Notre Dame was supposed to be making a leap in its second season under Brian Kelly. So far, though, all the Fighting Irish have been able to do is dig a hole in their 2011 season opener against USF: the Bulls lead the Irish, 16-0, at halftime in South Bend.
It's been a comedy of errors for Notre Dame, which gave USF the lead on a fumble returned 99 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. The Irish haven't done a ton on offense after that opening drive, squandering another red zone chance with a Dayne Crist interception in the end zone.
But the Irish's special teams and defense have given USF great field position — a muffed punt set the Bulls up for one field goal, and consecutive personal fouls on Harrison Smith set up another — so it's really been a team effort that has produced Notre Dame's early deficit.
On the bright side for Notre Dame? The Irish have outgained the Bulls thus far, despite going one for eight on third down. And that's about it.
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