Everett Golson looked great in his first start in Notre Dame Stadium. He threw for 288 yards and a touchdown against Purdue. He also had a three-yard touchdown run that was all effort. Another important number is zero—as in interceptions. The stats don't tell the whole story either as his athleticism was on display on many plays.
I think it is safe to say Notre Dame has its quarterback for the next four years.
This was against a Boilermaker defense that proved to be very underrated. Their defensive line, led by Kawann Short, is very tough. There is no doubt Purdue will be a stronger force in the Big Ten than predicted.
Golson led the Irish to a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. That is when he showed that his game management skills still need to be learned. In spite of building the lead, he blew all timeouts early. In the fourth quarter, he really looked confused at times and had a hard time getting the plays in.
Then the lead vanished as Purdue quarterback Caleb Terbush hit Antavian Edison on fourth down in the end zone with just two minutes to go. With the game tied, Brian Kelly decided to bring in veteran quarterback Tommy Rees.
The stadium was filled with boos. That was before Rees led the Irish down the field to get a game-winning field goal with just seconds remaining. Rees did get away with a delay of game that was not called, but he was sharp on that drive. It was clear that the Irish needed a veteran in that situation, not a freshman. The fans can boo all they want, but Kelly made the correct decision.
Kelly was also smart after the game in immediately saying Golson is the quarterback, eliminating any talk of a controversy. He also said that Golson's hand was hurting. That was smart so it is not about Golson's performance. Kelly said that he is comfortable with Rees in those situations and will use him again if the situation calls for it.
Even if you really dislike Rees, you have to feel good for him today. With all he went through—not only with not being a fan favorite, but his mistakes with the law—his attitude since coming back from the suspension has been great. He has accepted his new role as a backup. I just hope that after the Purdue win, Irish fans appreciate what they have in him a lot more.
Golson is the guy, but I am sure thankful that the Irish still have Rees.