Tommy Rees passed for 319 yards in his final game for Notre Dame, but it was the leg of kicker Kyle Brindza who helped Notre Dame put away Rutgers in a 29-16 victory in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Irish defense was tested at times by Rutgers but managed to come up with the big stops and forced three turnovers (not including an interception on the final play of the game) to capture a win in Yankee Stadium.
Just hours before kickoff the Irish suspended running back George Atkinson III for a violation of team rules. Tarean Folston got the start for the Irish anyway and led Notre Dame with 73 rushing yards and a touchdown. Cam McDaniel also contributed with 73 yards as Notre Dame found a rhythm on the ground in the second half to pull away from Rutgers, who ends the season with a 6-7 record. The real player of the game for Notre Dame was place kicker Brindza, who successfully kicked five of his six field goal attempts.
Both programs will now enter an offseason centered around changes for the program. Rutgers is off to join the Big Ten while Notre Dame will remain independent in football but begin a new scheduling agreement with the ACC. The Irish will also have some shoes to fill on the coaching staff and on the defensive line.
Notre Dame’s 2014 outlook could be a bit more promising after taking a step back from the national stage in 2013. Quarterback Everett Golson will give the offense a spark if he returns in good shape starting this spring. Golson’s absence from the team this season due to academic suspension threw a curveball at the Irish heading in to the year, but Notre Dame has some jobs to fill before even thinking about what the roster will look like. Notre Dame must replace both coordinators this offseason after both were hired away to serve as head coaches elsewhere. The defense will also lose some key players with Louis Nix III on his way to the NFL and Stephon Tuitt potentially joining him.
Rutgers will now begin to make the transition in to the Big Ten. Rutgers will join Maryland as new members of the conference next summer and begin competing in the Big Ten’s new eastern division along with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Indiana. Rutgers will have their work cut out for them in their debut in the new conference. Rutgers will make their Big Ten debut at home against Penn State and will also host Michigan and Wisconsin. The Scarlet Knights will also visit Ohio State and Michigan State.
Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III has signed with an NFL agent, officially confirming his desire to forgo his final year of eligibility at Notre Dame in exchange for a shot at a first round NFL Draft pick in the spring.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Nix signed with agents Todd France and Brian Ayrault to represent him. Because he signed with an agent, or in this case two agents, Nix has officially forfeited his NCAA eligibility. Nix could have returned to the Irish for his fifth season, but his stock is as high as it may get, so the timing is right to move forward now.
Nix is a beefy and dominant force in the trenches who had to be double teamed at times this season. This season he still managed to record 59 tackles for a loss, including eight tackles for a loss in two separate games against Michigan and Arizona State. Scouts are high on Nix as a pro prospect, considering him a sure lock for the first round.
Notre Dame defensive lineman Louis Nix underwent season ending surgery for a torn meniscus Thursday. Irish head coach Brian Kelly announced the injury news Thursday as Notre Dame prepares for a weekend match-up against BYU.
The loss of Nix is obviously a big loss on the defensive line for Notre Dame. Nix and Stephon Tuitt gave Notre Dame one of the better defensive lines in the country, but Nix has been banged up this season. He missed a game against Air Force due to tendonitis and a shoulder injury was suffered in a game against USC.
Nix is expected to be a high draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Getting surgery now rather than waiting until after the season will give him more time to rehab and prepare for the NFL Draft. It would make sense to get it taken care of now with the Irish not competing for any big bowl game or championship and Nix still in position to be drafted highly if he is in optimum shape.
In his absence, Nix will see his position filled by Kona Schwenke and Jarron Jones. The two will split time for the Irish for the reminder of the season unless one stands out more than the other in what is left of the 2013 season for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame will be without one of their top defensive players this weekend when the Irish travel to take on Air Force. According to multiple reports, defensive lineman Louis Nix III will not travel with the team for this weekend’s game against Air Force.
The senior suffered a shoulder injury in last weekend’s victory over USC in South Bend, Indiana. He did not return to the game for the Irish and has been held out of practice all week by head coach Brian Kelly, but Matt Fortuna, who covers Notre Dame for ESPN.com, reports Nix is being bothered by knee tendonitis.
Taking over for Nix on the starting defensive line will be senior Kona Schwenke, who has been listed directly behind Nix on Notre Dame’s depth chart as recently as this week.
Notre Dame has also lost right guard Christian Lombard for the remainder of the season. Lombard recently underwent surgery to remove a herniated disk and will hope to return to the Irish in 2014 for his final year of eligibility. In the meantime, Notre Dame will move freshman right tackle Steve Elmer to take over the starting job at Lombard’s now vacant right guard position.
Yesterday it was reported quarterback Tommy Rees is confident he will starting for Notre Dame this weekend. Rees had been taken out of the USC game last week with a neck strain, but the senior is optimistic about his availability this weekend.