Frosh make impact in opener
Running back Tarean Folston’s late fourth-quarter appearance for Notre Dame in Saturday’s 28-6 victory over Temple pushed the total number of freshmen in the game for the Irish to 10.
It was the most first-year players to see action in an ND season opener since 2006, when 11 of the 28 in that recruiting class played. In Kelly’s previous three seasons, it’s been nine (2012), six (2011) and six (2010).
The fewest in the past decade? Coach Tyrone Willingham elected to play zero in the 2004 opener, his final season with the Irish.
Outside linebacker Jaylon Smith and wide receiver Corey Robinson drew starts.
The other freshmen to play were wide receivers William Fuller and James Onwualu, safety Max Redfield, cornerbacks Cole Luke and Devin Butler, running backs Greg Bryant and Folston and defensive end Isaac Rochell.
Smith, the first true freshman to start a season opener at linebacker for the Irish since Kory Minor in 1995, had a tackle on his first play from scrimmage. While it ended up being his only tackle of the game, his coverage and re-routing of receivers impressed Temple coach Matt Rhule.
“Jaylon (Smith) for them was the real deal now,” he said. “Some of the things we wanted to do, he took out of the game right away. So he's the real deal.”
lþTo avoid wardrobe malfunctions on special teams, Notre Dame freshman cornerback Cole Luke and safety Eilar Hardy changed uniform numbers — Luke now 36, was 3 and Hardy now 16 was 19.
lþSophomore receiver Chris Brown’s three receptions Saturday were one more than his season total in 2012.
lþIrish junior defensive end Stephon Tuitt recorded his 15th career sack Saturday, moving him into ND’s career top 10. He is 9½ away from tying Justin Tuck’s career record.
Saturday’s Irish victory was its ninth successive win at home, a streak that dates back to a 31-17 loss to USC in 2011. It’s the longest home win streak since Bob Davie strung together 10 starting in 1997 and extending into the 1999 season.
Kelly reached 200 wins at a younger age (he’ll be 52 on Oct. 24) than any coach in major college history save Pop Warner, then 46 years old.
Kelly accomplished the feat in the fifth-fewest games (270) among college coaches with at least five years of service or 50 victories at a school that was classified as a major college, behind only Hall-of-Famers Joe Paterno 246, Tom Osborne 249, Bo Schembechler 262 and Woody Hayes 268.
lþThe Irish are 104-16-5 in season openers.
lþTemple is now 2-76 against ranked teams since 1974.
lþFormer Irish standouts, now NFL rookies, Tyler Eifert (Cincy) and Theo Riddick (Lions) were on the Notre Dame sideline on Saturday.
lþIrish junior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels left the game early in the third quarter with a hamstring injury after hauling in three receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Kelly did not deem the injury serious and framed Daniels’ removal from the game as more precautionary.
“We could have played him, but we felt like with the depth that we have at that position, we put Chris Brown in for the big third-down conversion.”
lþNormally throwaway items from the concession stand don’t make waves during the game on social media, but Notre Dame’s soft drinks cups sure did.
That’s because the team’s nickname was misspelled on them as “Figthing Irish.”