DALLAS -- The predictability of Notre Dame's offense was a common critique through the team's first five games, but to some extent that changed Saturday against Arizona State.
Beyond running on passing downs and converting a few empty-set chances, there was a more subtle tweak that caught Arizona State's defense off guard.
"They started taking fade shots a lot more into the field, which we didn't expect," cornerback Osahon Irabor said. "That usually comes to the boundary, and they were doing that to the field. So we were trying to make adjustments with our technique on the other side of the field and stuff like that."
T.J. Jones gave Arizona State's secondary fits on those fade routes, and caught eight passes for 135 yards with a touchdown. DaVaris Daniels chipped in with four catches for 67 yards, and Tommy Rees threw for 279 yards in the 37-34 Irish win.
Sun Devils coach Todd Graham, though, didn't necessarily see things the same way as his cornerback.
"They didn't run many things we didn't practice," he said. "It was just getting beat on fade."
But from Irabor's comments, it would seem Notre Dame had Arizona State's defense on its heels Saturday at AT&T Stadium. And that's probably the first time the Irish offense did that to a team all year.
"They definitely surprised us a little bit," Irabor said. "They did some things that we weren't prepared for and we tried to make adjustments on the fly."