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Notre Dame Football News and Notes: Kelly Pleased With His Front Four

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The Irish are coming off their best win of the season on Saturday against Miami. Their front four was dominant and Brian Kelly is pleased.

NCAA Football: Miami at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday reminded me of the days of Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. That’s how good the Irish front four was. Jarron Jones played the best game of his career as he tallied seven tackles, SIX tackles for loss (the most by any player this season), and a sack. It was a truly dominant performance from the senior. Isaac Rochell also had another strong game as he registered four tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack. Despite not recording a tackle, Jerry Tillery made his presence felt. The sophomore defensive tackle chalked up three quarterback hurries against the ‘Canes. The Irish got great pressure all afternoon.

“Uhh ya think?” C.J. Sanders had such a great start to the season, both on special teams and on offense. Now with Kevin Stepherson taking his snaps on offense and his struggles on special teams, Sanders’ role could be dwindling. Sanders had one of the oddest plays of the year against Miami when he tried to field a punt inside the five yard line. He ended up muffing it and fumbling it into the end zone, and Miami pounced on it for a touchdown. As expected, Sanders wasn’t out there for the next punt return.

Chris Finke seems to be a great fit to replace Sanders in the return game for the rest of the year. Finke set up the game winning score with a 23-yard punt return in the fourth quarter after replacing Sanders.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. And there was some positives to build upon. Notre Dame has had a really tough time trying to close out games this year, but they finally did it on Saturday. Hopefully the Irish can take that and run with it for the rest of the year.

This week’s matchup should worry Irish fans. Navy runs a tricky offense and they run it to a tee. While the defense has been playing much better since the firing of BVG, they are still young and Navy’s triple option attack will test their discipline.

Martini would be a huge to have this week against Navy. He played a key role in wins over Georgia Tech and Navy last season, two teams who run the option. In those two wins he had a combined 17 tackles. In the other 11 games last year he had just 18, so he shows to be a huge weapon against the option. It would also be nice to get Cage back to improve the depth on the defensive line.