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Rapid Reaction: Notre Dame 41, Miami 3

Chris Allen | Sunday, October 7, 2012

CHICAGO – No. 9 Notre Dame posted 376 yards rushing and five rushing touchdowns to beat Miami 41-3 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Coming out of the locker room to start the second half with only a 13-3 lead, Notre Dame’s offense exploded as the tandem of senior running back Cierre Wood and sophomore running back George Atkinson posted three scores on the ground in the third quarter. The rushing yard total represents the highest single-game mark for Notre Dame (5-0) since 2000. Miami (4-2) suffered two crucial drops on its first drive and committed nine penalties as it fell to the Irish in the fourth annual Shamrock Series game.

The good: Welcome back to the fold, Cierre Wood. Wood, a 1,000-yard rusher in the 2011 season, had struggled to find his form through the season’s first four games, as he was suspended during the first two. He had a coming-out party in the Windy City, with 18 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns. With Theo Riddick sidelined with an elbow injury, Wood had a game that was reminiscent of his 2011 performance.

The bad: Miami redshirt sophomore wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had a first drive to forget, and so did the Irish secondary. The speedy wideout got behind the Irish secondary twice on Miami’s first drive, but dropped two certain touchdowns that hit him right in the hands. Irish coach Brian Kelly said his team took some time to readjust to game speed after the bye week, but the lapse could have cost the Irish.

What we learned: The Irish defense is still really good. After a couple early defensive lapses, the unit buckled down and kept the talented Miami offense from scoring a touchdown. The performance extended a streak of 12 straight quarters in which Notre Dame has not allowed a touchdown, spanning games against Michigan State, Michigan and Miami. The Irish are also still the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision that has not allowed a rushing touchdown. We also learned the Irish rushing attack has the ability to dominate a contest – something that could be crucial as the season goes on.