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    Hear It From a Student - Three Things

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    Heading into Saturday's game at Wake Forest, let's not forget what we learned last week against Navy ...

    1.) When the Irish play together, they are very hard to beat ... The Irish put together what was arguable their best all-around game of the season against Navy. Kelly said it best after the game when he referred to the Irish as a family. "At the end [of the day], like all families, if there's a disagreement, if there's any kind of need to communicate, it needs to get done and we did that," said Kelly. "We communicated with each other as a team and as a family, and you saw it today. You saw a team that played together."

    The road to the top of college football will not always be at a steady incline. There are going to be some valleys before you get to the summit. The teams that get to the top are the ones that can get themselves out of the valleys of adversity. The Irish showed they can do.

    2.) Notre Dame has the ability to stop the option ... Before the game, Kelly said that he did not really care about giving up yardage to Navy. He said that when playing an option team you are going to give up yardage, but it is more important to limit big plays and surrender points.

    Well, the Irish not only managed to stop the big play and keep the points down but they also limited Navy's yardage output. The Irish only gave up 196 yards of rushing against Navy on 50 carries (good for an average of 3.9 yards/carry). Last season, Navy had 367 yards rushing on 60 carries (6.1 yards/carry). Also, Navy had only rushed for less than 274 yards in a game once this season. The longest rush on the day for Navy against the Irish was just 15 yards, which is evidence that the Irish stopped the big play.

    In each game this season before facing Notre Dame, Navy had at least one rush for over 20 yards.

    But most importantly, the Irish held Navy to just 14 points. That number does not do the defense justice as both scores came off Notre Dame turnovers in short fields.

    3.) Jonas Gray is a great running back ... Jonas Gray's first touchdown did not come until his 26th game as an Irish running back. Since he found the endzone for the first time against Pittsburgh, he has been getting there with ease. Gray has eight touchdowns on the season, with all of them coming in the last five games. He had three of the eight against Navy and continued to run physically behind a superb offensive line.

    Coming into the season, Kelly wanted Gray to run the ball physically and Gray has delivered. He has been the perfect change-of-pace-back to Cierre Wood and has dominated over his last five games.

    He may not have a huge number of yards, but he is executing each carry to near perfection. Over the course of this season he has molded himself into a great running back and is now a legitimate NFL prospect.

    - Andrew Bartolini ('13)

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