Dayne Crist has been named the Irish starting quarterback.  Coach Kelly made the difficult decision Tuesday. Dayne Crist battled out Sophomore Tommy Rees for the starting job.

Crist didn’t play as a freshman in 2008 and then tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 2009 season as a backup. He made it back through  rehab, was able to practice in Kelly’s first spring a year ago and emerged — as expected — as the No. 1 quarterback.

Then, last Oct. 30 against Tulsa, Crist suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee, creating a here-we-go-again scenario for a quarterback who had made great strides in Kelly’s new spread offense but was still trying to learn its intricacies and avoid mistakes

Crist didn’t have a great spring practice but improved during summer workouts and then again in preseason camp.

“He is a much better football player, he is a much better quarterback. And I would say quite frankly and honestly, he’s the kind of guy I want to coach,” Kelly said.

Crist completed 59 percent of his passes with 15 TD passes and seven interceptions a year ago. He hit 174 of 294 attempts for 2,033 yards. Rees was 100 of 164 (61 percent) for 1,106 yards with 12 TD throws and eight passes intercepted.

Notre Dame is ranked #16 in the preseason poll. The fighting Irish begin their season Saturday, September 3rd against the University of South Florida. Hopes are high for the Irish this season.


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