Notre Dame vs. Toledo: First-Quarter Analysis

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One quarter into Notre Dame’s game against Toledo, and things don’t look so different from last week so far. The Irish’s offense has been a mixed bag, and the defense still has a tendency to give up big plays. Nevertheless, Notre Dame will be happy with a 7-6 lead.

Jack Coan came out riding the momentum he had for much of his time playing Florida State. A couple of big completions aided by some Rockets penalties put the Irish deep into the red zone quickly. The first drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown reception from Michael Mayer, who remains hot in his own right.

The Rockets broke through on the first third down of their opening drive when Carter Bradley found Devin Maddox, who had plenty of open field to get to the Irish’s 11-yard line on a 66-yard gain. Kyle Hamilton appeared to snuff the drive out with an interception on a tipped ball, but replay reviews ruled that he did not catch the ball before it hit the ground. Despite the break, the Rockets couldn’t take advantage and had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Thomas Cluckey.

Coan completed three passes on the next drive to get into Rockets territory. With the Irish on the cusp of field-goal range, Quinyon Mitchell sacked Coan, forced a fumble and recovered it himself. The Rockets once again found the red zone with a couple of nice plays but stalled out afterwards. Cluckey kicked another field goal, this time, from 32 yards.

Things then settled down a bit as three-and-outs occurred on each of the game’s next three possessions. That might be just what the Irish need to regroup. However, it has to be frustrating to see progress not being made. At the moment, this does not appear to be your typical Mid-American Conference opponent coming to South Bend.