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September 9, 2006
Fighting Irish Lion-Tamers

Brady Quinn broke out with a 25-for-36 effort and three TDs while the ferocious Irish defense kept consistent with another outstanding effort as Notre Dame easily dispatched the Penn State Nittany Lions, 41-17. The score doesn't accurately reflect the rout as JoePa's team added two touchdowns late in the game to take the sting off the beating:

Brady Quinn and the Notre Dame offense were as good as advertised in Week 2.

After an unimpressive opening game, Quinn, Jeff Samardzija and Co. returned to their fantastic form of last season in a 41-17 victory over No. 19 Penn State on Saturday.

Quinn, the Heisman-hyped quarterback, was 12-of-16 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter alone as fourth-ranked Notre Dame opened a 20-0 lead. The defense and special teams chipped in, too, breaking the game open in the third quarter by scoring one touchdown and setting up another as the Fighting Irish cruised. The game was essentially over at halftime.

"What I liked was the first half was meticulous," Irish coach Charlie Weis said. "We had it about 19 minutes out of the 30 minutes. That's not just offense. That's offense and defense."

Quinn mixed it up well. Four receivers had five or more receptions, with all four having more than 55 yards. Quinn's three touchdowns also went to three different receivers. He has Samardzija as a big target, but he also sent seven to Darius Walker, allowing him to add 72 receiving yards to his 56 rushing, while tight end John Carlson rolled up the most receiving yardage with 98.

The Irish defense played tough, but perhaps Travis Thomas may be the toughest of the unit. He played both sides of the ball, forcing a fumble that got returned for a TD in the third quarter. He also had three rushes for 44 yards, including one bruising TD. The defense allowed Penn State to move the ball, but they kept the Nittany Lions out of the end zone until long after the game was decided. Penn State actually had more first downs than the Irish and rushed for more yardage -- the Irish only gained 14 more yards overall -- but the Irish D got three turnovers while their O never coughed it up once.

After this, no one should doubt Notre Dame's place in the #2 position behind Ohio State, who beat Texas rather convincingly this evening. I doubt that even Penn State fan and longtime CQ reader Monkei will argue that ranking this week.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 9, 2006 10:37 PM

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