Golson inherited the starting quarterback’s job when Tommy Rees was suspended for the opener, punishment for his May arrest for a skirmish with police after an off-campus party. Kelly has said repeatedly that Golson is the Irish quarterback, but his hold on the job seemed tenuous after Rees had to bail him out against both Purdue and Michigan.
This time, it was Golson off the bench with a big day.
He was benched for the first series after being late to practice — a meeting with a professor ran long, and he hadn’t told Kelly ahead of time — and Rees was run off the field in three plays. But the Hurricanes gave the Irish a second chance when Gabriel Terry was called for roughing the punter, and Golson took over.
‘‘I understand it was a team violation. That was the consequences I had to deal with,’’ Golson said. ‘‘I just kind of knew when I got my time I had to go out there and have fun and manage the team.’’
He led the Irish to scores on their first three drives, and would have made it four out of five if Kyle Brindza’s 34-yard field goal attempt hadn’t squeaked right. The running game took over in the second half — the Irish ground out 270 yards in the final 30 minutes — with the Irish scoring on all four of their drives. Wood set the tone on the very first one, taking off from the Miami 39 and ripping off a long run up the right sideline that looked like it was good for a touchdown. But reviews showed he stepped out at the 2. No matter. He rumbled right up the middle on the next play to give Notre Dame a 20-3 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the third.
The Irish chewed up 86 yards, all on the ground, on their next drive, capping it with a 3-yard run by Wood. That gave Notre Dame a 27-3 lead, and the game was all but out of reach.