Golson proving to be the right fit for surging Notre Dame

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Golson proving to be the right fit for surging Notre Dame

Everett Golson went into a hostile environment for the first time in his collegiate career, and he came away with a clean sheet.

Fourteen completions on 32 passes may not look impressive. Same goes for Golson's 178 passing yards, and one touchdown to go with them. Nobody's confusing Golson for a Heisman candidate.

But he didn't turn the ball over on Saturday, allowing the Notre Dame defense to lock down on Michigan State's defense. Notre Dame's defense didn't have its back up against the wall at any point, and in turn were able to keep the Spartans out of the end zone.

Golson's only coughed the ball up twice this season. The first came when he missed a route and forced a pass to Tyler Eifert against Navy, which nearly resulted in a Midshipmen score until Stephon Tuitt scooped up a fumble and sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown. The second was a fumble inside Notre Dame's red zone, and it resulted in Purdue tying things up late in the team's win Sept. 8.

That's not to say those have been Golson's only two mistakes. He threw two balls a week ago that Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson easily could've picked off. Maybe he'll throw a costly interception at some point, but if he does, it'll probably be an isolated incident.

Last year, Tommy Rees threw 14 interceptions, and in a lot of cases they weren't isolated. He threw two interceptions in three of Notre Dame's five losses, and combined with Andrew Hendrix to throw a pair of picks in another defeat.

So far, Golson has looked calm under pressure. Sure, he wasn't given the chance to perform under pressure against Purdue, but he didn't look rattled against a fearsome Michigan State defense in East Lansing.

Coach Brian Kelly still sees room for improvement with Golson, which is pretty obvious. Notre Dame's offensive potential is a whole lot higher than one that just needs to avoid turnovers.

"He did some really good things, but we've got a long way to go," Kelly said of Golson. "He needs to continue to stay on task, Everett, and continue to develop each and every week. There are a lot of things. We are so far from where we need to be offensively. I think a lot of it is just in the stuff that we're doing right now. We don't need to extend the playbook any deeper."

While the defense will be without senior safety Jamoris Slaughter, who was lost for the season with an Achilles injury, it's a strong, talented group. And it's shown to be one that's good enough to carry an offense that's still growing with Golson under center, at least in the first quarter of the season.

Kelly says Notre Dame's offense is nowhere where it needs to be. There's a chance the Irish won't reach that point in 2012. There will be bumps along the road between now and the end of November.

But maybe Notre Dame's offense won't need to reach its full potential for the team to have success -- that's if Golson continues what he's done in these three games. Limit turnovers, and the players around him may be good enough to keep racking up the wins.

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

CSN's Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd preview the Blackhawks' three upcoming games in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Blackhawks have three home games before the NHL All-Star break, which takes place in Los Angeles.

The Blackhawks have dates between the Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Winnipeg Jets. All three opponents are out of the playoff picture, sand Steve Konroyd is looking for the Blackhawks to step up in a certain part of their game: scoring.

See what Boyle and Konroyd had to say in the video above.

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.