Notre Dame opened their 2008 season with what was supposed to be a slam-dunk win over San Diego State. The Irish were a three touchdown favorite, but sure didn't play like it, and waited until the fourth quarter to finally grab the lead. The final score was 21-13.
San Diego State was upset last week by Division 1-AA Cal Poly at home last week, but led through most of the game. It was 13-7 early in the fourth when the Aztecs were driving to what looked to be another TD that might have put the game away. But Brandon Sullivan fumbled on the one-yard line and the Irish recovered.
They drove down the field 80 yards, and it was completed by a 38-yard TD from Jimmy Clausen to Golden Tate to put the Irish up 14-13. Clausen played pretty well, especially in the second half. He was 21 for 34 for 234 yards and 3 TDs, and iced the game late in the fourth with another TD to David Grimes with just over 2 minutes to play.
For three quarters the Irish looked too much like the outfit that went 3-9 in 2007. But they found their bearings in the fourth quarter and avoided a colossal embarrassment at South Bend. The Irish do have a favorable schedule this year, but will be tested next week when they play Michigan at home.
Despite the win, the Irish need better efforts than yesterday or the wolves will be howling at Charlie Weis' door.