Golson, Irish offense are on the rise

Everett Golson is finding his comfort zone in the Notre Dame offense at just the right time.
© Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame's quarterback is getting hot at the best possible time for the Fighting Irish.

Sophomore Everett Golson, a first-year starter from Myrtle Beach, S.C., is coming off the two best games of his college career as the Fighting Irish head into next week's regular-season finale at USC.

After No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon both lost this past weekend, the No. 3 Fighting Irish only have to beat the Trojans to finish No. 1 and play in the Jan. 7 Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami.

And fortunately for Notre Dame, Golson is playing his best football as it heads into its biggest game in more than a decade.

"Obviously, he's a guy that makes explosive plays," Irish coach Brian Kelly said. "He's got the ability to throw it. He can run the football. He's elusive. I think we're seeing a guy that's growing each and every week. Now, he made some mistakes that a young quarterback has a tendency to make. We've got to kind of slow him down a little bit. But he's definitely on the right path to providing us the offense that we need."

As Golson has grown, so has Notre Dame's offense, which struggled early in the season.

In Saturday's 38-0 win over Wake Forest at Notre Dame Stadium, Golson completed 20 of 30 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The Irish had 584 yards of offense and scored three touchdowns of 30 yards or longer. They were 7-for-13 on third down and 3-for-3 in the red zone.

"He's certainly seeing the field better," Kelly said. "He's getting the ball out on time, and he's an elusive player. He can make plays out on the perimeter. He's a very dangerous player if you're trying to defend him. We showed some option, and you saw the way he connected in the option game. He will now be so much more difficult to defend, and we will as an offense be much more difficult to defend when you have those elements of play making outside the realm of your offense."

With so much on the line at Southern Cal, Golson said he isn't going to look back now.

"As far as I'm concerned, my head is down," Golson said. "My foot's on the gas. I'm never going to look up and lose focus. My thing is just keep your head down and keep pushing it."



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