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  • Riddick Carries Irish Past Cougars

    by John Vannie

    Theo Riddick’s determined runs in clutch situations enabled mistake-prone Notre Dame to get past a tough BYU team by a 17-14 margin. For the second consecutive week, the Irish clawed back from a halftime deficit created by turnovers, penalties and uncharacteristic breakdowns on defense. With their perfect season on the line, Coach Brian Kelly turned to the ground game to turn the tide. Riddick and Cierre Wood responded by rushing for 257 yards, setting up the go-ahead points early in the fourth quarter and icing the victory in the final six minutes.

    Notre Dame seemed to be in control in the first quarter with Tommy Rees at the helm for the injured (concussion) Everett Golson. A promising opening drive ended when Kyle Brindza missed a 40-yard field goal, but Manti Te’o made his presence felt on BYU’s first possession by intercepting a Riley Nelson pass. The Irish offense got untracked  later in the first period when Rees hit Tyler Eifert for 29 yards and Wood ran for 22 more to set up a four yard touchdown toss to Eifert at the 1:30 mark.

    The second quarter belonged to the Cougars as Notre Dame’s three chances ended in a costly penalty, an interception, and another missed field goal by Brindza. Meanwhile, Nelson began to find wideout Cody Hoffman and tight end Kaneakua Friel, and tailback Jamaal Williams took advantage of poor tackling by the Irish. BYU scored twice in the period, and in each case the Cougars capitalized on good field position and costly penalties by Notre Dame. Nelson threw scoring passes to Hoffman and Friel to give his team a 14-7 lead while the Irish seemed to lack intensity and focus.

    BYU’s defense continued to hang tough by stopping Notre Dame early in the third quarter. The Cougars threatened to widen their lead by driving into Irish territory, but a 46-yard field goal attempt by Justin Sorenson missed badly at the 6:31 mark. Time was becoming a factor, however, and Riddick responded by maintaining his balance through the hole on a third and one play and turning it into a 55-yard romp to the BYU eight. The Cougar defense stiffened and forced a short field goal by Brindza that cut the deficit to 14-10.

    The Irish forced a punt on the next series, and Rees immediately lofted a 31-yard duck that was hauled in by T.J. Jones at the BYU 41. Riddick took over with help from Wood and willed Notre Dame to the Cougar two yard line. Rees then faked to Riddick and pitched to George Atkinson, who eluded BYU’s safety and finished the drive with a go-ahead touchdown.

    The crowd came alive as the Cougars were forced to start the next series deep in their own end. They compounded the problem by committing a holding penalty on first down, but the Irish let them off the hook when Louis Nix grabbed Nelson’s facemask on third and 16. Given new life, Nelson engineered a drive that took BYU into Irish territory. Just when it appeared that the Cougars would get in position to tie or take the lead, Stephon Tuitt sacked Nelson during an all-out blitz to end the threat. Notre Dame caught a break when BYU’s punt barely crossed the goal line for a touchback.

    Kelly stayed on the ground in an attempt to burn the final six minutes of time while nursing a three point lead. Once again, Riddick converted a key third down and five, and Wood followed with a 22-yard burst.  The Irish left only 22 seconds of time when they finally punted the ball into the Cougar end zone. Danny Spond picked off a desperation heave by Nelson two plays later and Notre Dame took a knee for the win.

    The game was low on style points but nevertheless very satisfying because the Irish were able to impose their will on a quality opponent that came into the contest with a stellar record against the run. BYU had a solid plan and frustrated Notre Dame by converting on several third downs, covering the Irish pass receivers extremely well, and dictating field position with excellent special teams play. In the final analysis, Notre Dame’s superior size and talent made the difference in the outcome.

    Let’s review the answers to the pregame questions for the other keys to victory:

    Can the Irish protect the quarterback and allow him to get into a comfortable rhythm? Rees was not unduly pressured, but he was not at all sharp in this game. His only completion in the second quarter was to BYU’s Kyle Van Noy.

    Will Notre Dame’s special teams equalize or even win the field position battle? Not at all. BYU out-punted the Irish and Brindza missed two of three field goal attempts. His kickoffs were solid though. Notre Dame’s punt and kickoff returns continue to be anemic.

    Can BYU get its running game going against the tough Irish front seven? Williams had some nice runs, but the Cougars were not able to sustain a ground attack throughout the day. They finished with only 66 net yards.

    How will the BYU secondary fare against Notre Dame’s array of backs, receivers and tight ends? Very well. The Cougars forced Notre Dame’s receivers to make tough catches and flustered Rees all day.

    Will the Irish secondary be able to focus on Hoffman or will other options emerge for Nelson? Hoffman caught eight passes and Nelson hit Williams out of the backfield for seven completions, but most of those were shovel passes. BYU lacked a true deep threat and Nelson botched his only second half chance by missing a wide open Hoffman behind the Irish safeties.

    Which team will win the turnover battle? The Cougars had two interceptions to Notre Dame’s one, but Rees’ miscue cost the Irish seven points.

    Will it ever stop raining in South Bend? The sky was relatively clear but it threatened to rain Irish tears until late in the day.

    Notre Dame survives and moves to 7-0 on the season as they get ready to travel to what is sure to be a hostile reception in Norman, Oklahoma. Kelly announced that Golson will start this game, and the Irish will need to be firing on all cylinders to remain unbeaten.

    69 Responses to “Riddick Carries Irish Past Cougars”

    1. Now that is a GREAT paragraph (on the heals of a messy, but great comeback game).

    2. wasn’t beautiful,but a win is a win. Bring on the Sooners.

    3. nice win. But I’m still not convinced. Next week will tell a lot.

      • Convinced of what? Back in August..you surely didn’t think ND was going to be in the NC conversation heading into the Oklahoma game. Then it must be that you’re still not convinced that Kelly will succeed at ND.

    4. This was a poorly coached and played game right down to the closing minute. Wasted Reese with all that 1st half passing w/o play action & it doomed the whole offensive plan. ND had to punch them in the mouth just like BYU was trying to do. Woke up in 2nd half but still looked flat. Oh yeah, why punt with 30 some seconds left on BYU’s 35? A run after time out would reduce the clock and may have made the 1st? Poor play calling!

      • How could you not punt? It was 4th down. Why in the world would we go for it in that instance. Punting was 100% the right call. Clock will stop on change of possession. Not sure you have any idea what you are talking about.

    5. Thank god they pulled their heads out of their poop shoots. Tommy Reese provided enough examples as to why he is not the starter. Thought I was in 2011 for a second. Ill be in Norman next week and I pray they pull it together and bring their A-Game. GO IRISH

      • El Capitano says:

        Revising my position from last week, I do want Golson to start next week. With Reese for Solent it began to feel like last year. Not a good feeling at all.

    6. irishhawk50 says:

      A poor showing by the Irish, but still a win. I don’t know how long they can basically just depend on the defense to win games. Rees was not impressive, but hopefully gained some valuable reps in case he is needed at Norman next week.

      Hopefully they will come with their A game next week against Oklahoma. Go Irish!

    7. Running the ball is fine – go for it! But — occasionally mix it up – don’t keep calling the same play over
      and over again.

      ie. a number of times Rees or just about anybody at qb could have picked 10+ yards running left
      with a fake to the back going right.

      or on the last drive, why not at least 1 time giving it to the back running left instead of the fake?

      but, overall, a nice win

      I expect we’ll be dogs next week at Norman – however, I think ND will play the game of their life and
      eek out a win. ND 21 OU 17 – take it to the bank w/ Golson starting

    8. borromini says:

      My head hurts…don’t see how I’ll survive Norman if it’s another nail biter.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        The key to the Sooners’ game is Golson. If he avoids throwing picks and fumbling, the Irish will escape Norman with a 3-point victory.

    9. ND found a way t win. That is RU! But this kind of ineffient offense, and penalty-prone individuals will cost the next game. ND had better develop the offense up to an efficient operation. Got to GET OUT OF THIS OFFENSIVE FUNK!

    10. Brian in Cleve. says:

      I’m not going to nitpick. Quite pleased here. It was a ‘W.’ The Irish won a hard-fought contest against a tough, determined opponent-who matched up well with the Irish – on what we all have to consider an “off” day for the Irish. Without our starting QB, whose agility we missed in the second and third quarters, our guys fought through the funk of a post-Stanford emotional come-down, did what they had to do, showed us they cared, and won the game. Lou Holtz used to say you can only have 2 or 3 emotional peaks per season, and we weren’t going to waste one on the Cougars. That will come next week. (And on Nov. 24th).

    11. Len Driscoll says:

      Itwas not a Reese miscue. The intercepion is on Daniels. The ball hit him smack between first his two hands then his two eyes.

      • John Vannie says:

        Rees threw the ball too hard in that instance. A little bit of touch on that pass would have gone a long way. Daniels is not blameless but it was not all on him.

        • 95% on the receiver.

          • If you look at that pass it was way too high for a pass over the middle. That pass is thrown correctly it is a completion all the way. Granted he could have caught it but to try to hand catch a pass thrown that hard is tough. Rees was high all day long. Kelly needs to generate some offense next week and better improve his passing game. The wounded duck,Denard Robinson passes wont work at OU.

            • blazelikeachampiontoday says:

              If that ball was thrown too hard for the receiver, he shouldn’t be playing at ND. The ball was slightly tipped before it got to the receiver, so if Rees threw it softer, it could have been picked even before the opportunity for a catch.

    12. martinjordan says:

      I think Kelly was looking for an excuse to make Rees the starter and if Tommy had had a good game he would be. Instead our identity as a running team was reinforced further and that suits Golson’s skill set.

      1. Tommy started strong but Golic’s and Niklaus’ penalties hurt.
      2. When Kelly committed to the run on the last drive of the first half it worked.
      3. It was good to see Hendrix contribute a nice run to that drive.
      4. After running the ball 70 yards down the field Kelly decided to pass on second and third downs before the missed FG?
      5. In the first half the time outs were wasted avoiding delay of game penalties.
      6. The special teams were poor.
      7. The consecutive quarters without allowing a TD streak ended at 17.
      8. The secondary had a poor game and BYU had a good gameplan.
      9. Danny Spond made several key plays.
      10. Is Sheldon Day hurt? Ishaq Williams and Prince Shembo have also been quiet lately.
      11. We escaped the trap.
      12. I think we’ll play much better at Oklahoma.

    13. I will take the win.. Only thing I can say is I hope we cut down on mistakes.. Get our special teams back on track, and I would like to start seeing some quick slants by our passing game and screens and quick outs.. Throwing the ball up for grabs everytime is going to catch up to us soon.. Where is the check downs to running backs comingn5 yards out the back field.. And is Golic our best option out there cause he is costing us.. 2 weeks in a row he has jumped offsides in the red zone and he is missing his blocks and getting beat too many times.. A win is a win but if we play like this next week it could get ugly..

      • Our special teams have never been on track with Kelly. When was the last time we had a game changing punt return? When was the last time we blocked a punt? When was the last time Turk punted us into some field position? Kelly’s special teams stink, period. He needs to get an offense and special teams to compliment the defense. We will never be in Alabama’s class until we become great in all three areas of the game.

        • You know I have wondered the same thing. I was watching the game, and noticed something I guess I had missed previously, but when we receive a punt, there are NO ND players back where the punter is. I mean 0, none, nada zip. Now how in the world, is Neal supposed to be able to return a punt, without any help. Where do all the ND players go??? This has got to be the craziest thing I have ever seen, and I can’t believe I never noticed it before. What sense does it make to call a fair catch, and start inside the 20 on EVERY PUNT. I mean if we are going to make this the norm for punt returns, why do you even put a guy back to catch it? Why take the chance he is going to muff it, because if he does, there is no one from ND there to help recover. Not sure who the jackass is, who is running special teams, but he ought to be fired. Do you think every other team in the top 10 covers punts this way??? I think not. It is a joke. I can’t even believe the coaching staff is content with this.

          • kaf@ntrs.com says:

            100% agree with your assessment. There were zero ND players downfield on the punt returns and 6 BYU players running at Neal every time. What were the 5 ND guys doing that weren’t blocking downfield? Miss the Lou Holtz special teams where we could count on a score almost every game. Those were game changers and in many cases, game winners. I’d even settle for positive yardage on returns rather than just fair catching each time. Hey Brian Kelly, you can win games with your special teams — look into it.

    14. My guess is Golson could have started, but was busy studying Oklahoma all last week. Smart move by Kelly…

      • interesting thought. Anyone else have a comment on it?

      • Concur.

      • Makes sense to me.
        ND dominates this game yet barely wins. Poorly coached, mindless penalties and countless blown opportunities have me remembering the Michigan, Tulsa and South Fl games from the last 2 years. This team was not ready for this game. BYU IS NOT A GOOD TEAM. We almost let them win.
        Why not use Hendrix more in this game when they are running so well? Was Golic making the decisions? Just crazy not to use our weapons properly,
        ND will be ready in Norman and we will win
        Gameday also in Norman next week

        • Agreed. Rees, although having become a fan favorite, was used outside of his role. But you can understand what Kelly was doing; saving Golson for OK. Thank God for the super running game yesterday! This was certainly a flat day…poor discipline, lousy special teams, and crummy red zone play. Even the best teams have days like this. Oh well, a win is a win. The appropriate players stepped up. Get ready for the Sooners!

      • Wishful thinking.

        EG didnt start because he didnt get a full week to prepare and Kelly wanted to be sure he was fully recovered from the head injury.

        Kelly has been consistent in wanting to put EG into situations in which he is comfortable, so he plays within his capabilities. That’s why he got pulled after throwing the bad pass against Michigan. He looked uncomfortable and the game situation seemed too big for him.

        I take Kelly at this word.

        No one was preparing for the Sooners before Sunday. That includes EG.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        I find that hard to believe. A red-shirt freshman only gets better with reps and if we hand’t beaten BYU, the Oklahoma game would’ve been far less meaningful. What seems weird is that Golson was cleared for practice on Tuesday and yet doesn’t start or play on Saturday. It may be that Kelly decided to give Rees a week to prove whether he was up to the task of starting. Whatever the case, it’s reasonably clear that neither Golson nor Rees ultimately has do much more than be a solid game manager. This team increasingly reminds me of the Jets back when the Jets could run the ball consistently.

    15. Joe Schaefer ND '59 says:

      Two missed field goals and a gift TD from the Big East replay officials; otherwise, ND beats the spread and likely loses no ground in the BCS. Here’s what we have to look forward to: Pitt, Big East on field and replay officiating (the conference that ND has killed); Wake Forest, Big East on field and replay officiating (the game with a conference that ND will bring football respectability to at the expense of the Big East); and finally, SC where the PAC 12 officials may attempt “get even” calls because of the Stanford game. Salvation is beating the goo out of Pitt and win Wake Forest to the extent that the Big East might feel shame in pulling a Candy Crowley. But, what if ND is allowed to bring its officials to SC? Who are they? Maybe ND should bring the Big 10!

    16. NDBonecrusher says:

      A few observations:
      1-Can’t leave that many points off the board.If you get inside the red zone you need to get 6. If you can’t get 6 you damn well better get 3. If you can’t get 3 you lose to the Sooners. Agree with above-Special Teams were putrid.
      2-2nd half the team looked downright–dare I say it–Holtzian. Stingy defense (no points allowed) and smash mouth running between the tackles. Just needed a Reggie Ho or Craig Hentrich (see #1 above). Is this the offense’s “identity”?
      3-Golson should start. Today illustrated Rees’s limitations.
      4-Pass to #80. Repeat as needed.
      5-This victory ain’t gonna win any beauty contests but Holtz didn’t beat everyone by 5 touchdowns either. Beats the heck out of losing at home to an unranked team who played very well. ND has been outstanding as Road Warriors. Go Irish Beat Sooners!

      • Regarding point 5. A win is a win. In addition to Holtz not beating everyone by 5 touchdowns – neither did Knute, Frank, Ara or Dan. Go Irish!

    17. I’m so glad the legend of Tommy Rees has been exposed. Look he came in and played well, or better than anyone thought he could, but this game shows he is severely limited.

      Those 25 yard hail marys he throws up won’t cut it against a good team. Yes he can read the defense, and that’s about it. Kelly would not let him pass at all, which says a lot about him and a lot about Kelly but I will leave that alone.

      Can’t wait for next week, OU is a spread pass team so the secondary will be challenged. Notre Dame has to get pressure on Landry Jones and Golson has to have his best game.

    18. Well it was sloppy, flat and un creative. I really thought we could lose at the half. Thankfully the D found their mojo in the 2nd half. They started getting pressure and flying to the ball. To those who keep calling for Reese I think you can see what you would get. I will admit he has had better days accuracy wise and he is clutch. I think it is best to keep him in reserve. He plays his best in difficult situations and I think part of his effectiveness is the change of pace. I like how Golsen responded after the bad MI outing and bye week. He is going to have to play his best game to beat OU. This game won’t be lingering in anyone’s mind by year end….it was totally a trap and they survived it. The team will be ready next week and I expect us to control OU running game which is there strong suit. I think OU will be cocky as they have been playing great and running up the score…sometimes it can be a little shocking when you run into a D that is a buzz saw when you have been scoring like crazy. Winning will come down to offensive execution, winning the trenches and turnovers. I don’t think we will intimidated or physically wooped…..it is a winnable game but we will have to play the best game we have played since the Holtz era. Just remember OU has laid some strange eggs in the Stoops era and ND has a history (distant as it may be) of eaking out big wins on the biggest stages.

    19. I think we all need to be realistic. We will most likely be an 8-10 point underdog next week. I am hoping for 11-1 or 10-2 with a big BCS win. This should propel us into next year.

      I love this team and we are getting a great deal out of them. They just have some limitations and some of the expectations have gotten a little ahead or reality. I am hoping we play a great game next week and have a punchers chance in the 4th quarter.

      If we can get out of next week ok, we should have a chance to build a little mo before USC. That game will determine the quality of our BCS opponent.

    20. Today’s game shows that we have to play much cleaner error free football to beat a good team.One thing that is driving me craazy is watching our punt return team.We don’t ever seem to be trying to block a punt but it seems we also can’t block anyone on the other team from getting down field.There are always 3 or 4 guys waiting for Davonte Neal to caught the punt.Neal is susposed to be super explosive but we never give him a chance to do anything

    21. Just when it looked like special teams were coming around, this happens. Very disheartening to drive down field and not get points. Big momentum (and buzz) killer. Oh well, time to get some respect in Oklahoma. Irish train is about to hit that covered wagon.

    22. Lets be realistic here
      Tommy is not the man. He is slow beyond slow. BK is calling a game offensively that is true vanilla because of Tommy.

      We can not win the big games with an offense so stiffled because of a lack of offensive punch. It kills me to watch the top 4 so far in advance of us speed-wise and up tempo on offense.

      BK needs to realize such a good defense can not make up for the under achieving offense time and time again. He has the tools to do it in the offense and I do not undertand why he will not use them. The pre-game announcement that EG was benched for the game was a complete failure …just let BYU know we will not have a mobile QB ready to play and give BYU the edge…really bad

    23. are we not supposed to complain about the blatant incompletion in the end zone by byu that was ruled a touchdown? is that the deal for getting the stop last week? there is no way anyone who looked at that could have called it a completion. no way.

      • kaf@ntrs.com says:

        Did you see the OSU-Purdue game? OSU’s last “touchdown” in regulation was even worse. It never should have been called a touchdown, you can actually see it bounce before it gets to the receiver’s hands. It looked more like a basketball game.

    24. Our special teams punt returns are probably the worst ive ever seen in college football behind william and mary school of the blind. Why can’t we block for Neal on punt returns? Is it really that hard to lay a few blocks for him? Oregon, Alabama, LSU always seem to do it, good football teams do, Even teams like Ball State can spring punt returns sometimes. I’m convinced that its the way we line up on punt return formations. We need to change that crap up because its not working whatsoever. No one blocks in the middle, its like they have a free run down the field, ive never seen anyone not block like that before. We need to load the box on punt returns and meet them at the point of attack right away. Not let them get a head start running like that. And if we are going to run the ball 1 million times a game, can we at least get a little more creative and do different run plays? Not the same freakin play over and over again? A good team like Oklahoma will surely stop that and we will need to find another way to move the ball. As of right now I dont see Notre Dame winning next week. i hope they do, but this offense is just too lackluster right now for me to believe in. I feel that our defense will always keep us in every game this year and I do not think that we will get blown out at all. I think we lose a close game something like 24-17. I think Everett Golson should start too, I was a fan of tommy rees but after seeing him sluggish most of the game maybe he is truly a better “closer” than starter. Although I will say though that having played wide receiver for 11 years that interception tommy threw is on the wide reciever Daniels. He has got to catch that ball, it hit him right in the face, tommy rees doesnt have a 100 mile an hr fast ball that cant be caught. thats what separates good recievers from cruddy ones, he has got to make that catch. Go Irish good luck in Norman. I am a big fan of this site and all of the great fans we have. love to read everyones opinions and insight. Keep it up.

      • Anyone who professes to have played wide receiver for eleven years and then uses a statement like cruddy makes me wonder. Rees needed to hit him in the chest with the ball. You throw high over the middle that is what you have happen.

    25. gettysburgirish says:

      methinks our boys might have been looking past BYU no matter what Kelly says…..

    26. Larry Delaney '60 says:

      I think Reese played well against a very good BYU team. BYU had the best QB we have faced all year.

      I have two problems with Kelly; first is getting an offensive play called and wasting timeouts. Second, why punt at the end of the game? A running play would have left a few seconds on the clock.

      The running game was great to see!

      Our defense is good and getting better each game. GO IRISH!

      • Ugh! Enough with the people questioning the decision to punt at the end of the game. We were on the 35 yard line and were unlikely to pick up a first down. You punt! They only needed a field goal to tie. Make them go as far as possible. They got a touchback which pushes them away an additional 15 yards. If we down it inside the 20, its gravy. In fact Kelly yelled at Turk when he came off for not keeping it in play and killing more clock. it was the right call!

    27. TMONTY14ND says:

      7-0! I’m booked for Norman and according to an OU website so is gameday. While it wasn’t a pretty win Saturday, enjoy this season people. Remember coming in that all the experts said 8 wins would be tough with our schedule and NOBODY would have thought 7-0 was possible back in August.

    28. Great to win and be 7-0 but is is apparent that the big difference between ND and the other top teams is quarterback play.

      If we could combine best traits of Golson and Rees, we would be able compete with anyone……unfortunately we can’t…..so our chances to win next week are remote…..

      To have any chance, we will need a big turnover margin and for Golson to play even better than he did in Chicago versus Miami

      Let’s hope…..go Irish!!!!!!!

    29. this win was a win that would have been a loss in years past. that is the huge positive. the negatives however are many. Kelly continues to do a poor job with the offense and special teams.
      1) Our special teams have to be the worst of any ranked teams and among the worst in all of college football. Punt returning is not in kelly’s game plan. he has essentially forfeited one third of the game plan by ignoring special teams.
      2) for all the people who were pushing for T Rees to play more now you see what the rest of us have seen for two years. ND cant win consistently with him as QB. Granted we won yesterday and that is because we didnt need him to throw in the second half. If we had needed him to deliver we would have lost. Pick one receiver before the snap and lock in on him and force the ball. NO mobility. very weak arm. his best pass is a twenty yard hail mary high in the air and hope that the receiver will out jump the defense. He is ok for a series to switch things up but as a consistent QB I dont know if I have seen one worse in Division I football over the past two years.

      • Reese is not that bad, and had he been given more reps this season who knows how he would have turned out. I suspect he is a lttle more than upset with this situation, but the worst in Division I youre not looking hard enough.

    30. Like others I am very glad to get the win, but even happier to put an end to all the Rees conversations about being the starter. He has done a good job in relief, but he is not a starter. The entire offense looks significantly less athletic, less speed, when he is in the game. The QB sets the personality for the entire offense. Gholson may not be mature enough yet, but he has the athleticism to be on the field with Stanford, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Even if we rested him just to protect reinjury, it was a good move – we would have been DOA in Norman with Rees as the starter.

      • kaf@ntrs.com says:

        The only thing Golson has to stop doing is trying to win the game by himself every time. He never pitches the ball at the right time when they play the option and he throws the ball into coverage when he shouldn’t, often resulting in turnovers.

    31. NDBonecrusher says:

      TMonty14 bring home the victory! Everyone going out to Oklahoma cheer loud for the boys. Huge, huge, huge, huge game! Anybody know if the Band is going?

    32. Kelly Gruene says:

      Try this, people: don’t watch the ND/Pitt game in two weeks. Just pick up the paper the next day and look at the score. You’ll be happy with it. It seems to me the internet is a great place for would-be coaches to air their thoughts about how they would have called the game differently or played different players. At the end of the day, however, a win is a win, ND is 7-0, and all of this nit-picking is really trite.

    33. The win yesterday was ugly. However the key word in that sentence was win!!!. I would rather be 7-0 with an ugly win than 6-1 with a pretty loss. The offense is going to have to step up and play much better for us to play with the Sooners. With that being said I believe that Oklahoma will have a very hard time with the defense. They have had several key injuries on the O line and Landry Jones can definitely be rattled. If EG manages the game I think ND can squeak out a win in Norman. Go Irish!!!!

    34. A couple of you have said this game reminds you of last years Michigan game, or the Tulsa game from 2 years back. But I don’t think those comparisons are apt for one simple reason, WE WON THIS GAME! Great teams find a way to win in spite of having an off week and that’s what this team has learned how to do. To find a way to win! This was our “trap game.” A tough, motivated opponent, sandwiched in between 2 difficult ranked teams. Florida St lost their trap game. West VBirginia lost theirs. Notre Dame won theirs!

      Seeing Rees play a whole game I think only validated Kelly’s choice of starting Golson this year, with his exceptional mobility, and goin to Rees in times we need some clutch throws. When Kelly has a mobile QB in his offense it takes it to a new level.

      And I don’t wanna hear that BYU is not a good team. BYU has probably been the “weakest” team we’ve played this year but it is all relative. BYU is way more of a challenge then some of these cupcakes you see Alabama play. and Ohio State play. BYU has a team full of seniors and their defense ranks among the best in the nation. They lost to Boise State by a score of 6-7. I know Boise State is not what they have been, but they could manage only 1 score the whole game against BYU. Sure we could’ve played Eastern Michigan this week and pounded them but how would that help us get ready for Oklahoma? How would that helps us in the BCS rankings where the computers Love our degree of difficulty for our rankings sake. We have one of the very toughest schedules in the country, so just keep in mind, these kids never have a week they can slack like most other top teams.

      Well on to Oklahoma. Go Irish!! Play more than ok in OK.

      • Fitz
        I will agree with you on most points in the post except one. The Tulsa loss was a complete abomination in BK’s first year as head coach. Tulsa looked like a high school team when they marched onto the field size wise.

        I was there for that game and in all honesty it will be the ultimate loss for BK that will stick in my mind for a very long time. Even though it was his first year and given the weeks events with the tragic loss of Declan…it should have never ever been a “trap game” against Tulsa or even close.

        The program has come along way in three years..but when I see BK and Tommy running the offense now it still reminds me of the Tulsa game and how we can only win on offense if we put the ball up for grabs in the redzone. Memories die hard and this defense has helped to erase many of the bad ones but BK and Tommy scare the hell out of me to this day on offense.

        Hopefully the BK days of the “get used to it” comment about Reese throwing for the failed win against pathetic Tulsa and not winning the game with a field goal are way behind us. OK will be quite the test and I for one would give the Defense a fighting chance with Golsen.

    35. Late in the third from the BYU eight yard line Kelly ran the ball three times with no success. It was clear after first down the run was not going to work down there. It is chilling to think that we are afraid to pass in that situation for fear of a turnover (throwing on first down is the best time in that situation). Does it feel, to anyone else, like we have had an inexperienced QB forever?

    36. We are more than half way through the season and we are still committing STUPID PENALTIES which result in a score for the other team! Case in point two yesterday! How many more times is GOLIC going to have a false starts in a game! You re senior, leader, act like it! To some people they may think my complaints are unwarranted or knit picking. But these are the “little things” that will eventually catch up to us! It will hurt this magical season we are having!

    37. Why not Hendricks instead of Rees? he showed more in just 2 plays. Go Irish

    38. El Capitano says:

      Agree with Fitz. While degree of difficulty presents us all with a lot more nail biters than we want, I believe it is the only thing that will keep us in the national championship conversation should the season end with mutiple undefeated teams (including ND). And if we are a one loss team it should also make a big difference in the bowl and opponent we draw.

    39. SubwayAlum_2012 says:

      So rushing for over 260 yards on the same play isnt good enough? They ran the same play because… it worked. Not only did Theo eat up the middle for 143, GAIII scored the go-ahead TD because of the end around that was set up by the inside dive. Two weeks ago against Miami, it was the shotgun, TE trap that they ran extensively because it worked, and this week it was the dive/end-around scheme that was successful. How about that being the sign of a great football team; you can run the same play the length of the field, and still gain huge chunks of yards. I hear a lot of crys for creativity from folks, and to such ends i retort:
      Charlie Weis was pretty creative on offense….
      Can the offense play better? Absolutely, but Kelly has even admitted, his signals has become more conservative because of the defense. They havent played an offense yet that was better than Diacos crew. Kelly had an innovative-wild offense at Cinci out of necessity. Those games were more akin to a RichRod 50-49 shootout.
      Also, for an insight, I played college football against the O-coordinator, Chuck Martin when he was head coaching at Grand Vally State, and he is the type of guy that does not deviate from a play when its working. Film breakdown of his teams was like 6 plays. Results? He won a D-II national championship, and had a winning percentage of over 0.900 across several years of recruits.
      There have been some cruddy games in there, yes, but Notre Dame has punished everyone on their schedule physically. No one has rolled with them in the 2nd half, and they have imposed their will. Go Irish, beat Sooners.

    40. Atlantadomer says:

      Living down south, I have a team we are carbon copies of – LSU. It has been forever since I can remember watching a Notre Dame game when the lads go up by 3 points and thinking, “yep, this is over. They aren’t scoring against us.” But Saturday, I felt exactly that. Once we got the lead, it was over for BYU. No lead was safe with Charlie’s teams or honestly Kelly’s in seasons 1 and 2. When you watch the Tigers or the Tide, you think the same thing. When they get the lead, it’s damn near impossible to get it back.

      LSU has a tremendous running attack, unbelievable defense – and let’s admit it, a coach that sometimes calls “questionable plays” – and for the past couple of seasons, no real complete QB. How I think we are different than LSU, our QBs (Golson) upside is much larger than Mettenberger. Give the Frosh time. 2 steps forward, 2 steps back. All we need to hope for is Saturday is a “2 steps forward” game for him.

      Also, the streak of not giving up TD’s was really nice, but I’m really glad it ended before Norman. I’m glad BYU was a close game. I’m glad EG got to watch and see – watch and see what a solid, veteran D was doing to ND to attempt to contain them. I’m glad he got to see those open receivers that Tommy missed under fire. I really think that will help him, along with his getting really healthy with the week off.

      We can beat OU – we have to get after Landry Jones and that O-Line isn’t really that good. If we get up on them, we can shut the door. C’mon lads, let’s get this one.

    41. Regarding which team won the turnover battle, ND actually had the 2 interceptions to BYU’s 1.

    42. Does anyone still question Theo Riddick’s heart or ability? Some posters last week were wondering why he is still in the mix. I am not asking for anyone to fess up but rather shut up! Riddick is the best all around running back on this squad. Theo will definitely be drafted to the NFL!

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