Equanimeous St. Brown has emerged as a productive target early on for the Fighting Irish
After a slow start, Notre Dame got things cranked up in the second quarter and romped to a 39-10 victory over Nevada. Though it was not a perfect performance and the injury bug continues to infect the Irish football team, it was a step in the right direction following the loss at Texas.
Here are five thoughts on the 1-1 Irish.
Kizer’s Solid Performance
Other than a couple miscalculations in the read-option game and a badly underthrown ball that was intercepted, DeShone Kizer was spot on in his first game after being named the primary quarterback. The junior was 15-of-18 for 156 yards and two scores before coming out of the game with 3:45 left in the third quarter. The Irish ran the ball 46 times, limiting Kizer’s opportunity for really big numbers. But his play was what everyone in blue and gold hoped it would be.
St. Brown Coming On
Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was a bright spot against Texas, catching five passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Against Nevada, St. Brown had another nice game and showed that in the absence of captain Torii Hunter Jr. that he could be the main receiving option. He caught six passes for 85 yards and had two other long gains called back because of penalties. St. Brown looks like he has the potential to be more than just a reliable option. He also has game-breaking abilities.
Notre Dame ran the ball for 239 yards and surrendered no sacks on Saturday and wore down the inexperienced Nevada front. But in some ways it still seems as though the line is not clicking on all cylinders. Based on size and talent, most expected the Irish to open gaping holes right from the start. Also, it would have been nice to see the Irish run over the Wolf Pack in the red zone. Neither was the case. The Irish have rushed for more than 200 yards in both games, so if the line does really start to gel, they could have a very special running attack.
The Shawn Crawford Injury
While the Irish were very thin at safety, they had a bit of wiggle room at corner. After Crawford’s torn Achilles, that wiggle room is gone. The sophomore from Lakewood, Ohio, showed big-play potential in the season opener against Texas with an interception and returned a blocked extra point for the two points that tied the game at the time. Also, the Irish really don’t have another player that can cover the slot receiver as well as Crawford and will be counting on a true freshman – Julian Love – in Crawford's absence.
Still Little Pass Rush
After two weeks, there are only five FBS programs that have not registered a sack. Notre Dame is one of those teams. Notre Dame did have six quarterback hits, up from one in the Texas game. Still, against Nevada’s offensive line and an offense that took some shots downfield, meaning slower developing plays, the Irish should have taken down the quarterback at least once.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.