the offseason, thanks to a season-ending knee injury and the emergence of Aaron Lynch in his place, which would have created the odd circumstance of having a returning three-year starter without a starting spot.

Well, Lynch transferred. And the Notre Dame defensive line has not missed a beat.

Stephon Tuitt has the big numbers (11 sacks) and Louis Nix has the big name (Irish Chocolate), but Lewis-Moore has been the steadiest of the bunch, serving as one of two defensive captains and always keeping things light off the field.

"He has great energy, a positive energy," Manti Te'o said. "Kap is always positive and working hard. Old man Kap. He's beaten down sometimes, but he always seems it smile and try to uplift our team. Our team is better because Kap is the captain. I'm grateful that I have him by my side as the defensive captain. It makes my job easier, and hopefully I make his job a lot easier too.

"But to have Kap on the Dline and really be that anchor and such a powerful force definitely has made our defense better and has made my job a lot easier."

Lewis-Moore has 5.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries on the season, and he will have a great chance to build off that against a Wake Forest offensive line that has struggled throughout this rebuilding season.

Expect Tanner Price to look the way many visiting quarterbacks have this season at Notre Dame Stadium, with Lewis-Moore disrupting the trip for the Demon Deacons signal caller as much as anyone.

Video: Notre Dame's Kapron Lewis-Moore

October, 28, 2012

Ivan Maisel talks with Notre Dame defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore following the Irish’s win over Oklahoma.

Video: Notre Dame DE Kapron Lewis-Moore

October, 5, 2012

The fifth-year captain talks about the Irish's fast start and renewing their rivalry with Miami.

KLM good to go; Daniels, Day 'probable'

September, 18, 2012
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A calf strain that forced Kapron Lewis-Moore out of Notre Dame's home opener two weeks ago and limited him this past Saturday at Michigan State will not be enough to keep the fifth-year senior out of action this weekend against Michigan.

"He's fighting through it," coach Brian Kelly said. "He's at that line of being hurt and being injured. And he's a tough kid. He fought through it on Saturday and had a big pressure on the quarterback late in the game. We'll be careful with him but he'll answer the bell on Saturday and he'll be in there starting for us. You know, that calf is one of those things that just is a bit of a nagging injury.

"We told him: You've got four or five days to get through it and then you've got a bye week. So he'll grind through it and be ready to go on Saturday."

Kelly said that DaVaris Daniels (ankle sprain) and Sheldon Day (bone bruise) are both, in NFL terms, "probable" for Saturday. Daniels suffered a setback Friday and was limited against Michigan State after injuring his ankle a week earlier against Purdue. Day appeared to hurt his foot Saturday after jumping up and down following a near-interception, but Kelly had said that the injury occurred one series earlier.

Kelly acknowledged Tuesday that sophomore end Chase Hounshell, who did not travel Saturday and has yet to play, has been plagued by a shoulder issue but should be ready to go this week. Kelly had said a week earlier that Hounshell was simply behind other defensive linemen on the depth chart.

"We think he's going to be ready to go this week," the third-year Irish coach said Tuesday. "We want to kind of protect him a little bit. But he'll be getting reps this week and we'll see where that goes."

Sixth year in doubt for Slaughter

Jamoris Slaughter ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the second half of the third game of his fifth season, so his chances at gaining a sixth year of eligiblity would appear to be slim to none.

"It doesn't appear so," Kelly said of the safety's sixth-year possibility. "He did have another injury that caused him to miss some time. We're still kind of vetting through all that right now. But the early indication is we couldn't tell you one way or the other. We'll do some more work before we're ready to publically comment on it."

Matthias Farley will start in place of Slaughter, but Kelly said that Nicky Baratti, C.J. Prosise and Chris Salvi will get in the rotation as well.

Notre Dame weekend rewind

September, 17, 2012
Here's one last look back at the weekend that was as Notre Dame improved to 3-0 with a convincing 20-3 win at Michigan State.

[+] EnlargeBrian Kelly
Mike Carter/US PresswireCoach Brian Kelly has the Irish sitting at 3-0 this season and ranked No. 11 in the latest AP poll.
The good: Manti Te'o had a game-high 12 tackles. Stephon Tuitt notched his fifth sack of the season. The Irish defense kept Le'Veon Bell in check to the tune of 77 yards, and allowed MSU to cross midfield just once in the second half. (The Spartans also made zero red zone trips throughout the night.) You can't ask for much more from this unit, which propelled the Irish to their first 3-0 start in 10 years.

The bad: Everett Golson's first two (unofficial) plays in his first true road contest: False start, timeout. But what looked like it would be a long night was quickly turned around.

The ugly: Jamoris Slaughter ruptured his Achilles tendon on the first play of the second half and will miss the rest of the season. Matthias Farley is expected to step into his spot. The Irish have now suffered three season-ending injuries in the secondary -- Austin Collinsworth, Lo Wood and Slaughter -- and three of their four starters are converted offensive players: KeiVarae Russell (running back), Bennett Jackson (wide receiver) and Farley (receiver).

Still healing: Brian Kelly said Sunday that Kapron Lewis-Moore and DaVaris Daniels were not fully healthy following injuries suffered one week earlier. Both played sparingly. Sheldon Day suffered a bone bruise as well, though Kelly said it happened before he was jumping up and down after a botched attempt at an interception. He should be fine.

Next up: Notre Dame's second home night game in as many years features Michigan, which has delivered the Irish three crushing last-minute defeats in the last three years. The man responsible for two of them, Denard Robinson, is back for his senior year, and the Irish would like nothing more than to go through him en route to a 4-0 September.