Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame's incredible journey to the 2013 BCS National Championship Game was built on the outstanding play of the Irish defense.
During the course of that undefeated regular season a year ago, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's unit allowed just nine touchdowns.
Shockingly, a defense that returned eight starters from last season's stingy group has yielded six touchdowns—or two-thirds of last season's scores, if you prefer to frame it that way. What caused, and will continue to cause, teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing in South Bend, Ind., is that five of those touchdowns were scored by Michigan.
Both Temple and Michigan have attacked what was the Irish defense's overwhelming strength last season—their front seven.
Through the first two games, that unit, headlined by stars Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt, has allowed 300 rushing yards. Yes, you read that correctly.
Even more frustrating is the fact the two leading rushers against Notre Dame in each contest were the quarterbacks. Michigan's Devin Gardner and Temple's Connor Reilly combined to gash the Irish defense for 182 yards on the ground.
And for the second time in Notre Dame's past three games, the Irish defense has allowed at least 40 points.
Quite clearly, there remains a significant amount of work to be done on that side of the ball.