Irish Report Card: Notre Dame vs. Washington State
Matt Gamber | Monday, November 2, 2009
After each game, an Observer beat writer breaks down the performance of each position group. See how the Irish graded out after their blowout victory over Washington State in San Antonio.
Jimmy Clausen played like he has all season, and his Heisman stock continues to rise. Dayne Crist looked shaky but threw a nice touchdown before leaving with an injury.
Running Backs: A-
Robert Hughes excelled with Armando Allen held out of the game, and Theo Riddick showed flashes with the game in hand.
Golden Tate was unstoppable as both a receiver and a runner, and Duval Kamara had another solid effort that included Notre Dame’s first touchdown.
Offensive Line: B+
Clausen was sacked twice but the line made time for all three quarterbacks and opened up holes to pave the way for a big day on the ground.
Defensive Line: A-
The front four continues to improve, as six defensive linemen combined to make nine tackles for loss. Ian Williams added an interception of a screen pass.
Manti Te’o continues to show why he was Notre Dame’s most prized recruit as he adds speed to a linebacking corps made faster with the addition of converted safety Harrison Smith.
Defensive Backs: B
Robert Blanton picked off Jeff Tuel and the secondary limited him to 104 yards passing. But the corners looked silly on the Cougars two touchdown passes.
Special Teams: C
Nick Tausch made his 14th straight field goal, but he had an extra point blocked and punter Ben Turk was inconsistent again. Tate made a mental error trying to pick up a bouncing punt.
The so-called Leprecat formation was very successful, and Charlie Weis did what he wanted — jumped out to an early lead and held on without too much trouble.
Overall GPA: 3.33
Finally an easy victory. The Irish weren’t dominant from the get-go, but showed why they were such heavy favorites heading in.