5 Things We Learned From Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s Week 1 Win

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5 Things We Learned From Irish Win

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Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

After coming up one win short of a National Championship last year, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened their 2013 campaign with high hopes. Even with news breaking that last year’s quarterback Everett Golson would be suspended for the entire 2013 season for academic violations, head coach Brian Kelly put together a good enough recruiting class and has enough returning talent to overcome that, and the loss of Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert.

The 14th-ranked Irish opened up the season at home against Temple. While this isn’t the most formidable opponent, it was important that the Irish did not look past this matchup in anticipation of their showdown with 17th-ranked Michigan this week.

Notre Dame had an up and down performance in their 28-6 win over Temple. There were times the offense and defense looked great, but it was put together for the complete game. The quality of opponent they faced does not resemble a 28-6 final score. The Irish had plenty of chances to blow out the Owls, but were unable to do so.

They need to play better this weekend to pull out a victory at Michigan, but we’re here to break down what happened on the field against Temple. Overall, it was a good first game for the Irish and there were plenty of things to take away from it. Here are five things we learned from their Week 1 win.

Zach Slotter is a contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page and add him on Google.

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5. Ready for Big Blue

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Rick Osentoski - USA Today Sports

A tune-up game against the Owls was exactly what the Irish needed. They still have some things to work on if they want to compete for a National Title again in 2013, but they looked good enough to prepare themselves to take on one of their rivals this Saturday.

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4. Lack of Opportunistic Defense

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Matt Cashore - USA Today Sports

The defense was impressive by holding the Owls to only six points, but they have to be a little discouraged by being able to force only one turnover throughout the course of the game. Without some of their offensive weapons from the year before, forcing turnovers and creating short field opportunities will be one of their keys to success.

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3. No Feature Running Back Emerges

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Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

We mentioned the loss of many players from last year’s team. That includes Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick, the team’s two leading rushers from last season. It hasn’t been established who will carry the load in the Irish backfield, as Amir Carlisle, Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson III each received at least seven carries.

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2. T.J. Jones Emerges as Go-To Receiver

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Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

With the departure of Eifert, the Irish need a new receiver to lean on. In Week 1, it was senior T.J. Jones. Jones had six catches for 138 yards, and hooked up with Rees on a couple of deep balls against the Owls' secondary.

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1. Tommy Rees in Top Form

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Matt Cashore - USA Today Sports

When you have to replace your starting quarterback from the past year, it is better to do so with a guy who has made 29 career appearances. Tommy Rees proved he is ready to lead this team by going 16-for-23 for 346 yards and three touchdowns.

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