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Irish receivers catching on

Group developed into reliable unit for Notre Dame

– Notre Dame doesn’t have a flashy group of receivers.

This year the focus on offense has been about the development of first-year starting quarterback Everett Golson and a running game that averages 202.5 yards and has accounted for 22 of the Irish’s 35 touchdowns.

But as the season progressed, the Irish’s receivers have proven to be effective when they need to be and played a role in helping No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) reach the BCS championship game against No. 2 Alabama (12-1) on Jan. 7 in Miami.

“We’re terribly underrated, and I firmly believe that,” receiver John Goodman, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, said of a group that averages 218.8 receiving yards. “We have guys that can play every single position and do well at it. … As a receiving corps, as a whole, I think we are one of the best in the country. We wouldn’t be in the national championship if we weren’t.”

Receiver TJ Jones was second in receptions and receiving yards behind tight end Tyler Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger grad. Jones had 43 receptions for 559 yards with four touchdowns to Eifert’s 44 catches for 624 yards with four TDs.

Jones said the receivers expected to be over looked this season after Michael Floyd, who had 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns last year, graduated, and they made sure to channel that into a positive.

“We just used it as motivation just to show not only our staff but the people that watch the games, we do have an effective receiving corps that can make plays when needed to,” Jones said.

Notre Dame also doesn’t allow opponents focus in on one receiver as no one has had a double-digit reception game this season after Floyd had four last year.

“I think that’s the best thing that has happened to this offense,” Goodman said. “We spread the ball out, and we have guys that we can spread the ball out to. There are so many versatile guys that can do some many different things.”

DaVaris Daniels, who is expected to return from a broken clavicle in time for the title game, was the third-leading receiver with 25 catches for 375 yards.

Robby Toma was the fifth-leading receiver with 24 catches for 252 yards, and Goodman was No. 6 on the team with seven catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns.

And while no single receiver’s statistics were staggering, running back Theo Riddick was fourth on the team in receiving yards with 364 on 35 catches with a touchdown, the group can cause problems for defenses.

“I think sometimes people, because we have great running backs, do not give them the credit they deserve,” safety Matthias Farley said.

“Our receiving corps, you go back and watch the tape of the year when a big play needs to be made through the air, our receiving corps is there to do it. They’ve definitely changed the game in a lot of our games.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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