Stats & Info: Everett Golson

QBs the story in college football this fall

May, 20, 2013
The 2013 college football season could showcase one of the best college quarterback classes ever. Here are five reasons why:

Each of the top six teams in last season’s final AP poll returns its leading passer. The last time that happened was entering the 1982 season. That 1982 group led to the famed 1983 NFL draft class that boasted six quarterbacks chosen in the first round -- including Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

Each of the top five and 10 of the top 11 quarterbacks in terms of passing efficiency return to school. In all, seven players with a passing efficiency of at least 160 last season are coming back, more than in the previous three seasons combined.

This class is expected to produce a number of NFL starting quarterbacks. Four of Todd McShay’s top 15 prospects in the 2014 draft are quarterbacks (Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Alabama’s AJ McCarron).

Yet, showing how deep this class is, Brock Huard ranks Georgia's Aaron Murray, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Ohio State's Braxton Miller ahead of either McCarron or Manziel on his quarterback draft board.

The SEC is in prime shape to win its eighth straight national title with 11 of 14 starting quarterbacks from last season returning to school. Among the 11 are the starters of the top three teams in each division including Manziel, Murray and McCarron.

Last season, Manziel set the SEC record for total offense with 5,116 yards. Murray is on pace to set conference records for most career passing yards and total offense, and McCarron is the two-time BCS national champion.

The SEC isn’t the only conference returning elite quarterbacks. The Big Ten, Mountain West and MAC each return their first- and second-team quarterbacks from last season. So would Conference USA and the WAC if realignment hadn’t altered those conferences. The Big 12 is the only conference that doesn’t return either its first- or second-team quarterback.

Among the returnees, Boyd could challenge the ACC record for total offense in a career, Troy’s Corey Robinson is on pace to shatter the Sun Belt’s career record for total offense, and Jordan Lynch returns after leading Northern Illinois to its first ever BCS bowl game last season.

Golson, recruits key to Notre Dame's hopes

April, 19, 2013
With the college basketball season in the books, College Football Live embarked on its Spring Bus Tour, visiting eight schools. Today is the final stop, checking out the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame had a nearly perfect season that will likely be remembered best for one really imperfect night.

The Irish were unbeaten up until the BCS Championship Game, a run during which they had narrow victories over Stanford, Pittsburgh and USC.

This is the final year of Notre Dame’s full independence, as the Irish will start playing five games per year against the ACC starting in 2014. Many rivalries will end or become less frequent, including this year’s final trip to Ann Arbor before the Michigan series ends in 2014.

The Irish will lose some key players, most notably tight end Tyler Eifert and linebacker Manti Te'o.

A third straight top-10 recruiting class (No. 4 according to ESPN) includes four players in the top two at their position, most importantly No. 2 running back Greg Bryant.

Notre Dame will look to maintain a defense that was (until the BCS title game) on pace to have the lowest opponents' touchdown percentage on red zone possessions of any FBS defense in the last eight seasons.

The Irish allowed only eight red-zone touchdowns in the regular season, but yielded five to Alabama.

One of the things to watch will be the continued development of quarterback Everett Golson.

Golson completed 61 percent of his passes of 10 yards or longer in his final four games of the season. He had at least seven completions on passes of this distance in each of those games. In his first eight games, Golson had only two such games.

USC close, but Notre Dame defense closes

November, 25, 2012
Jeff Gross/Getty Images Manti Te'o joined Bob Crable as the only players in school history with three 100-tackle seasons.
USC can take credit for staying within reach of Notre Dame for 60 minutes of football, but in the end, close was just not enough.

The 22-13 win was the narrowest margin of victory for Notre Dame in a road game this season. But an early touchdown and drives good enough to produce five field goals were well supported by a defense that showed at game's end why it ranks among the best in the country in just about every notable stat.

Let’s take a snapshot look at some of the key notes, stats and nuggets for this win.

The History
Notre Dame should be the first school outside of a BCS AQ conference to play in a title game in the BCS era. It also will be the first school to be unranked in the preseason AP poll to play in the BCS title game.

The Irish recorded consecutive road wins against USC for the first time since 1990 and 1992.

The 12 wins by the Irish match their most in a season. They also won 12 in 1988 (when they last started 12-0) and 1989 (when they finished 12-1).

USC lost for the fifth time this season, the most defeats for a preseason AP No. 1 since Ole Miss went 5-5-1 in 1964.

Key drive of the game
USC was on the verge of turning this into a one-score game late in the fourth quarter, but got stymied four times on fourth-and-goal from the 1, including three straight failed runs.

This was part of what has made Notre Dame’s defense so dominant this season. The Irish allowed a total of three yards on eight “and-goal” plays and that was actually a bad game for them.

Notre Dame has held opponents to -28 yards rushing and -5 total yards in goal-to-go situations, both best in FBS.

Golson’s improvements
Freshman quarterback Everett Golson was again sharp on his lengthier throws. He finished 10-for-16 for 179 yards on throws that traveled at least 10 yards on Saturday night. This was the third straight game in which Golson completed at least 60 percent of his passes. In his first eight games, Golson completed only 44 percent of his throws of at least 10 yards.

Riddick rolls again
Notre Dame's Theo Riddick ran for 146 yards, his fourth game with at least 100 rushing yards this season. That’s the most 100-yard games for a Notre Dame player since Darius Walker had six in 2006.

Reddick rushed 15 times between the tackles for 121 yards, piling up 53 yards after contact. By comparison, USC had 18 rushes inside the tackles, but gained only 19 total yards, its second-fewest yards after contact in a game this season (it had 18 vs Stanford).

Putting his best foot forward
Kyle Brindza made five field goals, the longest of which was a 52-yarder that extended the lead to 16-10 at the half. This was only the fourth field goal try of at least 52 yards by the Irish since 2004 and the second one that was made.

The other was a 52-yarder by David Ruffer against Maryland last season.

Marqise Lee limited
Marqise Lee had a 53-yard reception in the fourth quarter, but little else. Lee, who averaged 144 receiving yards in his first 11 games of the season, finished with 75 against the Irish. His 16 yards after the catch were his fewest in any game this season.

Notre Dame looking for better QB play

April, 20, 2012

Brian Spurlock/US PresswireNotre Dame will play the 83rd Annual Blue-Gold game Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
Optimism was high in South Bend as Notre Dame entered the 2011 season. The Fighting Irish closed the 2010 campaign riding a four-game win streak including a 33-17 victory over Miami, FL in the Sun Bowl to finish 8-5.

They were entering their second season under Brian Kelly, and in his previous bowl subdivision stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, Year 2 proved to be very fruitful (he won the Big East title at Cincinnati in his second year).

However, there was one huge question surrounding the Irish entering the fall: who would be the starting quarterback, veteran Dayne Crist or sophomore Tommy Rees? Crist won the job, but was replaced at halftime of the season opener by Rees, who remained the starter for the rest of the 2011 season.

Crist transferred to Kansas at season’s end where he reunites with Charlie Weis, the man who recruited him to Notre Dame in 2008.

While Rees threw 20 touchdown passes, he also consistently incurred the wrath of Kelly by throwing 14 interceptions. The Irish finished 8-5 for the second straight year after losing to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl as Rees was intercepted twice and sophomore Andrew Hendrix once.

John Gress/Getty ImagesBrian Kelly will have to choose between four QB’s vying to be the starter this season.

This spring, the Irish have another quarterback derby on their hands involving juniors Rees and Hendrix, redshirt freshman Everett Golson and true freshman Gunner Kiel – ESPN’s No. 3-rated QB in the 2012 class.

Whoever wins the job will not only be counted on to produce but also to help solve Notre Dame’s biggest problem in 2011 - turnovers.

The Irish committed 29 turnovers in 2011, only outdone by nine teams in the bowl subdivision. Things were even worse in the red zone where Notre Dame turned the ball over seven times, second only to SMU in the FBS.

The quarterbacks who played (Rees, Crist and Hendrix) were responsible for 23 of the 29 turnovers (17 interceptions and six fumbles lost). Rees alone had 19 turnovers (14 interceptions, five fumbles lost).

Over the last five seasons, only six "BCS schools" had a worse red-zone turnover percentage than Notre Dame’s 5.5 percent. Only one team in the last five seasons had a worse red-zone turnover percentage and finished with a better record: 2009 Nebraska, which featured Ndamukong Suh and one of the best defenses in recent college football history.

If the Irish quarterbacks don’t take better care of the football and play more efficiently, it could be another disappointing season in South Bend.