It wasn't the way Notre Dame fans hoped the season would start, but despite losing 50-47 to the Texas Longhorns, the Irish still impressed.
With every game there are always positives and negatives to take away from the final outcome, and we learned a few things about this 2016 Notre Dame team. Apparently, head coach Brian Kelly hasn't made a decision on which quarterback the Irish will rely on this year. However, that isn't the only take away Kelly and the rest of Notre Dame fans took away from the Texas game.
So with all that has been said, lets take a look at the three biggest takeaways from Notre Dame's performance against Texas on Sept. 4.
Equanimeous St. Brown is Notre Dame's go-to receiver in 2016
Last season, Will Fuller was the Irish's go-to receiver. Fuller recorded 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns for Notre Dame last year. However, Fuller is now off in the NFL. That means the Irish had to replace had to replace 37.4-percent of their receiving yards from 2015. And if the Texas game showed Notre Dame fans anything, St. Brown will be the Irish's 2016 version of Fuller.
St. Brown had a breakout game against the Longhorns. The 6-foot-4, 205 pound pass catcher caught five passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns--including a highlight reel one. That gave St. Brown an average of 15 yards per reception.
Also, St. Brown recorded those numbers against probably the Big 12's best secondary. So expect to see St. Brown become Notre Dame's go-to receiver this season.
The defense still needs retooling
While the Irish's offense looked outstanding against the Longhorns, the defense looked subpar at best. There were multiple missed tackles and missed read by this Notre Dame defense.
Against the Longhorns, the Irish allowed a freshman quarterback to throw for 280 yards and two touchdowns while allowing a backup quarterback to score the game-winning touchdown. Notre Dame allowed four touchdown drives of 75 yards or longer and 517 total yards, an average of six yards per play.
Although the Irish defense was lackluster, Kelly told the media to not blame the defense for Notre Dame's opening season loss.
"It's the first game. There's a lot of uncertainty...We had a lot of guys that got their first start. Everybody needs to tap the brakes," Kelly told the Chicago Tribune.
Though Kelly doesn't solely blame his defense for the loss to the Longhorns, him and the rest of the Irish team needs the unit to improve if they want to salvage any chance of making the College Football Playoff in 2016.
DeShone Kizer deserves to be the starting quarterback for the Irish
Although Kelly has stated he hasn't settled on a starting quarterback yet, it is clear Kizer gives the Irish more fire power as the main man under center. The Irish offense was most effective when the 6-foot-4, 230 pound signal caller was calling the shots.
Kizer out performed co-starter Malik Zaire in every possible way. The redshirt sophomore scored six touchdowns--five passing and one running--against the Longhorns. He also showed off tremendous accuracy, as the completed 62.5 percent of his pass against the Longhorns. Kizer also tallied 77 yards on 13 carries on the ground--giving him an average of 5.9 yards per attempt.
The quarterbacks performance not only solidified his position as the man for this Notre Dame offense, but his performance could make a case for Kizer to be called the best signal caller in the nation.
Kizer is hands down the best quarterback in South Bend since Brady Quinn and him showing he deserves to be the starting quarterback for the Irish is the biggest takeaway from Notre Dame's loss to Texas.