Eye in the Sky: October

Senior LT and co-captain, Zack Martin

Part II of our look at Notre Dame's top 10 players and honorable mention choices for each game this season per Irisheyes.com film reviews. Next in the series: an October stretch during which the Irish emerged from curiosity to championship contender.

The final Irisheyes.com Top 10 won't be cemented until after the BCS Championship game (that should probably weigh heavily on some choices, don't you think?). But with three months and 12 wins already in the books, its time to examine the standings -- and process for choosing the Top 10 -- to date.

Next: a look back at a 4-0 October with our Top 10 players for each game as well as honorable mention selections when applicable:

(Click here for Part I and our Top 10s for September.)

Notre Dame 41 Miami 3

Forced to sit out the opening drive after a minor rules violation (tardiness), Golson played his best game through the first five and among his top three of the season vs. the then-high scoring Hurricanes. It was his first as a true dual-threat quarterback with head coach Brian Kelly unveiling the read-option keeper and Golson gaining 51 first half yards as a result.

Top 10: Everett Golson (MVP), Bob Diaco (Def. MVP), Cierre Wood, George Atkinson, Manti Te'o, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Christian Lombard, Mike Golic, Braxston Cave, Zack Martin, Troy Niklas.

Honorable Mention: Stephon Tuitt, Prince Shembo, Chris Watt, T.J. Jones, Tyler Eifert, Bennett Jackson, Keivarae Russell, Dan Fox, Ishaq Williams.

Notre Dame 20 Stanford 13 OT

For purists, one of the best Notre Dame football games of the last 15 seasons:

Top 10: Louis Nix (Film Review MVP); Stephon Tuitt and Manti Te'o ("At First Glance" MVPs), Matthias Farley, Tyler Eifert (Off. MVP), T.J. Jones, Theo Riddick, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Zeke Motta, Bennett Jackson.

Honorable Mention: Zack Martin, KeiVarae Russell, Tommy Rees, Cierre Wood, Dan Fox, Shembo
Special Mention: Carlo Calabrese (game-saving stop at the goal).

Notre Dame 17 Brigham Young 14

The reality of the dreaded sandwich game reared its ugly head as Notre Dame wilted in the second quarter, falling behind 14-7 with backup Tommy Rees starting, and finishing the contest for the injured Golson.

Top 10: Theo Riddick (MVP), Louis Nix (Def. MVP), Kapron Lewis-Moore, Cierre Wood, Zack Martin, Tyler Eifert, Chris Watt, Stephon Tuitt, Manti Te'o, Danny Spond.

Honorable Mention: Braxston Cave, Prince Shembo, Ben Turk

Notre Dame 30 Oklahoma 13

Kelly's Irish officially entered the BCS championship picture with this thorough handling of the heavily favored Sooners in Norman.

Top 10: Everett Golson (Off MVP), Manti Te'o and Bob Diaco (MVPs), Louis Nix, Zeke Motta, Zack Martin, Cierre Wood, Tyler Eifert, Chris Watt, KeiVarae Russell, Mike Golic.

Honorable Mention: Dan Fox, Braxston Cave, Bennett Jackson, Kyle Brindza, Cam McDaniel (KR), T.J. Jones, DaVaris Daniels, Stephon Tuitt, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Kona Schwenke.
Special Mention: Chris Brown

Top 10 Irish through September AND October

Martin, Watt, and Lewis-Moore took major steps forward after an uneven September…

  1. Manti Te'o
  2. Louis Nix
  3. Stephon Tuitt
  4. Tyler Eifert
  5. Zack Martin
  6. Kapron Lewis-Moore
  7. Prince Shembo
  8. Theo Riddick
  9. Zeke Motta
  10. Chris Watt

Just Missed (Sept/Oct): Everett Golson, Bennett Jackson, T.J. Jones, Cierre Wood, KeiVare Russell, Danny Spond.
Surging (October only): Dan Fox, Braxston Cave, Matthias Farley, DaVaris Daniels

(Part III and a look back at the season's final month and Top 10 candidates entering the BCS Championship game will be published Saturday…)

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