NewsCenter 16 is counting down to the National Champion game by re-living each game of the 2012 Notre Dame Football Season.
Each sportscast until the New Year, will look back at a game from the season with extended highlights, storylines and postgame reaction.
On Wednesday, we recapped the season opener against Navy & the home opener against Purdue.
The Irish began the year in Dublin to face the Midshipmen at Aviva Stadium. The game marked the debut of quarterback Everett Golson, who played as good as can be expected for a first time starter--throwing a touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert and managing the offense in a dominating 50-10 victory.
Theo Riddick scored the opening touchdown of the season, rushing for 107 yards in the game and setting the tone for the year he would have. Cierre Wood was not in action due to a suspension for a violation of team rules. George Atkinson III actually started at running back and broke a 56-yard touchdown run.
Just before halftime, Stephon Tuitt showed his incredible athleticism, scooping a fumble and running 77 yards for a touchdown. You would never had known he was a 6'6 300 pound defensive lineman. Notre Dame was up 27-0 at the half and cruised the rest of the way.
Manti Te'o picked up his first career interception (a sign of things to come) and also had a fumble recovery in the game as the Irish started the year off with a win.
The victory moved Notre Dame into the top 25 at the 22nd spot.
A week later, Notre Dame returned home to face in-state rival Purdue in the first game of the year in South Bend.
Everett Golson made his Notre Dame Stadium debut, throwing for 289 yards on 21-of-31 passing. He picked up his first career rushing touchdown and threw for another as Notre Dame built a 17-7 lead.
But Golson had a costly turnover in the 4th quarter that led to a game tying touchdown for Purdue.
With time winding down in the game, Brian Kelly turned to veteran quarterback Tommy Rees--who ended both the 2010 and 2011 seasons as the Irish starter. Rees was suspended for the Navy game due to a May arrest and was making his season debut.
As Rees came into the game, he was booed by the Notre dame faithful. It didn't affect his play. Rees picked up two huge 3rd down conversions and got the Irish in field goal range. Kyle Brindza then booted the game winning field goal with five seconds left as the Irish survived 20-17.
After the game, Brian Kelly declared that there was no quarterback controversy and that Golson would be the starter against Michigan State. Kelly also made a bizarre decision by making a last minute call to only allow two players--captains Manti Te'o and Zack Martin---to speak to the media.
The victory pushed Notre Dame to 2-0 and moved up to the #20 ranking in the country.
Coming up, NewsCenter 16 looks back at the win at Michigan State Thursday at 6pm and the night game victory over Michigan Thursday night at 11.