With the Irish taking the weekend off and members of the team getting a chance to return home or step away from football, many of Notre Dame’s opponents took the field this weekend.
Let’s take a run through the schedule and see how Notre Dame’s opponents did yesterday.
NAVY -- After getting back on track against VMI, Navy lost an ugly game at home to San Jose State, getting blanked 12-0. That’s a 1-3 start for the Midshipmen, but it’s also a 4-1 start for San Jose State, whose only loss is a 20-17 defeat at the hands of Stanford. It was a horrible performance by the Navy offense, gaining only 144 yards, the worst total for the Midshipmen since 2002.
Trending: Backwards. It always looked like a rebuilding project for Ken Niumatalolo, but even with the defense keeping the opponents out of the end zone, another putrid offensive performance means it could get ugly this year in Annapolis.
PURDUE -- The Boilermakers are off to a 3-1 start after surviving a barnburner against Marshall. Caleb TerBush led Purdue with four touchdown passes and outscored the Thundering Herd 51-41. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato threw the ball an astounding 68 times, completing 45 passes for 439 yards as Marshall put up 534 yards of total offense. Purdue was up 42-14 at halftime before Marshall roared back.
Trending: Purdue has scored 153 points in their three other games of the season. They may have taken their foot off the gas, but they might just be in the drivers seat of a very confusing divisional race to the Big Ten championship game.
MICHIGAN STATE -- The Spartans lost the biggest game of Saturday 17-16 to Ohio State, unable to stop Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes’ one-man army. Le’Veon Bell was shutdown on the ground, limited to just 45 yards and forced to be Andrew Maxwell’s primary target. In a grind it out Big Ten match-up, the Spartans couldn’t do enough to pull out the victory.
Trending: A step backwards for a team that thought itself a top ten team, but the Spartans are still in the thick of a mediocre Big Ten race.
MICHIGAN -- The Wolverines took the weekend off. They’ve got an interesting match-up next week with a Purdue team that has their offense rolling and a defensive front that should match-up well with the Michigan front line.
Trending: We’ll see if the Wolverines are the upper-echelon team many predicted in the preseason in the next few weeks.
MIAMI -- In one of Saturday’s most exciting games, Miami won another offensive battle, this time against North Carolina State. Quarterback Stephen Morris set an ACC record with 566 yards passing, including a 62-yard bomb to Phillip Dorsett with just 19 seconds left to seal the victory. The Hurricanes defense gave up 664 yards, but still managed to win thanks to six Wolfpack turnovers, including four fumbles on five possessions.
Trending: There were worries that Miami’s offense didn’t have the playmakers you’d expect from a Hurricanes squad. But the offense has looked impressive so far this season, with the defense struggling. At 4-1, this looks like a very interesting test for Notre Dame.
No. 18 STANFORD -- After vaulting into the top ten with a victory over USC, the Cardinal crashed back to earth in Seattle, getting upset by Washington on Thursday night. All the preseason worries there were about the Stanford offense after Andrew Luck manifested themselves, with Josh Nunes only completing 18 of 37 for 170 yards and an interception. The Stanford defense battering Huskies quarterback Keith Price all evening long, but Washington broke two huge plays -- a fourth-and-one run for a 61-yard touchdown, and a game-clinching 35 yard screen pass to Kasen Williams -- to win the game. Stanford only gained 235 yards of total offense.
Trending: It’s a step backwards for Stanford, but probably more of a leveling out. The Cardinal defense looked very impressive, but the offense is still finding its way.
BYU -- The Cougars got healthy thanks to Norm Chow’s rebuilding Hawaii team, barreling through the Rainbows 47-0 on Friday night. It was an offensive explosion for BYU after struggling to do much of anything the past two weeks. Starting in place of injured quarterback Riley Nelson, freshman Taysom Hill looked solid throwing the ball while also running for 144 yards and running back Jamaal Williams ran for 155 as BYU rolled. The Cougars defense held Hawaii to just 149 yards and nine first downs.
Trending: A nice rebound by BYU, which looks to have a pretty solid defense coming together, and an interesting dual-threat wildcard quarterback in Hill.
No. 17 OKLAHOMA -- The Sooners had the week off after losing a crusher to Kansas State last week. They’ll play Texas Tech before heading into the Red River Shootout.
Trending: I fully expect the Sooners to be 5-1 when they welcome Notre Dame to Norman.
PITTSBURGH -- The Panthers also had the week off after leveling their record to 2-2 with a patsy victory over Garner-Webb. It was a welcome win after losing to Youngstown State, another game most Pitt fans expected to roll in.
Trending: With a big victory over Virginia Tech (who just lost to Cincinnati on Saturday), we’ll get a progress report on Paul Chryst’s squad when they play at Syracuse on Friday night.
BOSTON COLLEGE -- The Eagles led Clemson at half, but they couldn’t hold on in the second half as quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins connected 11 times for 197 yards. Chase Rettig threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. The Eagles running game couldn’t get started and the Eagles needed to play near perfect to beat Clemson, who played without All-American wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Trending: A 1-3 start isn’t a good sign for Frank Spaziani, who started the season on one of the country’s hottest seats.
WAKE FOREST -- The Demon Deacons got beat by Duke and back-up quarterback Anthony Boone on Saturday, falling to 3-2 on the year and 1-2 in ACC play. Tanner Price completed 19 of 38 for 230 yards, but threw two interceptions as Wake Forest turned the ball over four times. Perhaps bigger than the lost game was an injury to wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who broke his right hand in the second quarter and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
Trending: Without Campanaro, Wake Forest loses its best offensive weapon, and a team that didn’t have much artillery, now must navigate the meat of their conference schedule without him. They’re also missing standout defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock, their top interior player.
No. 13 USC -- The Trojans also had Saturday off, resting before facing the bulk of their Pac-12 schedule.
Trending: It’s hard to lose ground when you don’t play, but it wasn’t a very impressive week for USC opponents. Hawaii got smoked by BYU. Syracuse lost last week to Minnesota, and Stanford’s defeat to Washington exposed the Cardinal a bit. Add in Cal’s loss to Arizona State and we’ll see if USC is a legit national title contender or another paper tiger.