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  • Spartans Too Tough for Irish

    by John Vannie

    Michigan State spotted Notre Dame a first quarter touchdown, but took control of the game in the second period and scored five consecutive times to build a commanding 36-7 lead on the way to a 36-28 victory. During their dominant second and third quarter assault, the Spartans established dominance at the line of scrimmage and methodically eviscerated Notre Dame’s soft defense. On the other side of the ball, the Irish ground game was smothered by Malik McDowell and company, managing only 57 total yards. Quarterback DeShon Kizer valiantly tried to rally his team in the final 20 minutes, but the Spartans were able to play keep away and secure the win after the hosts closed the gap to eight points with six minutes left.

    Kizer finished with 344 passing yards and had a hand in all four of his team’s scores, but Notre Dame’s one dimensional attack was not enough to overtake the balanced and fundamentally sound visitors. The Irish fall to 1-2 on the season and have been physically manhandled by both major conference opponents. The offense has become much too reliant on Kizer, even though the talented junior is nearly good enough to will his team to victory. This won’t be possible against quality opponents as long as the defense fails to get off the field in crucial situations, suffers blown coverages, whiffs on tackles and allows opposing quarterbacks sufficient time to write a novel in the pocket.

    Two costly turnovers started the downward spiral for Notre Dame. Leading 7-0, they forced an MSU punt that hit Irish special teams player Miles Boykin at the Irish 38. The Spartans recovered and Tyler O’Connor followed with a long pass that Spartan freshman Donnie Corley grabbed away from Irish senior Cole Luke in the end zone. Michigan State quickly lined up and executed a two point conversion for an 8-7 lead. Moments later, Kizer hit C.J. Sanders for 19 yards to begin a promising series, but Michigan State stripped the ball and took over. Just before halftime, the Spartans demoralized Notre Dame with a 92-yard scoring drive to lead 15-7 at intermission.

    Matters grew worse in the third quarter, as MSU scored three times in four minutes for a seemingly insurmountable 36-7 lead. Although Kizer caught fire and made it interesting, the deficit was too great to overcome. Only a flawless performance by the defense could give Kizer an opportunity for a miracle, but it was not in the cards.

    Let’s review the answers to the pregame questions:

    Which defensive line will be able to harass the quarterback? MSU’s front four dominated the overhyped Irish, while the Spartan offensive line put Notre Dame on roller skates and drove them backwards at warp speed.

    Will either defense be able to create turnovers? Each team had an interception, but two costly first half fumbles doomed the Irish.

    Can Kizer continue to turn third and long situations into first downs? Unfortunately not. He hung in the pocket like a true warrior but paid a heavy price for it.

    Which special teams will have the greatest impact on the outcome? MSU recovered a fumble when a punt hit an Irish player and took the lead for good on the very next play. Notre Dame also hurt itself on the opening kickoff when a holding penalty negated a long return for a touchdown by C.J. Sanders.

    Will Notre Dame’s offensive line finally live up to expectations? Only if you expected them to stink.

    Which team’s secondary will give up the big play? Both teams gave up a couple of long passes, but the biggest impact occurred when MSU’s Donnie Corley outfought Cole Luke in the end zone for the Spartans’ first score.

    Can Alan Page or Jim Lynch suit up for the Irish? It probably would not matter in Brian VanGorder’s scheme. What Notre Dame really needs is a coach like Ara Parseghian.

    What we’ve learned so far this year is that Notre Dame is undeniably talented at several positions and has an elite quarterback, but that is not enough to overcome a lack of fundamentals and toughness. The Irish are out of the playoff conversation for 2016 and have to assess the long term viability of this coaching staff to elevate the program to true contender status. The mere presence of the 1966 team on campus this week served as a painful reminder of just how far away that objective lies.

    79 Responses to “Spartans Too Tough for Irish”

    1. losing 4 of last 5 games/ defense allowing 86 points against 2 good teams this year. horrible tackling,
      poor defensive schemes.
      expect 7-5 at best.

      Great QB, however. w/ good skill positions on Offense.

      Looks like a 7-5 season, no better w/o a miracle.

      Coaching staff changes are the obvious need.

    2. I had ND with 3/4 losses this season. Just not all in September though.

    3. Viktor racz says:

      The defense has been non existent for 3 seasons running. The 1966 team gave up 38 points for the entire season, something we routinely give up in one game. If Kelly cannot part with Van Gorder, then they both need to be unemployed

    4. Kelly way over his head at ND. Nice third tier team. Pretenders, not contenders. Along with Bob Stoops most overpaid coach in CFB.

    5. All I kept reading about is how deep the Irish are, until now. There is no depth on defense, only mediocre college football players with a couple exceptions. The defensive scheme is and has been for a couple years, horrible.

      It is nice to put up 30 points a game but giving up over 30 a game equals LOSING!
      Slow starts equals losing! Using Big 10 officials, or officials from whatever conference we are playing while at home equals losing.

      Kelly has changed almost everything at ND. Traditions are being lost and the type of kid he is recruiting SUCKS!

      Embarrassments every year from arrests. And those are only the ones being caught. I am willing to bet that there are more players smoking dope than just those who were caught.

      Notre Dame is being sacked by Kelly just like America is being sacked by Obama.

      Someone needs some gonads to make some changes FOR THE BETTER!!!!!

      • NDBonecrusher says:

        Respectfully Gene-there are lots of political websites and message boards you can visit to express your views. This one is for ND Football.

      • Politics aside, I agree with the above. The institutional culture at ND has changed from blue collar to preppy faux Ivy League and it shows on Saturday. And save the tough academics excuse for the Stanford game. And State stepped off the pedal in the fourth or it could of been Louisville-FSU. These are dark days intdeed.

        • I’ve never been to Notre Dame campus, but why on earth should an expensive private college ever feel “blue collar”?

          ND lost this game because of poor offensive play calling. I don’t know what everyone else saw, but I watched ND run the draw ineffectively, banging their heads against the wall trying to establish a running game that wasn’t going to happen until it was too late. Once they woke up and smelled the coffee, it was on. If they would have played with that intensity the whole game, they probably could have blown out MSU. It’s the same thing week after week. Holding back until the opponent is ahead, then playing like champions to crawl back into it. Maybe the problem is that this team and coaching staff is too “blue collar”.

          • The biggest reason why ND got beat in this game is that MSU’s offensive line and defensive front seven totally dominated the game. Add three turnovers to that recipe and winning is impossible.

      • Gene you are da man! i have been saying this since brian kelly was hired! he is an overrated joke of a coach. go back to Div. II! ND has turned its back with tradition and they need to clean house!

    6. Bizzare game. Honestly felt we dominated the first quarter and then some, were the better (albeit sloppy) team. But then the game flipped around so quick, with some tough luck and some lame turnovers. Then by the 3rd we were getting our butts whupped and had no answer (the 73 yarder up the middle untouched was inexcusable and showed a defense giving up). Only to see a late crazy surge via Kizer’s sheer will that came up but a drive short at the end. Overall an essentially embarrassing and not a memorably night, in South Bend and now ND needs to dream something up again to salvage something out of this season.

      • To be fair, Notre Dame’s defensive line was getting held the entire game. There was a blatant holding call on that 73 yarder up the middle that probably accounted for him being untouched. People are quick to say “everyone holds in football” but the amount of holdings on MSU that went uncalled were egregious.

        In addition, the holding on the opening kickoff, although it clearly was a hold, was completely inconsequential to the result of the play. If our guy doesn’t go for that block then Sanders still takes it to the house.

        Very frustrating game. I feel ND is too undisciplined to ever take it to the next level. Really sad but it is the reality of NDFB right now.

    7. This writing seems like a copy-and-paste from previous seasons just change the date, players, and opponent. The source of this is obviously a mediocre coaching staff.

      Savvy Jack should be in salvage-the-season mode.

    8. I said this a few weeks ago and it stands – Notre Dame can be pushed around.

    9. Giving up 86 points against two quality opponents is not going to get it done. It takes both good coaches and good players to compete at the top, and to say we are struggling on the defensive side of the ball is about as nice as you can put it. Something has to change. Do you think Nick Saban or any of the other elite programs would allow this to persist without making some serious changes? Enough of the excuses. Good coaches make good players great.

      Defense was my biggest question mark coming into the season, and so far I am not that surprised given how the defense has performed over the last few seasons. Think of what this team could accomplish if they had a defense similar to the 2012 unit. At this rate, ND is on its way to the toilet bowl, and even that may be too optimistic at this point.

    10. Kizer can’t do it all. No imagination with play calling in running game. Defense is obviously weak, but if you take back two costly mistakes, holding on opening kickoff and player too close to ball on punt, it could have been a different outcome.

    11. NDBonecrusher says:

      Ugh. Vannie your title is spot on. The Spartans pulled down our pants and laughed at us. Horrible, horrible tackling. They played a clip of all the missed tackles and arm tackles that made me nauseated. Now we should have never been in that situation, but with 2:30 to go we NEEDED a defensive stop for any hope of going to OT. And once again, the defense couldn’t get a stop when it really counted. How many times have we heard that song, going back to last year? Turnovers and mental errors were gigantic, too, as well as complete lack of a ground game. So many things to be frustrated about. The lone bright spot was Kizer.
      You can’t fire the kids. And I have been hesitant to jump on the firing band wagon. But for the love of Mary cut BVG loose!

    12. I now fully understand why Kelly couldn’t see separation between Zaire and Kizer: Anyone can look all world against our defensive personnel. While ripping BVG is appropriate, we need to admit that Harry H is vastly overrated. Looking back over the past two years, anytime we play a top caliber defense our O line cannot establish a run game whatsoever. So while it is nice that a few OL-men go high in the draft, the overall play of this unit is not up to its hype or able to handle a good team. No one likes to point out this aspect either. Finally, how can you go 3 full games and not even be close to getting a single sack? Let me see, we recruited ZERO interior D-lineman last year. Must be we are so deep that we can skip a class in this area. But we did get a slew of 210 pound DE’s.

    13. No playmakers on defense. The interior D line is small and routinely out matched. Soft defending and flat out bad decision making from most players. They play like a catholic college football team. Not an elite program.

    14. How about some jewels out of the garbage, folks? Here are some dopey observations:

      1. Kizer is a top tier quarterback, an outstanding competitor. Who, despite mistakes, bounces back with gusto!
      2. This team never quit. Even when being humiliated at home on prime time. It displays heart. I love these guys!
      3. Wow. We actually have a tight end?? Nice catch Smythe! Let’s get this young man more involved!
      4. I actually saw some spirit out of the defense late in the game. This is a positive out of an otherwise disastrous performance.
      5. Now for the obvious…Even Kelly admitted the horrid job of coaching these young colts are the benefactors of. What’s more, WE ARE STUCK WITH HIM. Hey administration, nice job with that big extension. I guess you just didn’t get tired of paying Charlie all those years.
      6. What is the trajectory of this team? I am watching Michigan, Miami, and Louisville getting stronger and stronger. We appear weaker and weaker.
      7. How good are our recruits? I have not been very impressed. I doubt that ND will ever seriously compete for the NC again. We cannot get the recruits we need to do so. The academics are prohibiting success in this competitive environment.

      But what do I know?

    15. Austinirish says:

      Was thoroughly embarrassed by the way we played in 3Q. Nice rally, but we were steamrolled by the Spartans. Men against boys when it counted. BVG should be let go.

    16. Does Notre Dame really care to return to championship caliber level?

      • . . . not as long as the University has people willing to pay $150 to witness what you, me, and thanks to it being a night game, a lot of the nation (embarrassingly) watched!

    17. BVG must go – TODAY! He gets paid $1MM per season for this and can’t even coach fundamental football, or even get the team pumped up to play. Kelly also needs to hand the keys of the offense over to Sanford, the guy HE hired as OC; what did you hire him for if you are going to make him call the the same awful plays you have called for years? No creativity, no football knowledge, primadonna “look at me” attitudes, and worst of all, absolutely no toughness anywhere on the field, with few individual exceptions.

      • Mike Coffey says:

        Van Gorder should have gone last November. The lack of firing is squarely on Kelly, who needs to go as well.

        • Hey Mike: Who would you suggest as a quality replacement for Kelly? Thanks!

          • Mike Coffey says:

            That’s what I’m researching now

            • So we have tried the spread experiment, tried the “Decided schematic advantage” experiment, and host of other gimmicks. The pro basketball ignoring defense and just outscoring opponents doesn’t work at ND. What’s worked in the past? A proven college coach who understands and places a premium on defense, defensive recruiting and an ass kicking offensive line. Parsegian and Holtz are examples. Perhaps a coach with a solid defensive background(not Boob Davie). Can’t hire Saban or Dantonio, they won’t leave their gigs and wouldn’t want to come to ND anyway. But look for coaches out there with that kind of background. Don’t follow college football close enough to know who’s out there but let’s not get fooled by the hot hand, flavor of the month guy.

    18. Another pathetic performance. Brian Kelly and BVG are the DUMB and DUMBER coaching team. Kelly’s play calling is horrible and I wonder if we even have 11 defenders on the field. No pressure, receivers wide open and grade school tackling. The O line is suppose to be so good but again in a big game were pushed around. Changes need to be made as this coaching staff has proven again how overrated they are and should return to division 3 football. I can’t wait for the Stanford game so we can see a team with high academics play football and push us around and score 50 or more points with Kelly showing his pouty face and BVG waving his arms totally clueless. When does basketball start?

    19. Kelly isn’t going anywhere. He has a nice cushy deal. He’s just cashing checks. ND will not do another Weis-like buyout. The only way Kelly leaves is if some idiot NFL owner hires him. But that probably won’t happen.

    20. Yes, “the sky is falling” An absurd performance on all fronts by the Irish.

      Massive problems on the OLINE and ALL of the Defense..

      Shameful that our four and five star athletes are being coached so poorly.

      Seven years of horrible ‘special teams’.. Need I say more?

      Texas loses to a average San Diego State team.. As predicted three weeks, here comes
      7-5 and a matchup with Air Force in some bowl game we’ve never heard of…

    21. Kelly is Swarbrick’s signature piece of his legacy. For Swarbrick to unload Kelly he would be admitting the most visible aspect of his tenure was an abject failure. Even though the season has now gone sidewise–albeit against two very excellent & highly motivated teams, this aint going to happen. The house cleaning must start with Swarbrick. He is too conflicted to do what needs to be done at season’s end. Swarbrick is the one who OK’d d the recruiting of athletes with character flaws leading to the pandemic of academic and criminal infractions which are now part of Swarbrick’s legacy; he is the one who has acquiesced in the mediocrity of the football product now being regularly produced by ND; and he is the one who has, contrary to most views, enabled this poor product by failing to hold Kelly accountable for his assistant’s poor performances and failure to develop the players.

      • John Vannie says:

        It’s too early to call Texas and MSU very excellent teams. Neither are the best teams in their respective conferences by a long shot. They certainly are better coached but do not have more talented players than ND.

    22. PanDomer'73 says:

      For whatever reason/s we are where we are today. Long gone is the Era of Ara, and the wit of Lou. I have come to accept the mediocrity that is Notre Dame football and have significantly lowered my expectations over the last few years. It may be maturity on my part but gone is the enthusiasm I’ve carried since the heartbreaker at USC in ’64 and resignation that with the current coaching crew what you see is what you get. I will continue to watch but with ever lowering expectations. Go Irish!

    23. Were Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weiss honorary coaches this week because yesterday’s butt kicking sure brought flashbacks to their tenures?

      Where to begin. The defense royally sucks and Gilmore and BVG should get the axe. They got pushed all over the field and it seems like they only have 8 guys on the field with all the gaping holes. I say promote Mike Elston to DC or find someone more worthy. The offense is also very predictable and vanilla and can never mount an effective run game against top 25 opponents.

      The only bright spot is Deshone Kizer who continues to carry the team on his shoulders.

      It’s clear to me that ND is losing ground to other top programs despite pretty good recruiting. This means we have a coaching problem and it starts with Brian Kelly.

      The best were going to get with Brian Kelly ranges from glorified mediocrity to pretty good, but never great and greatness used to be the goal, but it seems Swarbrick and the administration are satisfied with 8 win seasons and close losses to top tier programs.

    24. irishhawk50 says:

      I wonder how many Michigan State players are recruited from Florida, Texas and California? BVG must go, but how about Todd Lyght? Isn’t he the secondary coach? Kelly needs to make wholesale changes. How is Diaco doing in Connecticut? Maybe they will fire him and Kelly can hire him back.

    25. This season could get be similar to 2007. I’m watching a replay of Duke vs Wake Forest and Duke has some players on offense. Notre Dame could lose that game

      Then when you look at the rest of the schedule the games against Virginia Tech, Miami, Stanford, and USC could easily be considered games ND will lose.

      The team this year does not have the talent level of the past two or three seasons but these players are better than 6-6. Kelly cannot coach the drop off in play is alarming. Kelly needs a nine win team to win six games, it will not get better with Kelly as the head coach.

    26. What we need is a new A.D., who will light a fire under Kelly. Time for Jack to go.

    27. I said it two weeks ago and I’ll say it again …. Pay Tom Herman at Univ of Houston whatever he wants to come and revatalize this program. I don’t want to hear that ND can’t afford it, etc. obviously the administration is willing to pay millions to terrible coaches and those not even on staff anymore plus tens of millions on superfluous additions to the stadium and surrounding facilities. Kelly and some on his staff, namely Van Gorder, have got to go. They have proven twice this season, and countless times over Kelly’s tenure that they are not worthy of THIS job. However, if the ND administration is happy with an average of 4 losses per year and missing the CFB playoff, then Kelly is your man. But if you seriously want to contend for and occasionally make the CFB playoff, Kelly is not your man. Hire Tom Herman before somebody else does. He is a coaching STAR and will eventually be a fixture for a decade or so in a multi-championship program. You don’t think Oklahoma is on the phone with his agent right now ???

      Kelly and his staff cost us the Texas game. If they do just one thing … Let Kizer play the whole game, we win. Similarly, the flawed offensive game plan in the first half yesterday was a great contributor to defeat. Kizer & Co obviously excel at the vertical passing game and I don’t think a pass greater than 15 yards was attempted until the pre-half Hail Mary. Showing you are willing to go downfield early and often helps the running and short passing game too. Disappointing to see yet another mid-game implosion for a full 20 min of game time where nobody seemed to have a clue, or care, about stopping the bleeding. An embarrassing run, at home, against a team with less player talent (but better coaching talent)! ND must make a coaching change … Unless, of course, the don’t really care about contending for the CFB playoff.

    28. Coach from Reading, PA says:

      Ara or Lou could coach this team tomorrow and make them better, tougher and make them believe they are better than they are.

    29. David Shaw has won 80% of his games at Stanford over roughly same time period of Kelly at ND. I believe Kelly’s win % at ND just fell below 70% with yesterday’s loss. I would contend that Stanford’s academic requirements for athletes are even more stringent than ND’s, that their schedule is just as tough as NDs year in and year out, and they have far fewer resources dedicated to football. Yet they have somehow been more succesful in recent years. If Stanford can win 80% of its games, then that standard is certainly possible at ND … but obviously not with the current coaching staff.

      • John Vannie says:

        Stanford’s football resources have dramatically increased over the last five years due to an influx of funds from wealthy benefactors who have taken a keen interest in the fortunes of the program, but your point stands with regard to the relative differences between Shaw and Kelly.

    30. ND offense is too simple, soft, and unimaginative. ND defense is too complicated, soft, and passive. BK and BVG have no motivational and leadership skills, particularly on game day. Player pride can only take you so far.

    31. Kelly didn’t have the stones to go for it on 4th and 7 because he is clueless on offense. He knew he had no bag of tricks to get the first down, and he elected to punt to throw VanGorder under the bus (where he belongs).

      Flaccid Irish! There is no hope. At least they are working on building some classroom space into the stadium. The way this team plays they won’t need a stadium much longer.

      Fans, you need to boycott the 2017 season. The only thing that will catch the attention of this administration is lack of sellout crowds. Let the stadium go empty for a few home games and send a message. Enough is enough.

    32. NDBonecrusher says:

      Just listened to BK post game. Encourage you to watch/listen. He said several times what many of you have written above: that clearly there is a disconnect between player talent/heart and outcomes, and that can only be ascribed to poor coaching. He called the team “sloppy” a few times, which is accurate. Called out himself and his staff a bunch too. I dunno-maybe just post game coach speak, but perhaps this week we will see the changes we are all clamoring for. This would be the week to make coaching changes- it’s early in the season and we are home next week versus Duke. Probably naive on my part but here’s to hoping.

      • It’s already too late for this year. Beating up Duke will give the coaches a false sense that things have improved, but that will only be due to weaker competition. This team is very soft and this year can no longer be saved.

    33. Poor leadership and coaching lead to defeat. The army always stressed, piss poor prior planning will get you killed.
      BK and BVK are not leaders and are piss poor coaches. The expected results are predictable which is losing another game.
      BVK should resign since BK doesn’t have the balls to fire him.
      Great leaders make the tough call when needed. Case in point, BK isn’t a great leader or coach.

    34. Mark DeBoskey says:

      I keep checking ND Nation, South Bend Trib and to see if BK has fired or, at least, demoted BVG. Then again, I’ve been checking for 2 years. Does BK have the cajones to chose a change over blind (and unwarranted) loyalty? Grand Valley State is NOT ND.

    35. Father John.

      Why have you forsaken us?
      This cry is from the painful hearts of ND fans around the Earth
      who feel deserted,alone and must face anguish until we are free
      from the clutches of incompetence and failure. Return us to the Glory
      our Lady of victory and sacred hollowed ground deserves with honer,fear,
      and respect.

      Our Lady of Victory pray for us.

    36. ndOptimist72 says:

      There is hope for the future: Autumnal Equinox is visiting the ND campus on Thursday.

    37. I agree with others above, cut Brian Kelly loose now, thank him for his time here and get Tom Herman from Houston. If we can not get him then wait until someone else good is on the market, then thank both Brian’s for their service and show them out the door. We need a proven coach from a big time program. If we can not get a big time coach from a big time program, then we need a proven coach who has at least signature wins in bowl games or against big time teams. example: Tom Herman. Don’t let this get too bad. Don’t let ND slip too far below…

    38. irishhawk50 says:

      Just watched Kelly’s post game video. I am not a rocket scientist, but….you use a precious time out at the end of the game on 4th down when you have already decided to punt!!!!!What???

    39. I liked One Foot Down’s article after the Texas game…. It stated, “This is the beginning of the end for Brian Kelly…

    40. With the deep and talented offense and very young defense with the decimated secondary, the results to date are not really surprising. But what is disappointing about this team is the tendency to get burned for long plays due to repeated fundamental breakdowns. Would someone tell BVG why certain defensive players called “safeties”. One called the “free safety” plays the wide side of the field and is primarily there for deep pass patterns and to prevent run plays from breaking 78 yards with one frigging cut. Perhaps this would be a good position for someone on the defense to play . . .

    41. . . . another meaningless season of Notre Dame football. I just hope that someday before I die, Notre Dame will once again play Big Boy football!

    42. Some of us have been saying this for years:
      no sign of improvements or advancements over the past 4 years
      horrible play calling
      inconsistent special teams that cost us games year after year
      no offensive identity
      unable to seize the moment in big games–no real signature wins against big teams in 7 years and unable to play up to good teams. No real upsets in 7 years
      and then the defense–but to put it all on BGV is a joke
      this is all on the head coach. he is in it way over his head. He is not a good coach. he is not a big game coach and really he needs to get out. we aren’t getting better. patience I understand but 7 years of the exact same. the only real consistent thing with the Irish is Kelly blaming everyone including the players but not himself. He is a bad coach

    43. Father Jenkins and the folks that run the university don’t really care about Notre Dame football returning to greatness. If they did, they would change things. But, many years ago they took the glory, the prestige, and money the football program brought to Notre Dame and turned it into a liberal elitist university. Is it really Catholic anymore? They honor Obama, Biden and can’t wait until Hillary can get her honorary degree. I mean what a joke. Like a good old Italian friend of mine said to me many years ago…”son…the Lady on that golden dome left that campus a long time ago”! I doubt we will ever see a Notre Dame championship team again. That is just my opinion. I love Notre Dame for what I remember of her.

    44. NDBonecrusher says:

      Farewell, NDN.
      I have enjoyed reading the comments of Domers all over the country who love ND and ND Football as much as me. For the most part it has been a real treat, especially the columns by Vannie and Coffey. But in my opinion this space should be for ND Football comments only, not for people to grind their political axes. Don’t we get enough of that everywhere else, especially this year? Notre Dame is not going to be “smitten from On High”. Just look at the pieces at halftime each week to see all the good ND does in the world. I am proud to be an ND grad and will be prouder still if my children get in. Anyway, Thank You- it’s been fun. Mostly. Take Care, God Bless, and Go Irish. Bonecrusher out.

      • Mike Coffey says:

        If you have an issue with a comment, bring it to the attention of the ops. I don’t see a lot of political axe-grinding, and if I see it, I’ll blow it up.

        • Multiple places on NDnation many fans have expressed concern that the way the football team plays somehow brings dishonor to “Our Lady.” I will contend the following:

          1. The Virgin Mother of God, Queen of the Universe is probably not too concerned about the outcome of a football game or season.

          2. Even if she were, the University has not done much to make her proud (on or off the field) and warrant divine intervention.

          Nothing political, just a theological speculation.

    45. The real problem with the defense is the lack of a consistent and coherent philosophy from Brian Kelly. A goal can be defined as a clear and compelling vision of what success looks like. Kelly can easily point to it on offense but can’t articulate it on defense. He won’t become an elite coach until he establishes an identity for the defense. Otherwise, he’ll eventually become an ex-coach.

    46. Part of problem is our defense personnel is not very good–they do not look strong enough-backs are to slow-coaching is not the whole problem-God it hurts to lose. n d forever!!!

    47. Carlos Bauza says:

      Three games are sufficient to establish the tenor for this season. No need to burden the ND football team with fans’ expectations. They have enough problems of their own.

    48. I skimmed through many of the comments and didn’t see two of the biggest things I noticed about the game. Apologizes if someone already mentioned it but I couldn’t fathom why the coaches wouldn’t bring some blitzes up the middle throughout most of the second half. We couldn’t stop the run and we continually stayed in the base formation. If they run play action, I’m sure they would’ve been beat but you have to take away something. It was mind boggling. The other item is on the last offensive drive how in the world did Kelly decide to call the TO and still punt?? I totally disagree with punting in that spot when your D was incapable of stopping them for most of the game and that’s where Kelly had no feel for this game. You have to go for it despite being in your own end on 4th and 7 and once you call the timeout you really have to go for it. You lose the game with the ball in your best players hands not the putrid Defenses. A terrible performance by coaches, defense and the O-line who had trouble run and pass blocking for most of the game. If Kelly wants to prove hes not like the previous coaches he better find a way to stop the bleeding and make something out of this season.

    49. Tons to read through still but one observation made by a former football player watching the game with me.

      “They look like high school kids afraid to get hit”

      This was after Tranquil missed his 5th tackle. Kid is athletic but he can’t hang. The entire defense looks scared and confused. It really is sad. Kelly needs to get BVG out of South Bend before the season ends. There need to be some serious changes if ND ever wants to elevate the program to an elite level.

      this clip of BK asking BVG “what the f*** are you doing?” pretty much sums up the season thus far.

      Until ND makes some changes we will continue losing to good teams.

      0-8 in last 8 contests against the AP top 12 (obscure cutoff but relevant given MSU was ranked #12)

    50. Does anyone know for sure if Urban Meyer was truly asked to be the head coach at ND years ago and asked if he could recruit whom he wanted and they basically told him no! So he declined. And I also heard many years ago they handcuffed Holtz in his last years as head coach. I recall Davie complained as well about the administrations role in recruiting players for the university. If that is the case, we had better hang on to Kelly because the ones before him were not that good and a couple were terrible. At least Kelly brings an exciting offense to the field and recruits some good players on the offensive side of the ball and occasionally gets a few good defensive players. It looks like ND cannot attract the numbers anymore (outstanding recruits) and is probably due to the administrations restrictions. And if that is the case I doubt ND will ever win another national championship and will not be able to get a really great coach there as well. This is my opinion.

    51. I’ve supported Coach Kelly but I am shocked at his denial that BVG is not the problem. He is the Defensive Coordinator and the defense is pathetic by any measure. They don’t cover receivers, they can’t tackle and they do not have a sack yet this year. They are soft up the middle and get run over. As Ross Perot once asked, “Who else was there?” If Kelly does not fix this he becomes the problem. I do not appreciate his comment that his job is to see that they are better in November. No. His job is to have them ready for when the games begin. The season is already ruined and being great in November will do nothing to salvage what has already been lost.