Irish have no trouble with Temple

Published 1:17 pm Monday, September 2, 2013

George Atkinson III looks for running room against Temple Saturday. Notre Dame defeated Temple 28-6 in its season opener. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

George Atkinson III looks for running room against Temple Saturday. Notre Dame defeated Temple 28-6 in its season opener. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

NOTRE DAME — The No. 11-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish started the 2013 season firing on all cylinders and easily defeated the Temple Owls 28-6 on Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.

The win was the 200th of coach Brian Kelly’s career.

It took only 1:26 for the Irish offense to find the end zone for the first time on the season as senior quarterback Tommy Rees connected with junior DaVaris Daniels for a 32-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 lead. Daniels’ touchdown was his first career touchdown, but it wouldn’t be his last.

Notre Dame’s defense, ranked No. 1 in many defensive categories last season, took the field for the first time this year with a 7-0 lead and looked to be in mid-season form forcing the Owls to a three and out on their first drive.

Rees took charge of the offense and again led a three-play Irish drive connecting once again with Daniels from 32 yards out giving Notre Dame a 14-0 lead.

Trailing 14-0 Temple responded with a nine play, 78-yard drive to cut the score to 14-6 as the Owls extra point was blocked.

The Irish took the ensuing kickoff and returned it to their own 34-yard line and 54 seconds remaining in the half. That was more than enough time for the Irish as Rees threw his third score, connecting with junior tight end Troy Niklas for a 66-yard touchdown and a 21-6 lead heading into the intermission.

George Atkinson topped off the Irish scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

While the Irish defense gave up 362 total yards of offense, they managed to step up and make plays when they needed to, holding the Owls to just six points on the day. The Irish offense, which many questioned without Everett Golson, racked up 543 total yards and looked like a quick strike, high-powered offense at times.

Rees, playing in place of suspended Irish quarterback Golson, ended with a career high 346 yards passing while connecting on three touchdowns. “

Senior wideout T.J Jones also had a career day as he hauled in six catches for 138 yards.

“I thought he was dynamic,” Kelly said. “Dynamic is a word that I would use as a receiver when we’re talking about after the catch. So he caught the football, and then he was dynamic after the catch, and that’s what we were looking for from him.”

Kelly, in his fourth season leading the Irish, collected his 200th career win (Grand Valley, Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame) and his 29th at Notre Dame.

“I haven’t really taken the time to think about it, other than a lot of the coaches that are with me today have been part of a lot of those wins,” Kelly said.

Notre Dame vice president and athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced after the game that the Irish have extended Kelly’s contract by another five years, making the memorable day that much more special for the coach.

The Irish will travel next weekend to take on Michigan, a 59-9 winner over Central Michigan.