After Notre Dame was led down the field by Tommy Rees in the final minutes of their 20-17 victory over Purdue, the Fighting Irish now have, on their hands, a quarterback controversy.
On the one hand, you have the young quarterback, Everett Golson, who played fine against the Boilermakers. However, Golson left the game with a hand injury, opening the door for Rees. It'd be hard to give the starting role back to Reese after his injury.
On the other hand, with the way that Rees led the Irish down the field, you cannot ignore that he does a great job finding ways to win in pressure situations.
Plus, there are five other reasons as to why Rees must start over Golson.
On Notre Dame's game-winning drive, Rees completed only three passes on eight attempts. However, when the Irish needed a completion on third down, Rees was there to step up to complete twice on three third-down situations.
From AOL Sporting News, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly even acknowledged Rees' leadership ability in a postgame press conference saying: “It was great to have a guy that you can put in there in a situation like this and manage your two-minute."
With tough games coming up against Michigan State, Michigan, USC and Oklahoma, the Irish need someone with this experience to lead them to a win.
Rees has been in some huge games as a starter for Notre Dame. In those games, he's put together a .500 record with wins in 2010 over 10-2 Utah and on the road at USC. While in 2011, he defeated the Big Ten Legends champion, Michigan State, and, if not for a defensive collapse, Rees would have defeated the Sugar Bowl champion, Michigan.
While Rees has a number of big games under his belt, Golson has only two career starts at Notre Dame.
With games against Michigan State and Michigan coming up next, Coach Kelly has to make the move back to the more experienced quarterback.
Today, Irish fans saw Golson leave the game with a hand injury after getting hit by a Boilermaker defenseman. This has become a problem with Golson. Through the first two games of the season, he's been sacked six times. In fact, five of those sacks came against Purdue, a Big Ten defense.
With better defensive attacks coming up in the next two weeks, Golson's tendency to hold onto the ball for too long will come back to haunt the Irish.
While Golson took five Purdue sacks today, last year, Rees wasn't touched by the Boilermakers.
If you take a look at Golson's stats against Navy and Purdue, you'll see that he doesn't measure up to how Rees did against the same opponents in 2011.
Golson vs. Navy 2012: 12-of-18, 192 yards, one touchdown. Won 50-10
Rees vs. Navy 2011: 16-of-22, 237 yards, one touchdown. Won 56-14
Golson vs. Purdue 2012: 21-of-31, 289 yards, one touchdown. Won 20-17
Rees vs. Purdue 2011: 24-of-40, 254 yards, three touchdowns. Won 38-10
Rees has the advantage in completions, yards, touchdowns and total score over this two-game stretch. If it wasn't for Rees bailing out the Irish today, he may even have the advantage in the overall record, too.
As a starter for Notre Dame, Rees has done one thing very well: win ball games.
Sure, Rees has a tendency to throw interceptions, and he's had only one game with a completion percentage of over 75 percent. But, despite the turnovers, he finds a way to lead Notre Dame to a victory.
Like I said earlier in this slideshow, this Notre Dame team is coming up against some of their toughest competition. They will need someone who's been in this spot before and not someone who may get overwhelmed by the increased stakes.
Rees' record as a starter, on top of how he's played in the past for the Irish, should push him back to QB1 on the offensive depth chart.