By Joe Pierce
QB A: Jimmy Clausen lived up to the hype Saturday, engineering two 4th quarter scoring drives that clinched the game for Notre Dame. He threw two interceptions, but I blame those on Duval Kamara, not Clausen.
RB C-: Armando Allen showed flashes, but he fumbled once, as did Robert Hughes, who ran without confidence all day. Work needs to be done here.
WR/TE B+: Golden Tate played like a superstar, and David Grimes & Michael Floyd contributed with a TD each. Duval Kamara started the game with a nice catch, but made several mistakes throughout the game. TE Kyle Rudolph is a star in the making.
OL A: They didn't give up a sack and made holes all day for the running game. I'm impressed by the big guys.
DL D: They didn't get gouged, but they only registered two total tackles as a unit. That's unacceptable.
LB C: They were solid, but Crum took a couple bonehead penalties on one drive and Brian Smith blew a coverage to allow a huge SD State gain, putting them on the goal line. I think they'll be fine as they mature as a unit.
DB A+: They paced the defense and made several big plays. Even without Darrin Walls, this is a huge strength for this team.
ST D: There were big mistakes here, mostly by Braxton Cave snapping the ball all over the place. They need work. Walker missing an admittedly hard FG didn't help, either.
Overall B-: There were some definite signs of life not seen since Brady Quinn wore a gold helmet, but there's a lot of room to improve. Let's hope it was simply a case of opening-day rust.