Irish have Pitt defense on its heels

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- This is how the Notre Dame offense under Brian Kelly is supposed to look. In fact, it looks a lot like the way Cincinnati used to slice through Pittsburgh.

The Irish have put together two long touchdown drives in a row and they have the Panthers' defense on its heels. Kelly has neutralized the pass rush by the Pitt front four with quick throws and inside handoffs from the shotgun. Everybody knows the soft underbelly of the Pitt defense is over the middle, and that's exactly where Dayne Crist is going with the ball.

Crist has 11 straight completions and looks as sharp as he has all year. He's making the right reads, getting the ball out of his hand quickly and doing all the things a Kelly-coached quarterback has to do.

Notre Dame leads 14-3, but Pitt has only itself to blame for not being tied. The Panthers twice drove to the Irish 10-yard line but had to settle for two field goal tries, missing one of the chip shots. Dave Wannstedt's team can't leave points on the field with the way Kelly's offense is humming so far.