Irish Comeback Sinks Stanford

Notre Dame started slowly, falling behind by 17-7 in the first twenty minutes of the game. The team looked lethargic until freshman Isaiah Foskey blocked a punt to ignite the Irish and propel them to a 45-24 victory on Saturday. The win elevated Notre Dame to 10-2 on the season while the Cardinal dropped to 4-8.

Foskey’s block was recovered by the Irish at the Stanford one yard line. A subsequent Ian Book scoring pass to Tommy Tremble cut the deficit to 17-14 with three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Notre Dame’s offense and defense took control at that point, as Book added a touchdown pass to Chase Claypool to take the lead before halftime. Meanwhile, the defense regrouped to shut down the Cardinal until two minutes remained in the game and the outcome had long been decided.

Tony Jones scored the first Irish TD

Stanford quarterback Davis Mills came out firing for the inspired hosts, hitting Brycen Tremayne and Michael Wilson with scoring strikes sandwiched around a Ryan Sanborn field goal. Notre Dame scored on its opening drive to tie the game at 7-7 as Book connected with Tony Jones, but the Irish fell into a funk before Foskey woke them up.

With Notre Dame nursing a 21-17 advantage, the third quarter settled into a punt-fest. Later in the period, Book hit Braden Lenzy for 43 yards and scrambled for 26 more before finding Claypool for an eight yard touchdown and a 28-17 lead at the 3:10 mark. Stanford fumbled a punt moments later, and Jonathan Doerer tacked on a field goal as the game moved to the fourth period.

The Irish went back to the running game, which produced a long, time-consuming scoring march. Jafar Armstrong pitched in with a 28-yard run before C’Bo Flemister crashed into the end zone from a yard out. Notre Dame now led by 38-17 with five minutes left.

A Cameron Scarlett run finally broke Stanford’s scoring drought a few minutes later to make the margin appear more respectable, but the Irish added a defensive touchdown in the closing moments. Ade Ogundeji knocked the ball from Mills’ hand in the Stanford end zone, and senior Khalid Kareem pounced on it for his first career touchdown and the 45-24 final score.

Book finished 17 of 30 for 255 yards and four touchdowns, while Mills was 28 of 46 for 276 yards and two scores. Mills started the game by hitting his first seven passes and was 12 of 17 for 140 yards as the Cardinal built its ten point advantage. He cooled off considerably once the Irish pass rush kicked in and the coverage tightened up. Notre Dame also outrushed Stanford by 190-118.

Let’s review the answers to our pregame questions:

Can Stanford’s patchwork offensive line handle the depleted Irish defensive front? Not for long. The Irish dominated as the afternoon wore on.

Which team will generate the most productive running game? Outside of a few surprising scrambles by Mills, the Cardinal could not do much on the ground. Notre Dame shared the wealth among several productive runners.

Can Notre Dame cause Mills completion rate to drop well below his average? Mills started fast by completing passes at 70% clip, but hit only 55% after Foskey’s punt block.

Will Book be able to complete passes despite adverse weather conditions? He threw a few balls that were knocked down at the line and overthrew a couple of others, but four touchdowns is still a good day’s work.

Which special teams be able to tilt the outcome in their favor? The Irish special teams blocked a punt and recovered a fumble, leading directly to 10 points.

Will Irish freshmen defenders Foskey and Kyle Hamilton make their presence felt? We’ve talked about Foskey, and Hamilton was excellent in pass coverage all day.

Can Notre Dame move up in the polls with an impressive performance? Maybe a couple of spots, but these ten wins lacked any golden moments.

The team must now wait a week for the conference championship games to sort before the various non-playoff bowl games select from the also-rans. In the mean time, we can all hope for something that sounds more glamorous that the Camping World Bowl.

Tell John what you think in the comments below

99 thoughts on “Irish Comeback Sinks Stanford

  1. Caroline’s Dad says:

    I am happy to see these young men get to 10 wins, and really excited to see what Foskey can do in 2020; he looks amazing!

    That said, I am still consistent in my feelings on the HC; 10 wins doesn’t make me feel any different about him or the AD who hired him.

    Vannie: My biggest Christmas wish is that BK’s agent gets too aggressive in pushing FSU as a means to force an ND pay raise, and convinces his client to move to Tallahassee. Can’t think of a more satisfying match…a would-be politician in a state capital with boosters who think they should be 15-0 every year.

    Nothing more than a fleeting wish on my part, but tis the season for holiday wishing!

    • How many programs would kill to wiin 10 games 3 years in a row? How many teams have ever done that? Rockne’s teams come to mind. Let’s all go hunting for a new HC.

    • “[W]ith boosters who think they should be 15-0 every year.” Way worse than his current boosters that think we should be 14-0 every year, too much of a stretch even for BK.

      • Caroline’s Dad says:

        I, for one, do not expect the team to go 14-0 every year; that’s ridiculous and unsustainable.

        I DO expect a head coach (as I have said in previous comments this season) who KNOWS how to prepare a team for difficult road games, and DOES NOT game plan for 45+ pass attempts during an actual hurricane (see NC State) and/or whatever semi-clever storm name Jim Cantore would’ve called that unceasing downpour in Ann Arbor this year. It’s not about 14-0, it’s about learning from previous gaffes and doing things differently. Actually, it’s about learning those hard lessons somewhere else and not continuing to make them YEAR after YEAR once here at ND.

        The mere fact that this Stanford game was being billed on the FOX broadcast as BK’s chance to break a long losing streak in Palo Alto—should be evidence enough of how expectations have changed/been warped.

        If hoping my team can figure out —in spite of its HC—how to win in Palo Alto/Miami Gardens/Ann Arbor/Athens/ fill-in-the-blank is equated to being a booster who “expects” 14-0, I’m not sure we are having the same conversation….

        I can actually live with losses and wins if a team looks like they are prepared and ready to win. If they look like they take the field not sure of who their opponent is, that they might need a silent count to avoid multiple false starts, that things may not go exactly as planned, or even that there are amazing tidbits important for game planning that can be found on a thing called weather.com, that seems like systemic problems, repeated over and over, and worthy of conversation.

        As I have also said repeatedly in previous comments, I no longer expect any HC change as long as the AD who hired him remains. My wishful and perhaps wistful suggestion of BK going to FSU was merely an idea of how I could imagine him leaving without the AD having to go first. But what would that actually solve?

        If Swarbrick wants to say this season was amazing, and the coach he hired is up there with the best we’ve had, then he’s simply not watching the same games I am.

        For him, and too many others, it seems as though it would be just perfect if ND trounced Western Michigan, Arkansas and whomever else to achieve 10 more wins next year—even if the team gets run over by Wisconsin and/or embarrassed at home by Clemson—with have the stadium in orange.

        Those used to be games to look forward to, win or lose, not dreaded as potential contests that might yet again expose our HC’s lack of solid, sustained leadership.

        At the end of the day, if you want to say I have unreal expectations, then at least accuse me of wishing we had a coach like Coach Lou once again; not of expecting to go 14-0.

        • Hiring a head coach is a crapshoot. And with ND it is even a bigger one. Look what happened to Lou Holtz when he left ND and went to South Carolina…Less stringent recruiting requirements and not much success. Same coach, different results. So who does ND find that can get better results than BK?

        • I’m not sure there is a better option than BK at this point. I’m also excited to see what the next year or 2 holds with the young talent and the excellent recruiting classes coming in.

          However, I don’t really have an argument against any point that you made. It was well thought out and unlike other posts, seemed calm and rational.

          Happy Holidays.

  2. Edward William Gozdowski says:

    At least they have renovated the lower bowl of that stadium in Orlando where the Citrus- Champs- Camping bowl is played, Back when we played LSU in that stadium with Aaron Lynch as our superstar freshman, you could not even walk around the inside concourse of the stadium, as there just was no concourse. The stadium was just a set of disconnected bleachers facing the same playing field. Plus there were no handrails to help get folks to their seats and the stairwells up to the seats were at at least a 45 degree angle. Basically, you had to be a gymnast to attend a game in that pest hole.

  3. I can’t imagine a 10-2 Irish team playing in the Camping Bowl. The playoff committee needs to correct their ranking now that the body of work is complete. A very close lose to top 4 Georgia on the road and 4 solid wins over USC, Navy, Virginia and Va Tech. All 4 of them should be ranked in final poll ( minimum 3). You can’t destroy a team’s ranking for one Bad performance on the road in a monsoon. My guess is the Citrus bowl lands a great game between ND and Florida.

      • It’s amazing how low a bar some ND fans have set expectations. Happy with a 10 win season over 10 nobodies. BK has two wins over too 10 teams with 12 losses. Just as Jenkins has lowered Catholic expectations so have fans accepted mediocrity. Sad

    • The punt block just be the tone setter for 2020. Effort, reflex, talent, size, desire: the highlight which begets future highlights, and excitement about playing for Notre Dame.

  4. Sorry, but ND beat a lowly Stanford team. A similar slow start against a more talented team would have been fatal. Poor tackling and slow adjustments. I am glad they ended up wining handily, but was not impressed.

  5. We are 10-2, and played a schedule where 7 of our opponents had a bye week.Room for improvement, sure, but a solid season.Hats off to the kids and their coaches.

    • Take out the records of Georgia and Mich. and you have opponents record of 60-58. The 2 games ND had to win they did not and laid an egg in one of them. 9/10 wins were almost guaranteed this year going into the season.

    • Amen!!! I think that every fan should think about their criticism of BK!?!?!?! With the exception of the Michigan loss, this Notre Dame team rose to the just about every challenge!!! 3 straight seasons of 10 wins, nothing to sneeze at!!! Irish fans need to remember the Davie, Willingham, Weis debacle and the years of mediocrity!!! BK has had the Irish in the playoffs twice this decade, and they have participated in a couple of New Year 6 bowls. While BK may or may not get the Irish, the national championship that ND fans crave, he has stabilized the program to close but maybe not quite at the level of Lou Holtz!!! That is pretty high praise!!! Lou had ND in the NC conversation frequently and is the last coach to get ND to the hallowed ground!!! I think that Kyle Hamilton is the freshman to build next year’s defense around!!! He is a superstar in the making!!!! With a free safety like him, I like the turnover potential with our pass rush!!!! GO IRISH!!!!!!

      • All the exclamation points in the world won’t erase the stink of the Michigan beat-down. Kelly has a well-defined ceiling, and each season will provide a game where we are painfully reminded of it.

        • John, first I want to say hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!! Secondly and please be honest, do you really think that Nick Saban or Urban Meyer could win a NC at ND with their hands tied like Brian Kelly has and knowing that they would not have the talent like they had at Alabama and OSU?

          • Also, look at OSU now, they have a 1st year coach and has them ranked # 1!! This is his 1st year as a head coach! So, it just goes to show you that you need 4 and 5 stars talented players and ND simply can’t get those types of players because of their strict academic requirements.

          • I think you’re drastically overstating the “strict academic requirements”. There are players on plenty of the top 10 teams who had scholarship offers from ND.

          • Joe, you’re just regurgitating the BS that passes for an excuse these days. You do need top talent to win but the recruiting spoils go to those coaches who put in the time. Not all 4 and 5 star players are idiots.

          • Joe, Brian Kelly does not have the strict academic restrictions that you believe he does. That myth has long since been retired. There is plenty of opportunity for him to recruit top talent if he and his staff were committed to it. Guys like Saban and Meyer are famous for exerting the extra effort to develop personal relationships with recruits. Until recently, Kelly has never invested much of his own time on it. Even now he is outworked by plenty of coaches.

      • The current state of the ND program is nowhere near the level it was under Lou Holtz. Three 10-win seasons in a row? If ND had played 12-game regular season schedules in the Holtz era, the Irish may have strung together six or seven straight 10-win campaigns.

        • John and Mike, I disagree with both of your points about ND not having a high academic standard for recruiting the ” cream of the crop “. Why do you think Urban Meyer did not take the ND job, simply because he wanted ND to lower their standards. ND told him NO WAY and that’s why he went to Florida because he could not get the players he wanted. Therefore, Urban did not want to have his hands tied. Even Urban’s father told him to take the Gators job because he had a better chance of winning a NC than being the coach at ND.

          • That may or may not have been the case then. Talk to people who cover ND recruiting, they’ll tell you Kelly gets plenty of exceptions.

          • If Coach Kelly does get some exceptions for recruiting certain players, that’s fine. However he still gets a lot less exceptions than the coaches from AL,OSU, CLEM, LSU, ETC…..who they can get anybody they want without any restrictions.
            Also, not everyone wants to play for ND because it is a tough school to graduate from and the players do have to attend their classes. Unlike some of the schools I mention above and they have their players take Mickey Mouse courses…….

  6. I was at the game. Book looked good, except for missing some wide open receivers. Irish look like a good, but certainly not an elite team. Really should be ranked in the 10 to 14 range and playing in the Camping Bowl is
    just right for a good, but not great team. I really believe this is the ceiling for BK.
    But, who knows, Perhaps he has an epiphany and brings in a 1st class offense or he simply retires and ND hires Urban. ONe can only hope.

    Go Irish!

  7. Kelly to FSU depends on if Kelly believes he is a championship winning coach. If he believes it’s Notre Dame holding him back he may just take it.

  8. Very proud of this team and the way they stayed the course through November and won these last 4 games! I sure hope that ND greatly rewards Clark Leah and the job he has done with this defense. Every game they are prepared and he knows how to make the adjustments at halftime. He has made this defense a top 10 defense and his recruiting is top notch as is evident by Hamilton and Foskey. Defense will win this team a championship I feel very soon.

    • Though I agree with you for the most part, exactly what adjustments did he make after halftime of the Michigan game? What were the adjustments to Georgia when ND had a 10-7 lead at halftime?

  9. It may not be Notre Dame Football anymore. But it is still notre dame football. Congrats on 10-2 and 3 fine seasons in a row. Cheer, Cheer for new notre dame.

    • It amazes me that several people have bought into the Swarbrick narrative and are talking about ten wins like it’s a great achievement with this soft schedule. This brand of brainwashing has given people a type of Stockholm Syndrome. The team had two chances to rekindle the spark of real Notre Dame Football this season, and shat the bed in both games. Now, these same people are praying we don’t have to play a similar opponent in a bowl game. How pitiful is that?

      • Yes, it is pitiful. But it’s been 31 years. And with every passing year without a NC, expectations and measures for success will continue to be redefined.

        Certainly, without another NC sooner than later, all Alums who remember what Notre Dame Football was all about will eventually pass away. (Being one, that’s not a happy thought!) And what then? Nothing but old trophies, faded memories and legendary tales. But who will really care, if the University attains its goals, and the Old Notre Dame Football Program isn’t a priority?

        No, I don’t feel the same way about notre dame football anymore. Because it’s not Notre Dame Football. Just like the university, it’s new notre dame. And it’s not about a Swarbrick narrative or any narrative, for that matter. I just think that time and the winds of change are unbeatable. Even more sorrowful than pitiful.

      • With all due respect, the Irish did not “shit the bed” at Georgia. Michigan, absolutely. Between the hedges they had the ball with 2:00 minutes left and a chance to take the lead…..YMMV.

        • With all due respect, they most certainly did “shit the bed” with UGa. They had a 10-7 halftime lead and relinquished 17 second half points while adding only another 7 and lost the BIG GAME. That, sir, is the very definition of “shit the bed”.

          I’m not going to say that I am unhappy with a 32-6 record over 2017-2019. However, it is still disappointing that they had two golden opportunities to win a spot in the CFP or at least an at-large bid in a NY6 bowl, but they failed miserably in both. They made the CFP last season and also failed miserably.

          • Mike, it would not change my opinion. I don’t believe any active coach has a better chance than BK to win an NC for ND next year. I see progress in recruiting, in staffing and in game strategy. BK has adapted in many positive ways since 2016 debacle. He had to change the whole program as well as the way he reacts to the players. Anybody that is willing to do all those things is not going to sit still and be satisfied with 10 win seasons.

          • As much as I agree with you, Mike, after having seen how they’ve played over the last four games, it would be nice to see if they can get over the hump by beating one of these fine SEC institutions. 11-2 with a win over a major is far better than 11-2 with a win over “I’M A MAN!!” State University in the Camping World Bowl. I’m sorry, Oklahoma State is nowhere near elite status.

      • Vannie, We’ve had many debates about what are fair program expectations. Most of us would say, play for a title every 5 years and in your down years win 9 games. The interesting thing is that 1 title and he’s immortalized. Due to so many big game failures he’s viewed as a mediocre coach or worse a colossal failure. The real truth is he’s a very good coach and this is a very good program. Unfortunately once your consistently good but don’t get over the hump, you wear out your welcome. I’ve been on board many times with saying let’s move on and hope we get hit it big with whoever we hire. I’d set the percentage around 30% that the next coach outperforms this coach but i hope I’m wrong.

      • It amazes me that there are people who believe 10 wins against opponents that had a record of 84-62, with no D1AA schools and only three non-Power 5 schools, equates to skating by against a “soft schedule.” If I didn’t know better, I’d think that argument would be coming from an SEC fan.

        NO ONE is arguing we are where we want to be. NO ONE is satisfied with zero championships in 10 years. However, it’s completely reasonable to say that it was a fine season AND that it could have/should have been better, all in the same sentence.

        I have problems with Coach Kelly. I have some doubts as to whether he’s got what it takes to win a championship. The Michigan game sucked big time and was a huge failure in coaching, just like Miami in 2017. I also thought it was a good season, I enjoyed (most of) it, I’m proud of my team, and I’m hopeful for better results next year. I also think it would be a mistake to fire Coach Kelly right now. None of this makes me a bad Irish fan or alumnus, and claiming otherwise isn’t engaging in a good-faith discussion; it’s just being crabby and insulting.

        John, I’ve never known you to be happy at all, win or loss; you are either grudgingly admitting that the team did well IN SPITE of everything you know is wrong with the program, or ranting and pointing fingers at everything wrong with the program. If you can no longer feel the joy of being an Irish fan, I genuinely, sincerely feel badly for you, but enough with the sarcasm toward those who still feel joy in being an ND fan.

        • Don’t feel bad for me. I’m proud of the current players and happy when they win. That said, I know they’re not getting the best coaching and a legitimate chance to win a title.

          It’s difficult to be giddy about a season in which the team suffers a catastrophic loss in its most visible game. Not many people are going to stop me on the street and talk about the comeback against Virginia Tech, but they are going to point to my ND sweatshirt and say something snarky about Michigan kicking our asses all over creation. Or say that Clemson proved we should never be given a shot in the playoffs again. Or simply say, “Roll Tide”.

          My frame of reference is just different from yours. I came through Notre Dame when Ara Parseghian was the coach, so it should not be a surprise that I regard Kelly as just another mediocrity. Ara adapted his approach to the strengths of his personnel each season, whereas Kelly tries to shoehorn his players into the same, flawed and soft offensive system. But it’s more than the coaching that is soul-crushing for an old timer like me. It’s the fact that the school itself no longer values excellence in football. They prefer to lower the bar and create spin about ten win seasons (that they’ve conveniently scheduled) to keep the dollars flowing.

          I suppose I would not mind so much if championship level football was permanently out of reach at Notre Dame, but that’s not the case. The program only needs to recruit 18-20 quality kids per year to compete at the highest level, and you can’t tell me that all of the best players are too dumb to fill these slots. We also need a coach who will bring back an attitude of physicality to the offense, in keeping with our Midwestern location, history and tradition. I like the upgraded athleticism I see on the defensive side of the ball, although Kelly’s recruiting holes always seem to create weaknesses (i.e. cornerback in 2020). More importantly, the Kelly offense will never be good enough to win a title. There is no core competency in his running game, and good teams consistently shut him down because his scheme depends on talent disparities to create mismatches in the passing game.

          I feel no enmity toward those who are content with ten win seasons and annual embarrassments by the elite teams we have the misfortune of playing. I just wish they could have experienced the joy of striving for excellence each year and actually achieving it every few seasons. What is being marketed as success right now may be fine for many programs, but Notre Dame used to mean something more special. If you want to insist that this 10-2 season is just fine, go right ahead. Just don’t try to sell it to me.

          • Vannie, I agree with your theme about some of the fan base seemingly settling for anything but championship excellence. I am also sick of the debacles in big games that leave me hearing so much crap on tv or in conversations about our Irish being overrated. However it would also be fair, if you could acknowledge that the landscape of college football has changed significantly and none of the changes have been in a positive direction for ND. It’s vastly harder to win today then when Ara or even Lou coached. Academics and weather clearly don’t play in their favor. No one outside of OSU (zero academic standards) wins consistently from cold weather locales. There are definitely more then 20 kids a year who could get in to the school and win with but their margin for error is very slim. They miss on a few kids or they bring in kids who hate the weather/academics etc and it sets them back. The money being spent by the top 50 programs far exceeds what was happening in those previous eras. TV exposure has also evened the playing field and hurt ND’s uniqueness. I also believe the powers that be are more at fault then Kelly if I was assigning blame. Whether unnecessary travelling (see Yankee Stadium game last year) or lack of facility upgrades over the years or being unwilling to pay the coaching staffs more…etc
            You can’t speak about the good old days without fairly acknowledging these challenges. I’m still of the belief Kelly should go because of his continued failures in the big games but I can’t gloss over the realities of today and think the next coach will get us over the top when those challenges aren’t going anywhere.

          • John, how could you be proud of the players, especially the starters when you said after the Michigan game that ND has nothing to play for and should play the younger guys more to get ready for next year. Thank God Coach Kelly did not follow your advice or we would be 7-5 instead of 10-2. Moreover, I am happy that Ian Book remained the starter because he really gave us the best chance to win. Again, glad that Coach Kelly knew that Ian was the best choice for ND to win and not take your suggestion that you thought Phil was our best bet to win now. That’s why they are the coaches and we are not. They know what’s best for the team and they see the players everyday at practice. Go Irish win their bowl game and get win #11!!!!!!

          • Joe, I deeply resent your comments. The players are going to become ND alumni like me, and there is definitely a shared brotherhood among us. Obviously you do not have the capacity to understand and appreciate this. Otherwise, you would never make such absurd and mean-spirited comments. I just wish the players were getting better coaching and a chance to win a title. Sadly, that will never happen as long as Brian Kelly is their coach.

            I did want to see what Jurkovec could do because there is no guarantee Book will return next season. I doubt ND would have lost three more games had he played more. The opponents in November were extremely weak, and Book could easily have been inserted if Jurkovec was not up to the task. At least the team would know where it stood with regard to 2020. The 2019 season effectively ended at Michigan. The bowl game for ND would not be any different had it won 8, 9 or 10 games. Ten wins this season gets them no closer to a title.

          • John, I’m sincerely sorry about my rude and obnoxious comments towards you. I apology for offending you. I was wrong and out of line. You are absolutely correct that I have no idea what’s it like be an alumnus of the Fighting Irish. Although, I wished that I was able to attend ND , but it was way out of my league. I have the utmost respect for anyone who graduated from our Lady’s University. So, sorry again and hope you forgive me.

  10. Among power five teams, only Clemson (39-2), Alabama (38-4), Ohio State (36-3) and Oklahoma (35-5) have more wins than Notre Dame (32-6) over the last three years. UCF (34-4) and Appalachian State (33-6) also have more wins than the Irish, though I’m not sure we should count them. I recognize there have been some really bad losses and maybe not a lot of “big” wins, but I am just presenting the numbers. We can dissect the wins anyway we want. Note: I am still NOT a big Brian Kelly fan.

    • Not since Holtz has an ND team had 3 ten win seasons in a row. What will the Never BK’s say if we win 10 next year? Of course, there are plenty of Charlie’s and Tyrone’s out there to chose from.

      • Donnie, you sound like a robot that has been programmed with artificial intelligence to recite the Swarbrick talking points. I suppose there are enough of you out there to ensure that ND Football will never see the need to get better.

        • Vannie…Look at the last 3 years, then look at the recruiting over those years, look at our star freshman and the incoming recruits that have already committed for next two years, and how can one say that we will not get better. This program is in great shape going forward. I see us competing for the national title next year and beyond.

          • The problem is that Kelly will still be coaching those incoming recruits. The offense will still be based on his Mickey Mouse system, and they’ll continue to play a soft brand of football. I’ve seen enough over the past decade not to believe that “next year” under Kelly will somehow be different. Despite the soft regular season schedules, they’ll have to play a top team sooner or later and Kelly will be exposed yet again.

      • Holtz went 6-2-1 against top 10 teams during those three seasons, with one of those losses by three TD’s. Kelly has gone 1-3 against top 10 teams in his three seasons, with two of the losses by four TD’s and the only win against a Stanford team that ended up with four losses and unranked. Yes, there are Charlies and Tyrones out there, but be less of a pussy and more willing to go out and get someone better.

        • We all thought Charlie and Tyrone were saviors. Odds of finding a better coach are slim. I wonder what the Vegas odds would be that ND could find a coach that would win 18 home games in row?

          • Actually, I at no time though Tyrone was a savior, especially after he gave an interview very condescending to Notre Dame on a Chicago radio station after O’Leary was hired. I wasn’t that thrilled with Weis either, but was willing to give him a chance. What is it exactly about Brian Kelly that you believe makes him uniquely qualified to win at Notre Dame? I can list a number of things that make me believe he’ll never win a title.

          • If you thought that Tyrone Willingham would be a savior, you’re totally nuts. I was never in that camp based on his track record at Stanford. I saw the train wreck coming. Take a look if you don’t believe me. And save the “one Rose Bowl” BS, too. When he felt his job might be on the line, he went out and recruited. He did the same thing at ND and the same thing at Washington.

            So, please, speak for yourself about Tyrone Willingham.

        • Nick Monterusso says:

          I for one loved Lou Holtz. The academic standards were changed for Lou. (Prop 48 players) and it made a huge difference. Brian Kelly is a good coach who can take this program one tiny step higher. It took him a long time to dominate at his first coaching job, once he got to that point he never looked back. This university is one of the toughest to coach when the academic standards are so high. I truly believe even Urban Meyer would have a tough time winning a national championship at Notre Dame. Look out, because I believe 2020 will be the year the Irish play in the big game.

          • I’m with you, Nick. BK has been a big winner everywhere he was before ND. He is not going to get fired so we all should support him without talking trash about him. He has said publicly that he does not want to leave ND until he has a NC. Next year presents another great opportunity. Our 2021 recruiting class (high school juniors committed to ND) is rated #1. We have some outstanding freshman on the roster and a highly rated QB to replace Book. Future is bright, my friends.

        • Nick Monterusso says:

          I for one loved Lou Holtz. The academic standards were changed for Lou. (Prop 48 players) and it made a huge difference. Brian Kelly is a good coach who can take this program one tiny step higher. It took him a long time to dominate at his first coaching job, once he got to that point he never looked back. This university is one of the toughest to coach when the academic standards are so high. I truly believe even Urban Meyer would have a tough time winning a national championship at Notre Dame. Look out, because I believe 2020 will be the year the Irish play in the big game.

    • To win a championship in college football a team has to beat two top five opponents. Yes Kelly has won some games but against nobody. The schedule is so weak I am not excited to watch half of the games. There is nothing in Kelly’s time at Notre Dame that would suggest he will ever beat two top five teams in one year. Think about the teams Clemson, Alabama, and Ohio State have beaten in those three years, please compare the schedules.

  11. Many thanks to John Vannie for another year of insights and analysis! I always prefer why to worry or feel confident rather than letting whiskey do it for me. Merry Christmas, John! I hope the Irish bring us a bowl trophy and reason for hope in the new year. Go Irish!

    • Went to game. Good, not great ND team, and a really banged up Stanford. Me and my family go back to Leahy. We griped about ALL the coaches if they didn’t win every game. 10 wins is better than the 9-3 predicted by most. Not a big Kelly fan, but 10 wins with a mediocre running game is pretty good. Need big upgrades in running backs and a better o-line to move to the next level. jackdco@telis.org

  12. ND is about where they should be with a very average rushing attack and a QB that has reached his ceiling. Can Tony Jones be any slower running running through the holes? No acceleration.

  13. Sorry folks,
    This was another yawner for the Irish needing an entire half to look like the superior opponent, against an awful Stanford team. Couldn’t agree more that eventually, all of us older fans (I’m 49) will be the only ones left, who can remember what it was like to expect a win against ANY opponent EVERY week! So glad we’re not headed to a real bowl game, we would be embarrassed again on the big stage. Our kids can only do what they can, given the current circumstances. Not their fault. You’ve got Jack and Fr Jenkins keeping us all supposedly happy that we’ve won 10 games 3 yrs in a row. Big whoop! How bout that big elephant in the room that shows his head every time we get blown out in a real game? Quit acting like you are still a football powerhouse, when you won’t level the playing field for our kids to have a real chance to compete in the big games. If you don’t have the depth at every position, see the Clemson game from last year. The ND fan base has suffered long enough! If the elitist, progressive, eggheads who run our Dome really cared about supposedly helping the less fortunate, then lower your entrance exam standards. Don’t lower your standards for players once admitted, just the entrance exam to give a lot of kids the CHANCE to succeed at a school like ND. Make ND a place where everyone has a chance to get a top quality education (yes, I stole that line from Rudy). Otherwise, quit talking out of both sides of your mouth that we can still get to the promised land and recruit “our type of guy”. There aren’t that many 5 star athletes who fall into the ND elitist “our guy” category. I watched the OSU vs Michigan game, hate to admit it, but we’re not even on the same planet as the Buckeyes.

  14. So we’re 10-2 which is great but losing 45-14 to Michigan (who just lost 56-27 to tOSU) is still fresh in the minds of bowl committees so I don’t expect a New Year 6 invitation but if ND is extended an invitation and plays a higher ranked team and gets waxed then the program is still spinning its wheels.

    Looking over the skunkbear nation websites I see many fans are complaining that Harbaugh has improved the program from the days of Rich Rod and Brady Hoke and they win the games they’re supposed to but never beat anyone they aren’t supposed to. Skunkbear nation is angry because Harbaugh hasn’t made Michigan an elite program like they thought he would and to add insult to injury he’s 0-5 against tOSU.

    The complaints are almost the same to those that we have against Brian Kelly and Swarbrick. Kelly consistently loses and often by a wide margin to top 10 teams. The new standard at ND is 9-3 or 10-2 and a berth in the World Camping Bowl or the Home Depot Also Ran Bowl.

    • I agree they are similar at this point. Outside of Ohio St there are no elite programs in cold weather areas. The landscape of college football has changed and the great teams reside in the south. I would like to see our Irish play in a better bowl and see how they do against Auburn or Florida. Their going to be the only 10-2 team who plays a real schedule to be sent to a garbage bowl. I blame Swarbrick for that. He negotiated a bad deal with the ACC in that he couldn’t get them to include the Orange bowl in the tie ins. This was the only real bowl he needed to fight for and didn’t or failed.

      Kelly definitely deserves grief until they beat top teams as does Harbaugh. Harbaugh was considered elite when he arrived and should be a lesson to everyone that it’s really hard to consistently win and beat elite programs when you dont match their talent level.

  15. I believe BK will have 1 or 2 more seasons at ND. 10 years is an eternity at his position. He’s had his moments. Can’t overlook his success against Southern Cal. Granted he wasn’t going against Pete or McKay, but still…
    Obviously his big game record is a frustration all of us share. It would be nice for him and certainly us to see a breakthrough. Would I bet on it? No, but I always hope.
    As for the bowl game, we finished 10-2. Not great, but definitely good. Playing an unranked Big 12 team in Camping whatever? That invitation should be respectfully declined!

  16. Vannie says everything I think except for this: Which once-proud program has become more irrelevant, Notre Dame or Michigan?

  17. Urban Meyer is out there just waiting. It’s our last chance. If we don’t grab him now ND football will never rise for the ashes for decades to come. Look Urban knows what it takes to win and win at ND. ITS HIS DREAM JOB! He is our dream coach. Once he gets here everything will change for us and him. If all of you folks think CBK will get his name on Gate E ….. then by God most of us believe Urb can do it also . It’s time for a change and Urb is waiting. It’s why he walked at O$U. It’s time for Barney Rubble to head south and be just like his clone Bobby Bowden. I just dread the though of Urb getting away again. It’s to much to bear.

    • Urban was forced out at OSU over the domestic violence coverup involving his assistant coach. OSU let him stay through the season to save his disgrace. This is easy to understand when you look at the talent and program he was leaving behind. No HC would leave voluntarily when you have a system like that. So do we really want UM at ND?

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