Irish Drub Navy in Dublin, Win Emerald Isle Classic 50-10
Everett Golson led Notre Dame with 144 yards passing and one touchdown as the Irish scored 40 points in the first three quarters – Presented by Home Depot. September 1, 2012
George Atkinson III
breaks through to score
a touchdown against Navy.
By Lauren Chval
Starting off the season away from home for the first time since 2006, Notre Dame beat Navy 50-10 today in the Emerald Isle Classic.
All eyes locked on Everett Golson this morning as the Irish offense took to the field of Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. It wasn’t just the sophomore’s first start, it was his first ever snap in a game for the Irish.
Head Coach Brian Kelly has reported that his goals for this season include spending more time with his players–especially the quarterbacks–in order to facilitate strong communication. That work came to fruition today as Golson threw for 144 yards and for one touchdown.
“I’ve gone in a direction that I don’t believe that that’s going to be an issue on the sideline-that we’ll be able to communicate effectively and move on to the next set of circumstances,” Kelly explained in a press conference on Tuesday.
One of the clearest priorities for the opening game was to establish a level of comfort for Golson. Kelly admitted the inevitability that his starter would make mistakes but also clearly needed to have patience and instill confidence in Golson.
“I think if we really look carefully at the mistakes that we made, they were turnovers in the red zone,” Kelly confessed. “He’s going to make some mistakes, and we know that and we are going to have to obviously try to overcome those. But it’s those poor decisions that we have to eradicate.”
Kelly wasn’t expecting a breakout performance in Golson’s first game. Today was about establishing control and a strong relationship of trust between Kelly and Golson, Golson and his offense.
Notre Dame scored six touchdowns-40 points-in the three quarters Golson played. Three of those occurred in the first three possessions, the first time Notre Dame has scored on its first three possessions since 2009’s game against Nevada. The Irish employed a strong running game, led by senior Theo Riddick, in order to give Golson time to acclimate to the game. Other than an interception Golson threw in the red zone in the second quarter, he exhibited good decision-making throughout his game.
When asked after halftime how he felt his quarterback was doing, Kelly smiled and said, “He’s doing all right.”
Riddick was a huge part of the growing confidence of the offense. The senior, who was originally recruited as a running back, usually plays as a wide receiver for the Irish. He stepped up today in place of Cierre Wood to great success, looking every bit like the natural running back he is. Riddick racked up 107 yards on 19 carries and added two touchdowns. George Atkinson III also had an incredible game, carrying for 99 yards with two scores as well.
The key for today’s opener was a strong running game, an objective Notre Dame emphatically accomplished with 293 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns. They’re flying home tonight, bringing the joy and momentum of a win back to American soil.