The suspension of standout wide receiver DaVaris Daniels was supposed to sink the Notre Dame offense, but the unit has instead excelled, carrying the team to a 3-0 start to the season after Saturday's 30-14 victory over Purdue.
The only other time the Irish started the year 3-0 under head coach Brian Kelly was in 2012, when the team went all the way to the national title game.
The catalyst for the team's early surge has without question been quarterback Everett Golson, who missed all of last season due to an eligibility issue.
Golson was the lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable performance by the Irish, completing 25-of-40 passes for 259 yards and two scores, churning out 56 yards and an additional score on the ground.
Golson was a borderline Heisman candidate in 2012, and was poised for a strong campaign in 2013 before losing the year. Now back under center, he's giving the Irish that Heisman-caliber campaign he couldn't give them a year ago.
The team is off for a week before returning to play Syracuse in a cupcake matchup. The schedule gets tough from there with a game against Stanford on deck, and games against Florida State, Arizona State and USC in the pipeline.
The Irish offense will be tested, but Golson has been up to the task each and every time so far.
Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Brian Spurlock