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Like Temple, Notre Dame will have a new starting QB for the opener

While Temple has staged a QB battle since the spring, Notre Dame's Brandon Wimbush has been the known starter for quite some time.

Notre Dame’s new starting quarterback, Brandon Wimbush, center, throws during the Notre Dame spring football Blue-Gold game on Saturday, April 22, 2017.
Notre Dame’s new starting quarterback, Brandon Wimbush, center, throws during the Notre Dame spring football Blue-Gold game on Saturday, April 22, 2017.Read moreROBERT FRANKLIN / AP

While Temple's unsettled quarterback situation has drawn much attention, the Owls' opening opponent has had a much more stable situation.

When Notre Dame plays host to Temple on Saturday, junior Brandon Wimbush will be making his first career start. Unlike Temple, there was no question about Wimbush's status entering preseason practice.

And even though he has just five career passing attempts and didn't see action at all last year, Wimbush is highly regarded, a dual threat who has patiently waited his turn.

Last season, DeShone Kizer, who became a second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, was the starting quarterback. Malik Zaire, now at the University of Florida, was in reserve.

"Their quarterback is athletic, mobile, and has a cannon for an arm," Temple coach Geoff Collins said of Wimbush.

Listed as 6-foot-1 ¾ and 228 pounds, Wimbush has both speed and power as a runner.

The strategy for both teams should be the same concerning the quarterback position.

"They are playing with a young quarterback and I imagine they will try to establish the running game," Temple defensive end Jacob Martin said.

The Notre Dame running game is led by  Josh Adams, a 6-2, 225-pound junior from Central Bucks South who rushed for 1,768 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first two years.

As with most Notre Dame quarterbacks, Wimbush came with impressive high school credentials. He played for St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J.,  and was a first-team MaxPreps all-American as an athlete and was rated the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by

As a senior in 2014, he completed 192 of 265 passes for 3,187 yards, 37 touchdowns, and four interceptions, and rushed for 723 yards and five touchdowns in leading his team to the Non-Public State Group 4 championship.

Now the question is whether he can produce as a starter for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly likes the intangibles that Wimbush brings.

"I think really where it starts for most quarterbacks that I have coached is their ability to move through a poor play and get to the next play, let it go and move on to the next play, not let it affect the next one," Kelly said  this week. "He has the great ability to show, and I know you hear this quite a bit now, it's chronicled everywhere, but he has a passion for the game and he's got perseverance."

During Notre Dame's spring game, Wimbush completed 22 of 32 passes for 303 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was sacked seven times, but the defense wasn't allowed to touch the quarterbacks, so that is a little misleading. Many of those sacks he would have escaped.

Kelly understands that a first-time starter will make mistakes, but that doesn't concern him.

"If he makes a mistake, he fights through it and he gets to the next play," Kelly said.

Besides having a strong running game, Wimbush will benefit from a highly regarded receiving corps led by Equanimeous St. Brown, a 6-5 203-pound junior who had 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns.

So Wimbush will have plenty of weapons, and like Temple's starting quarterback, either redshirt junior Frank Nutile or redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, he will have a strong support group.

Notre Dame doesn't need Wimbush to carry the offense, just to play mistake-free football.