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Run over: Breaking down Notre Dame’s win over Rice

Notre Dame's Ben Koyack catches a ball over Jaylon Finner at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday. Notre Dame defeated Rice 48-17.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The result: Notre Dame 48, Rice 17

The records: Rice is 0-1. Notre Dame is 1-0.

The significance: Playing a national ranked team Saturday on the road in front of more than 80,000 fans is a tough way to open the season. Losing at Notre Dame isn’t a reason to panic, but it is concerning how one sided the game became in the second half. The mistakes and missed opportunities can be chalked up as a learning experience, though it was evident the Owls missed some of the experience that walked out the door after last season.

The grade: C+: There were some building blocks. Quarterback Driphus Jackson made mostly good choices with the ball and showcased his rushing ability. Rice still will need to find some more playmakers offensively. The defense is still a work in progress, but to be fair, Everett Golson may be the best quarterback the Owls will face all season. The special teams were sound, though it would have been sounder if James Hairston made his 47-yard field goal attempt.

The play: After a decent Rice drive ended with a Jackson interception, Notre Dame took over at it own 47 with 21 seconds left until halftime. The Irish led 21-10. After an incompletion on first down, Golson connected with an open C.J. Prosise for a 53-year touchdown. Instead of being down 11, the deflated Owls now trailed by 18.

The good stat: Eight different Rice players caught a pass as the Owls QB completion percentage was 58 percent.

The bad stat: Notre Dame ran for 281 yards, nearly 7 yards a rushing attempt.

The X-factor: The national storylines were on Golson’s return and the suspended Notre Dame players. Golson didn’t look rusty going 14 of 22 for 295 yards in the passing game. After two three-and-outs to start the game, Notre Dame scored on 8 of its next 10 possessions.

The David Bailiff quote: “I think there was times today where we showed we were a pretty good football team. but you can’t go into a venue and drop an interception and have two turnovers and have some foolish penalties. You can’t do that when you play a team like Notre Dame. We had to be at our best today but we weren’t.”

The player quote (Gabe Backer, safety): “On our part, we missed many tackles. Putting all those together would change the game tremendously. These games are all about momentum and I would say right before halftime we turned the ball over, and they got a touchdown; that changed the dynamic of the game. Moving forward we have a lot of confidence in what we can do. Limit the mistakes, make tackles, and get turnovers.”

The Notre Dame quote (Evertt Golson, quarterback): “I think the emphasis for us was just to go vertical. The first couple drives, we didn’t do that necessarily. But yeah, we worked on vertical this week and we got the tools to do it. Once you got a the chance to be successful.”

The game story: can be found here

The fun fact: Notre Dame has never lost a game in August. They are now 5-0.

The overall series: Notre Dame 1, Rice 0

Rice Examiner Players of the Game:

1. Zach Patt- 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 tackle for loss

2. Driphus Jackson- 13-24 passing for 163 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 11-61 rushing

3. James Farrimond- 5 punts for 241 yards (48.2 average), 2 inside ND 20 yard line.

Up Next: Road game at Texas A&M, 8 p.m., Sept. 13, ESPN 2

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