Defense dominates in Notre Dame spring football game
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media April 20, 2013 5:52PM
Notre Dame's CJ Prosise makes a catch for a touchdown during the Blue-Gold spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 20, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
Updated: May 22, 2013 7:12AM
South Bend, Ind. — Brian Kelly lost a bet.
And Blue-Gold game on Saturday was the time to pay up.
So there was 347-pound nose tackle Louis Nix III in the backfield, taking a shotgun snap as Notre Dame attempted a two-point conversion.
A lane wide enough to fit a semi-truck opened, and Nix stormed up the middle to the end zone.
It was one of the rare highlights for the offense in a day dominated by defense. The defense, designated as the blue squad, defeated the offense, designated as the gold team, 54-43 in front of 31,652 fans at Notre Dame Stadium.
That might sound like a lot of scoring. But because of a lack of bodies to split the squad in two, Notre Dame used an offense vs. defense format and a point system that awarded such things as pass plays of 20 or more yards (two points) and defensive stops before the 50-yard line (four points). The only touchdown came with 9:10 remaining in the fourth quarter when Malik Zaire completed a 35-yard pass to C.J. Prosise for a score. Nix then got the call for his two-point conversion.
“My intentions were to truck somebody,” Nix said. “I didn’t care about the touchdown too much. I just wanted to run somebody over and show coach I do it without fumbling the ball.”
Kelly said the two made a bet regarding academics. Nix won and asked to score a touchdown in the spring game.
“As you know, we had a hard time scoring touchdowns in the spring game and I didn’t think that was going to come to reality,” Kelly said. “We tried a couple of times, right before the half to get the opportunity and we couldn’t get the ball close enough. We had to settle for some field goals. So when Malik hit it, we changed the play to a two-point play, and we were able to get that one off.
“He’s just a great personality and the guys got a kick out of it. I thought it was a great way to finish up the spring.”
The same can’t be said about the overall outing for the offense, which was limited to the three field goals and the touchdown pass by Zaire.
“We came out flat and didn’t play to the best of our ability,” said quarterback Everett Golson, who was 6-for-13 for 98 yards and one interception.
Quarterbacks were off limits for hitting. But the defense got in the backfield enough to be credited for 10 sacks. Defensive linemen Tyler Stockton and Jarron Jones and linebacker Ishaq Williams each had two sacks. Williams and Jarrett Grace made eight tackles.
Notre Dame had 300 yards of total offense. Kelly wasn’t concerned with the lack of production.
“We had some third-and-20s and -30s, that can’t happen,” he said. “So I’m not happy about that. But by and large, a lot of them are correctable.”
That’s what the spring is about — learning and developing an identity.
“The identity of this group is that they are a confident,” Kelly said. “Now, we are going to have some tough times and we’ll see how we bounce back from those.
“That’s really the measure, right? Everybody is good when they are 0-0.”