Updated: August 31, 2013 9:14PM
Notre Dame’s defense received the preseason buzz.
But Saturday’s season opener against the Temple was all about the offense.
Quarterback Tommy Rees passed for a career-high 346 yards. He also threw three touchdowns, leading No. 14 Notre Dame to a 28-6 victory against the Owls at Notre Dame Stadium.
Wide receiver TJ Jones caught six passes for a career-high 138 yards. Fellow receiver DaVaris Daniels caught the first two touchdown passes of his career. He finished with three receptions for 69 yards. Daniels left the game in the second quarter after pulling up while running a route and did not return.
Tight end Troy Niklas had a 66-yard touchdown reception, a crucial play that gave the Irish momentum seconds after Temple attempted to get back into the game.
Notre Dame (1-0) jumped out to a quick lead with touchdowns on its first two possessions. The Irish needed just three plays to go 77 yards in the first drive of the game. Rees completed a 32-yard pass to Daniels for the first touchdown at 13:34 of the first quarter. The two connected again for another 32-yard score with 10:19 left in the opening quarter.
The first scoring drive took 1 minute, 26 seconds. The second drive took just 1:01.
Temple took those hits, but wasn’t down for the count.
The Owls moved the ball well against the Irish’s defense, but didn’t have anything to show for it early. Temple missed field goals of 32 and 43 yards.
Temple’s work finally paid off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Kenny Harper with 1:01 remaining in the half. The struggles on special teams continued though, as the extra point was blocked.
Just as it looked like the Owls would go into halftime with some energy, Notre Dame responded with another quick strike. Rees found Niklas over the middle on the next play from scrimmage. The tight end rumbled in for a 66-yard touchdown. The Irish went to halftime ahead 21-6.
Temple (0-1) again marched down the field for a long drive at the start of the third quarter. The Owls reached Notre Dame’s 6, but came up empty. Temple decided to go for it on fourth down and quarterback Connor Reilly threw an incomplete pass. Reilly finished with 228 passing yards in the loss.
Running back George Atkinson III scored on a 2-yard run with 5:37 left in the third quarter as Notre Dame extended the lead to 28-6.
The Irish finished with 543 total yards of offense.