Amir Carlisle

No. 9 Arizona State flashes Playoff potential in 55-31 beat down of No. 10 Notre Dame

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In the first half you wondered, How in the world did this Arizona State team possibly allow 62 points and 10 yards a play to UCLA?

And in the second half you realized, Oh yeah, that’s how.

The Sun Devils looked every bit like one of the four best teams in the country in building a 34-3 second quarter lead over the visiting Fighting Irish, and then looked so much like the other Arizona State teams that habitually blew big games at home in allowing Notre Dame to pull within 34-31 with 6:37 to go in the fourth quarter.

First, how Arizona State built its lead. Irish quarterback Everett Golson committed three first-half turnovers, all of which led directly to Arizona State touchdowns – including a 59-yard Damarious Randall interception return for a touchdown. In the span 17 minutes of game action, the Sun Devils ripped off 31 unanswered points.

And then it was Notre Dame’s turn.

Golson hit William Fuller for a nine-yard score with 11 seconds remaining before the half, and notched the only score of the third quarter in the form of a Cam McDaniel one-yard plunge. McDaniel added another one-yard score with 9:12 to go in the fourth quarter, and then the Irish used a two-play, 59-yard drive, capped by a 25-yard scoring toss from Golson to a wide open Amir Carlisle to put Notre Dame within 34-31.

After notching as many turnovers as points allowed over its first seven drives, Arizona State allowed touchdown drives of 68, 56, 50 and 59 yards, aided by a Taylor Kelly interception.

Facing its most important drive of the season and the prospect of an epic desert melt down, Arizona State regrouped and marched 75 yards in five plays to post its first points of the second half, a four-yard pass from Kelly to Demario Richard to push the lead to 41-31 with 3:41 to go.

Arizona State put the game away with – guess what? – another turnover, this time a Golson pass that bounced off Corey Robinson‘s hands and into the arms of Arizona State defender Lloyd Carrington, who took it 58 yards to the house.

A turnover on downs allowed Kelly to add a cosmetic touchdown, his fourth of the day, on a two-yard run.

Goslon hit a number of big plays, stretching his 22 completions on 41 out over 446 yards and two touchdowns, but made just as many big plays for the opponent with a whopping five turnovers. Kelly was a much more controlled 17-of-28 for 224 yards with three scoring strikes and a pick.

In addition to winning the turnovers in a TKO, Arizona State also won the trenches, out-rushing Notre Dame 188-41.

The win will continue to push Arizona State’s stock sky high in the eyes of the committee, moving surely ahead of Auburn and tonight’s TCU-Kansas State loser at a minimum – and possibly higher if LSU knocks off Alabama and/or Ohio State downs Michigan State. Todd Graham‘s crew still has games with at No. 19 Arizona and a presumptive date with No. 4 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship on the fist weekend of December. This is a team that is very much in control of its destiny. They’ll visit Oregon State next week.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, falls to 7-2 and out of the Playoff picture. They’ll return home to face Northwestern next week.

 

Notre Dame’s Torii Hunter out at least a month due to injury

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Former four-star recruit Torii Hunter Jr. wasn’t expected to make a big impact as part of  Notre Dame’s wide receiver corps this season, but he could have potentially worked his way into the team’s rotation and provided repetitions as a slot receiver. Instead, he’ll miss four to six weeks due to a Grade 3 groin tear, according to CSNChicago.com’s J.J. Stankevitz.

Hunter — the son of Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter Sr. — will receive three platelet-rich plasma injections during his rehabilitation.

The injury is obviously a setback for the young receiver. He’ll now miss the rest of fall camp and the start of the season. It will be difficult for him to earn games reps once he’s fully healthy with upperclassmen DaVaris Daniels, Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle atop the depth chart. And there is plenty of competition between the talented young receivers behind the projected starters.

Hunter missed all of last season with a broken leg. The upcoming season could prove to be another lost season after missing a month or more of integral practice time.

Notre Dame WR Will Mahone arrested

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Notre Dame wide receiver Will Mahone was arrested Sunday in Ohio on five offenses, including assault of a police officer.

The junior was booked at the Mahoning County Justice Center on counts of disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, intimidation of a public servant and vandalism of a government entity. Three of those charges — assault on a police officer, intimidation and vandalism — are felonies in the state of Ohio.

Mahone, a four-star recruit from Austintown, Ohio (which is located in Mahoning County), switched from running back to wide receiver this spring but missed most of March and April’s practices after undergoing surgery on a fractured ankle in early March.

Mahone only played in two games in 2013 and likely would’ve entered the 2014 season behind Amir Carlisle and C.J. Prosise on Notre Dame’s depth chart at slot receiver.

Notre Dame surges for 21 points in four minutes, beats Purdue

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It was a struggle for most of the night, but for a span of two minutes in the fourth quarter the luck was with the Irish. Tommy Rees connected with DaVaris Daniels on two touchdown passes within the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, highlighted by an 82-yard bomb down the right sideline, to help Notre Dame tie and then take their first lead of the game against Purdue. Then, just minutes later Bennett Jackson picked off a pass from Purdue’s Rob Henry and returned it 34 yards. Notre Dame had scored more points in four minutes than they had in the previous three quarters en route to a 31-24 victory.

Purdue did make Notre Dame earn this one though. Following the pick-six, Henry guided the Boilermakers right back down field and scored a touchdown on a fourth down pass to Justin Sinz, who turned and stretched the extra couple of yards he needed to get in to the end zone. The score made it a seven-point game. On the ensuing possession for Notre Dame, running back Amir Carlisle lost a fumble on the first play of the drive but Purdue was unable to do anything with the gift received at the Notre Dame 36-yard line.

Notre Dame is clearly not the same team we witnessed last season. Sure, they won at Purdue but it was anything but impressive. The defense has shown each of the last two weeks that there is room for growth and improvement, and that could very well come over the course of the season. And Rees has been serviceable as the starting quarterback.

We’ll see where Notre Dame goes from here. The next three weeks will certainly be interesting. Next week Notre Dame hosts Michigan State, who suddenly found an offense and a starting quarterback today in East Lansing. The following week the Irish host Oklahoma, who also found some offense today. After that is a road trip to Cowboys Stadium to play against Arizona State, who is known for their offense. Can Notre Dame find enough offense to get to their bye week with a winning record in order?

Inside the Irish: Amir Carlisle suffers broken collarbone

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There appears to be some unfortunate injury news for Notre Dame. Keith Arnold over at Inside the Irish is reporting that running back Amir Carlisle and defensive end Chase Hounshell have sustained injuries during spring practice.

Arnold reports that Carlisle suffered a broken collarbone and Hounshell has another shoulder injury — perhaps a torn labrum. A collarbone injury would likely keep the USC transfer out of spring practices. Brian Kelly has not met with the media to confirm the reports, though he should do so next week.

Carlisle had been fighting a nagging ankle injury that forced him to miss the 2012 season.