A slow first quarter in South Bend has to be exasperating for Utah fans who came in expecting fireworks and validation after last week's epic faceplant against TCU. The Irish lean early on Cierre Wood, whose four consecutive carries comprised Notre Dame's entire first offensive series.
Penalties kill Utah's first offensive series, and the Utes settle for a 47-yard field goal. Tommy Rees is your latest starting quarterback for Notre Dame, and he and Wood combine for another three-and-out.
The Irish are about to get it back, however, as Jordan Wynn is intercepted at Utah's 49-yard line. A sack on first down pushes Notre Dame far back enough to force another three-and-out. Utah goes 13 yards on its next drive and gets a punt blocked for a 10-yard touchdown by Robert Blanton. The Utes return the ensuing kickoff for 43 yards, and commit a 10-yard penalty. A pattern is emerging here, and it's not a pretty one.
At the end of the first quarter, Notre Dame leads No. 15 Utah, 7-3.