No. 9 Irish have loads of work and quick week for Toledo | Sports activities

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Trainer Brian Kelly knows he needs to improve upon No. 9 Fighting Irish in several areas. A difficult start to the season on the road was the proof he needed.

Notre Dame lost an 18-point lead in the state of Florida on Sunday night before regrouping to win 41:38 in overtime.

“If you’re 38:20 on the road and give up that lead, a lot of teams won’t get away with a win,” said Kelly on Monday after a short film review after an early morning return. “Our boys persevered. We came up with the big stop when we needed it defensively. They just showed their courage and courage. As I said last night, I really like this group. We have a lot to do, a lot of work to clean up. “

The home game of the Irish takes place on Saturday against Toledo of the Mid-American Conference.

Despite a record breaking performance by graduate transfer quarterback Jack Coan on his Notre Dame debut – 26-of-35 pass for 366 yards and four touchdowns with an interception – the Irish struggled to lead football with their newly built offensive line , and ended up with only 65 yards on 35 carries. Preseason All-American Kyren Williams managed just 42 yards on 18 carries.

On the other side of the ball, the aggressive unit of new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman was torn apart by an attack on the state of Florida that produced a total of 442 yards, including 264 on the ground.

“Our defenses have wreaked havoc,” said Kelly. “We had the sacks (five, two from defensive end Isaiah Foskey), we had the interceptions (three, two from All-America Safety Kyle Hamilton), but we gave up big games. We’re switching from a different mindset that we need to play defense and you can’t be on guard for a moment or you’ll be giving up a big game. “

The defense, excluding inside linebacker Marist Liufau, who underwent ankle surgery last week, saw two more linebackers with injuries to the ground on Sunday evening – Shayne Simon sustained a shoulder injury, while Rover Paul Moala suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon at the end of the season Season in a row. Ironically, Moala tore his right Achilles heel in last season’s 42-26 win over Florida State.

The offense also had its share. Freshman Blake Fisher, who started with the left tackle, suffered a right knee injury in the first half and was replaced by Michael Carmody in the sophomore year. Reserve tight end Kevin Bauman lost a broken leg from surgery for a plate and screws that kept him away for six weeks. Fisher and Simon were scheduled for MRIs Monday afternoon.

“(Coan) pushed the ball far over the field,” said Kelly. “I thought we were damn well protected. (But) we will (have to) let the ball run a little better. “

Only offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson returned as a starter from last season’s unit that opened the 2020 season. Fisher and graduate student Josh Lugg started on the tackle spots, while Junior Zeke Correll, who was moving from the center, and graduate student Cain Madden, a transfer from Marshall, were the guards.

“We’re playing a really good team in Toledo,” said Kelly of the Rockets, who celebrate a 49-10 win over Norfolk State on Saturday. “After seeing your film, this is probably the best MAC team we’ve brought into the stadium since I’ve been here. So we have to be prepared and have a short week. “

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