Notre Dame’s Biggest Strength: Possibly Defensive Front 7

In last season’s wins over Utah, Army and USC, the Notre Dame defense allowed an average of just 233.3 yards per game. In the first nine games of the season, the Fighting Irish allowed 393.1 yards per game. After surrendering 20+ points in six of the first nine contests in 2010, the Irish rebounded from their 4-5 start to go 4-0 down the stretch (including the Sun Bowl win over Miami). In that undefeated stretch, they averaged less than 10 ppg against.

The growth and development of the defense is one reason many college football pundits are very high on the Irish this season; and it starts with their fearsome front seven.

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Best Defensive End in College Football? Notre Dame, Michigan Have Candidates

Notre Dame senior defensive end tandem of Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson were named preseason candidates for the 2011 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Lewis-Moore and Johnson are one of three sets of teammates to appear on the list of 35 players. The other two are North Carolina’s Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss; and USC’s Wes Horton and Nick Perry.

University of Michigan football senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen was also named to the list; which honors the nation’s top defensive end.

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Notre Dame Spring Game Observations/Summary

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The South Bend, Indiana weather didn’t exactly cooperate with Notre Dame today. Wind, rain and cold greeted the 82nd-Annual Blue-Gold Game, won by the Gold 17-14. The spring college football intra-squad game was broadcast live nationally on Versus.

It drew 27,863 to Notre Dame Stadium. Not bad for the abysmal weather conditions. ND typically draws at least 20,000 and this wasn’t too far off from cracking the top five crowds in blue-game history.

Here are some of the on-the-field highlights:

By Paul M. Banks

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Notre Dame Spring Blue/Gold Game Filled with Storylines

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The University of Notre Dame football team has a big weekend ahead with the 82nd-Annual Blue-Gold Game on Saturday at 2 p.m ET. The spring college football intra-squad game will be broadcast live nationally on Versus and available via live video stream at und.com.

And this year’s spring scrimmage is extremely intriguing as it poses a ton of questions; let’s get to it.

By Paul M. Banks

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Notre Dame Decisively Beats Purdue at Line of Scrimmage

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Just like on so many college football Saturdays, the numbers don’t accurately tell the whole story. In their 23-12 opening day victory, Notre Dame outgained the Big Ten‘s Purdue Boilermakers 358-322, and by 51 on the ground.

But those statistics don’t reflect all the tremendous pressure that Boilers quarterback Robert Marve faced all day. If it wasn’t for Marve’s blazing 4.5 speed and superlative escapability, the numbers would have been skewed even further in Irish favor.

And the Boilers averaged a very meager 3.2 yards per rush for the game. Everyone close to the Purdue program knew the offensive line would be one of the most questionable position groups heading into this season, and the OL looked pretty brutal most of the first game.

Boilermakers Head Coach Danny Hope disagrees, and he thought his OL played better than they were given credit for.

By Paul M. Banks

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