Notre Dame and Miami met for the 2nd time in less than 2 years this past season. Irish quarterback Everett Golson didn't start the game due to being late to a meeting but he played one of this most efficient games of his young career. Oh yeah, and the running game did some damage.
Let's relive this one.
Cierre Wood 37-yard (near) Touchdown Run
Down & Distance: 1st and 10 from the Miami 38 yard line
Score: 13-3 Notre Dame
The Situation: Notre Dame held off an early Miami push in the 1st quarter, took advantage of a couple Hurricane mistakes and had been controlling the game through halftime. The Irish opened up the second half moving the ball. On 2nd down Golson found Daniels for 24 yards and that set up this next play by Wood.
Larz: I have to tell you that run by Cierre Wood is outstanding. It is a great example of how to run the ball in a zone blocking scheme. I think we'll have to break this one down in the film room, it really is that good. The key on this play is that Cierre is patient and brings the linebackers to the offensive line before he makes his cut. If you make that cut too early the play doesn't work.
Jim: Clips like this are why I am a bit puzzled that Cierre didn't get drafted. He signed with Houston, and last I checked they did pretty well with another UDFA a few years ago. Namaste.
Eric: When Wood was confident and in the zone he was a joy to watch. His stock isn't terribly high right now after not being drafted but I think his performance at Notre Dame will age very well.
Larz: It's been awhile since we've had a back with the type of big play ability that Cierre had. I often felt like if he found a seam in the defense he could be gone. When was the last time we had a back with this type of big play ability?
Burgs: Break this play down in the film room, you say?
Eric: Be honest, is Al Golden ever going to turn Miami around? Someone has to eventually, right? It doesn't feel that long ago since the Canes were fielding some of the best teams in college history. Now they're going in to their 10th season of wandering in the wilderness. 10th season!! They haven't won 10 games in a down ACC since they joined. 20-17 over the past 3 years too. It's almost unbelievable.
Larz: Whenever I watch Miami, I love their team speed. Seems to me that you should have more success with that type of speed.
George Atkinson 55-yard Touchdown Run
Down & Distance: 1st & 10 from the Notre Dame 45
Score: 27-3 Notre Dame
The Situation: Back-to-back touchdowns by Cierre Wood had effectively put this game away but George Atkinson was about to pile on and start the route. The Irish started this drive with a false start that was mostly erased by a 12-yard run by Wood. On second down Atkinson picked up 4 yards for the first down and set up this highlight run showing the world his speed.
Jim: Love how on one of the replays (not in the YouTube clip) that once EG sees Atkinson is going to get the corner he raises his hands to signal TD. There just aren't many players with the pure speed that Atkinson brings to the table.
Eric: I hadn't watched this run in quite a long time. I started giggling. There is so much potential with Atkinson. So much. I also love the crowd reacting when he gets to the 50. That ND-heavy crowd knew what was about to happen. Smart fan base.
Larz: This is pure speed. It actually isn't a great job by Atkinson from a technical standpoint. He makes the cut a little early. It doesn't matter though, once he gets to the edge it's over. I agree Atkinson has tremendous potential. If he can get the nuances of the running back position down he will be scary good. If he can't, he will remain an enigma that shows flashes from time to time but not much more.
Burgs: If you thought it wasn't possible for an entire team to overrun a play, watch this run. This game brought out all the old stereotype about Miami football - Charmin soft, no mental toughness, prone to quit when it gets tough, etc.
Eric: That blitz was just dumb. Even if Golson keeps it he's going to juke that corner out of his socks and buy time to throw the ball down field. As it turns out, it helped Atkinson turn on the afterburners and notch 6 points. Miami was all sorts of bad on defense last year.
Larz: Burgs, that was my thought on that Miami defense, they were way too aggressive and tended to overrun things. That's why the cutback on the zone blocking scheme worked so well.