Notre Dame throttles Rice in football opener

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND – Even when the Irish were bad they were good.

Notre Dame’s football team jumped out to an early double-digit lead, then coasted to a 48-17 season-opening victory over Rice on Saturday.

The victory was epitomized by a play late in the third quarter. Notre Dame had the ball – third down on the Rice 4-yard line. Irish quarterback Everett Golson took the snap and turned to his left. Running back Greg Bryant went to Golson’s right. Improvising on the broken play, Golson found a seam and scored his third rushing touchdown of the game.

Golson was dynamic, as advertised. Besides running for three scores, he threw for 295 yards (14-of-22) and two touchdowns (though it could have easily been three).

Even backup QB Malik Zaire busted a 56-yard run late in the game that set up another score.

The Notre Dame running game was productive, surpassing the 250-yard mark.

Big plays by the Notre Dame offense put the game out of reach by halftime.

Not only did Golson run twice for touchdowns – 11 and 14 yards – but he connected for scoring passes with Will Fuller (75 yards) and C.J. Procise (53). Procise also dropped a pass that would have been a 55-yard touchdown.

Matthias Farley set up Procise’s TD with an interception near midfield with 21 seconds left.

Notre Dame’s defense played a lot of guys and did well against a Rice team that lacked impact players.

Notre Dame’s William Fuller breaks away from Rice’s Julius White on a 75-yard touchdown reception during the Notre Dame vs. Rice football game on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN