With a first-year starter at defensive end and two other linemen trying out new positions next to him, having coach Brian Kelly consistently call this position group the most stable on the Notre Dame defense seemed like a stretch of logic through the preseason.
If the 24-17 win over Michigan is any indication, Kelly knew what he had.
Paced by junior defensive end Khalid Kareem, who played for Farmington Hills Harrison High School, the line combined for 15 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and two quarterback hurries to keep the Wolverines off balance and their running game almost non-existent in the impressive season-opening win. Through the first three quarters, Michigan managed just 178 total yards and converted only three of nine third down plays into first downs.
In his first career start, Kareem was particularly good, recording eight total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one critical quarterback hurry. Kareem’s disruptive play kept Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson out of rhythm and often on his back. Patterson completed 20 of his 30 passes for 227 yards but he had no touchdowns and was picked off once.
One of the tone-setting plays of the game came in the first quarter when Kareem dropped Patterson for a 16-yard sack that took the Wolverines out of field goal range and preserved Notre Dame’s 14-0 lead.
“As long as I go out there and do my job, I feel like I can be the best in the country,” said Kareem, who inherited the starting end position when Jay Hayes decided in April to transfer to Oklahoma.
On Michigan’s final possession and Notre Dame holding a seven-point lead, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Detroit native pressured Patterson into a strip-sack and fumble recovery by senior tackle Jerry Tillery.
LSU loses pass rusher
LSU coach Ed Orgeron says edge pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson will miss the rest if the season because of a knee injury during a season-opening victory over Miami.
Chaisson was a prized 2017 recruit who played often as a freshman reserve and entered his sophomore campaign as the team’s premier pass-rushing outside linebacker. He had one sack in a 33-17 victory on Sunday night that shot LSU up in the AP Top 25 poll from 25th to 11th.
Gamecocks reinstate DB
South Carolina defensive back Javon Charleston, who was suspended nearly three months for his assault and burglary arrest, has been reinstated to the team by Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp.
Muschamp said Tuesday he spoke to Charleston about his case Sunday before allowing him to return to the team.
Charleston was arrested in June for an altercation with several people at a house. His attorney, Neal Lourie, said Charleston was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program for first-time offenders.
The Maryland Terrapins paid tribute to Jordan McNair in a variety of ways Saturday in the opener against Texas, and interim coach Matt Canada said such honors to the sophomore offensive lineman who died of heatstroke June 3 during drills will continue right on through the Big Ten schedule.
... Arkansas State receiver Dahu Green is out for the year after suffering a broken ankle in the season opener.