With Everett Golson sitting out the season because of an academic issue, all Irish eyes were looking at Tommy Rees, the man from whom Golson seized the starting quarterback job last season.
Notre Dame’s success this season hinges largely upon the performance of Rees. And his performance Saturday against Temple was a good omen for the Fighting Irish in their 28-6 victory.
Rees finished with 346 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 completions in 23 attempts. He was ruthlessly efficient, especially in the first half, when he threw for all three of his touchdowns and was 11-16 for 268 yards.
His first touchdown was on Notre Dame’s third play of the game, when he connected with DaVaris Daniels for a 32 yard score. On the Irish’s next drive, the two did it again from the same yardage.
The final TD pass happened just before halftime when he found Troy Niklas over the middle for a 66 yard catch and run.
It was his best yardage performance as a starting quarterback — eclipsing a 315 yard effort against Michigan in 2011; the game that Michigan won on a Roy Rountree touchdown pass with two seconds left.
That sophomore season, Rees was the starter but didn’t endear himself to Notre Dame fans with 14 interceptions and five fumbles in an 8-5 season. Golson’s win in the preseason quarterback competition before last season wasn’t met with much disdain. And given the Irish’s run to the national title game last season, there was no such battle for the quarterback position expected this season.
And ultimately, there wasn’t. But with Golson not enrolled at Notre Dame this semester because of what’s been termed an “academic violation,” the starting job was Rees’ once again. If he keeps this up, “Turnover Tommy” may become “Touchdown Tommy.”
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