Everett Golson 'electric' in his return to Notre Dame football

Back from exile, the Notre Dame quarterback stole the show in the season opener against Rice.

Posted on Aug. 30, 2014 at 9:53 p.m.

(The article has been updated to reflect Everett Golson’s eligibility as a senior.) 

NOTRE DAME — The ball sailed 53 yards toward Notre Dame receiver C.J. Prosise, and all he could think about was how he couldn’t drop this one.

Not while Everett Golson was putting on this clinic. He had to catch this one.

The ball floated into Prosise’s hands and carried him into the end zone. Touchdown No. 4 for Golson, who would go on to score one more in a 48-17 dismantling of Rice on Saturday, Aug. 30.

Had Prosise not flat-out dropped a 55-yard pass from Golson earlier in the game, it would have been six touchdowns for the senior.

"Everett’s arm, you just got to get used to it,” Prosise said. “It’s kind of like catching a punt.”

The bomb to Prosise came just two minutes after Golson scrambled 14 yards and dove head first across the pylons for his third score. In his return to Notre Dame Stadium, Golson was nothing short of electric.

After three quarters, Notre Dame’s scoring summary read something like:

  • 11-yard touchdown run
  • 75-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller
  • 14-yard touchdown run
  • 53-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Prosise
  • 4-yard touchdown run

All belonged to Golson.

“Obviously the story of Golson was electric,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “He kept his eyes downfield. Knew when to run, knew when to throw it, and those are things we really talked about.”

Golson threw 22 times and ran 12. He finished 14-of-22 for 295 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 41 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. 

Golson played calm. When Rice forced him out of the pocket, he either extended plays with his feet to find deep receivers or cooly threw the ball away. When gaps opened on the line of scrimmage, he charged.

"It’s something you can’t really teach,” Golson said of turning a broken play into a big gain. “It’s one of those things that in the offseason, that’s what builds that. It’s just find a way to get open. I think we do a great job of that, just getting open.”

He flowed so naturally, that Kelly backed off and let the quarterback work his magic.

“We didn't want to over-coach him in that we were going to allow him today to get outside the pocket and be a football player, and just naturally go play the game,” Kelly said. “And I thought he did that today extraordinarily well. He came back today and I think really showed the kind of player that he can be.”

If there’s one root to Golson’s breakout performance Saturday, it’s the confidence Kelly said the quarterback exhibited in the last week. 

“For the last four or five days, he carried himself with a great deal of confidence, confidence with his teammates, and directing, really, the offense in a number of ways,” Kelly said.

His newfound confidence was a recurring theme throughout spring camp and into the summer. On Saturday — on his biggest stage in 600 days — it shined.

"We kind of called this a ’payday,’” Golson said. “You know, you go through all of spring, through all the cold and everything for a moment like this. It’s definitely payday for us.”

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