Irish Humble Clemson by 35-14

A certain skeptic who shall not be named looked at this matchup earlier in the week. Two more interceptions including a pick-six? Not bloody likely. Will we see another punt block resulting in a touchdown? You’re dreaming. How about a ground game that produces over 250 yards? That won’t happen against the impregnable Clemson front four. Will there be total domination by the Irish defensive line? You’re kidding. Can I settle for good tackling by the Notre Dame secondary? You must be smoking something. Well, you get my drift.

All of these improbabilities became reality on Saturday night as the Fighting Irish overpowered the Tigers in the trenches and rode two interceptions by Benjamin Morrison to a 28-0 lead before coasting to victory. It was obviously the biggest win of the Freeman era, but something tells me there are many more to come. After a two month roller coaster ride, this Notre Dame team has adopted the personality and fire of its head coach.

The night started off on a positive note when the Irish defense forced a three and out. Despite Clemson’s self-proclaimed state of High Alert on special teams, Jordan Botelho then charged through the middle to block Aidan Swanson’s punt. Prince Kollie plucked it out of the air and ran it into the end zone for a quick 7-0 lead.

The game settled into a slugfest dominated by the defenses as both quarterbacks struggled. Notre Dame began to have success in the running game but multiple Drew Pyne passes were batted down by the Tigers. Blake Grupe misfired on a 42-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter while Clemson’s failures on third or fourth down kept them out of scoring range.

As time in the first half wound down, Irish runs that were producing three or four yards were now getting ten or twelve. A scramble by Pyne carried the ball into the red zone, and he hit Michael Mayer for 11 yards to the Tiger 5. Pyne faked a handoff and covered that distance on a bootleg for a 14-0 lead at intermission.

Clemson took the second half kickoff but could not move the ball. The teams traded punts twice before Tiger Coach Dabo Swinney decided that a change at quarterback might jumpstart his team. Freshman Cade Klubnik entered the game with the ball deep in his own territory. Notre Dame’s defense responded to the smell of fresh meat, and pressured Klubnik into an off balance toss that Morrison picked off at the Tiger 14. The Irish needed just three plays to score as the game moved to the fourth quarter.

Drew Pyne threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score

Trailing 21-0, Swinney put starter D.J. Uiagalelei back in the game. Three questionable penalties for holding or pass interference accounted for 40 yards as Clemson finally appeared ready to get on the scoreboard. With the ball on the Irish 19 and knowing that the Tigers enjoyed a 97% success rate in the red zone this season, it seemed inevitable that they would come away with points.

Pressure on Uiagalelei by Justin Ademilola resulted in a poor throw that Morrison plucked from the air on his own four yard line. The freshman streaked down the sideline amid a convoy of blue jerseys to stake the hosts to a commanding 28-0 lead with 13 minutes left.

Clemson finally scored on its next possession as Notre Dame’s defense played a bit more conservatively. The Irish offense immediately went back to work with a blue collar drive that drove every last bit of will from the Tigers. Ten consecutive runs set up a textbook play-action scoring strike from Pyne to Mayer. The play covered 17 yards and gave the hosts a 35-7 lead with four minutes left.

The Tigers added another touchdown in garbage time but it did little to dampen the spirits of the Notre Dame faithful who joined the team on the field for a raucous postgame celebration. Coach Marcus Freeman mingled with the crowd and soaked up their well-earned congratulations. It’s safe to say this team has turned the corner and can win despite certain deficiencies that they have learned to overcome with grit and determination.

Let’s review the answers to our pregame questions:

  • Which offense will have success in the ground game? The word “success” doesn’t do it justice as far as Notre Dame’s performance is concerned. They outrushed Clemson by 263-90.
  • Will Notre Dame’s defense be able to create turnovers? Good pressure up front and Clemson’s strategy to pick on Morrison led to the coronation of a new legend in Irish lore.
  • Can the Irish receivers give Pyne viable options against the Tiger secondary? Not really. Jaden Thomas caught three passes for 15 yards but he was the only wide receiver to make the stat sheet.
  • Which offensive line will do the best job of protecting its quarterback? The Irish were clearly better. Clemson allowed four sacks and numerous pressures. Pyne held the ball too long on occasion and was sacked once, but the Tigers could not force a turnover.
  • Can the Irish offense win on first down? As discussed above, Notre Dame began ripping off big chunks of real estate even when the Tigers knew what was coming.
  • Will the Notre Dame special teams continue to provide a spark? I’ll keep asking this question until Brian Mason retires.
  • Which coaching staff will adjust most effectively during the game? The Irish had a better plan to start and effectively checked every move that Swinney made. His ill-fated quarterback swap was an act of desperation.
  • Will Nick Saban run up the score on Brian Kelly? Losing to Kelly may accelerate Nick’s retirement plans. How embarrassing. At least Saban doesn’t use a fake Southern accent.

Justin Ademilola suffered an injury to his upper body late in the game. He appeared to be the only casualty of the night but hopefully he is not seriously hurt. In any event, he should take a week off against Navy and recuperate. He and his brother Jayson played well as did Howard Cross and Isaiah Foskey on the defensive line. Offensively, Pyne gave it his best and it was good enough tonight. Logan Diggs and Audric Estime each had over 100 yards rushing behind great blocking, and Chris Tyree was effective as a receiver out of the backfield. Finally, Mayer was his usual dominant self despite the extra attention he draws every week.

The Irish stand at 6-3 and should rise to 8-3 before a final showdown in Los Angeles. This season is more about growth and confidence than the record, however, and fans can finally feel more comfortable regarding the future of the program. We can expect Notre Dame to crack the Top 25 this week. Hopefully Freeman and the Irish will only go up from there.

71 thoughts on “Irish Humble Clemson by 35-14

  1. This game was a milestone in the continuing education of a new head coach. A win like this gives Freeman the confidence he needs to not just be a CEO coach but to be a “hands on” coach who demands that the game be played in the physical style that all successful ND coaches have insisted upon. This is an incredibly important point because he was not given full control by AD Swarbrick when he was appointed. He had his Offensive Coordinator thrust upon him and he was told by Swarbrick that he was supposed to function as a delegating CEO. This game gives us some evidence that Freeman is becoming more assertive in developing his own game plans and his own in game decision making. Clearly he wants the Irish to be physically dominating on offense, defense, and special teams because after making some rookie mistakes he understands that this and only this is the formula by which the Irish can compete with elite teams. Vannie, I have two questions for you: 1) in previous games, the defense played well but had the habit of giving up big plays. What adjustments did they make against Clemson to limit big plays? and 2) with a minimal passing attack how were the Irish able to run against a big team stacking “the box” on every play?


    • I’ll try to answer your questions.

      1. The simple answer is the DBs covered and tackled better than they have all season. They allowed the short passes but swarmed to the ball very well. There’s more to it though. The defense gave Clemson different looks in coverage and the safety or corner blitzes worked to perfection (finally). When they rushed just four guys they still applied pressure. The other side of it is the Clemson QB and receivers are overrated, as is their offensive line.

      2. The ND offensive line has been playing better recently and had its best game of the season. The blocking scheme has benefitted from a few tweaks by Hiestand during the bye week. Last night they used multiple tight ends to block extra guys in the box and the backs ran extremely hard. It was just a determined effort. You could also tell that Clemson had not played anyone with that kind of physicality all season and they weren’t prepared for it. The ACC is a soft conference.

  2. You knew the game was in the bag when that dope on Clemson shoved Justin Ademilola after the whistle and it nearly led to a fight in the end zone. Clemson had clearly lost their composure and the Irish must have gotten very fired up in the locker room at halftime. And when Klubnik started warming up for his substitution at quarterback by high stepping around on the sidelines, it was obvious that the Irish defense would putting the game out if reach in short order.

  3. Irish in the South says:

    This was a great win from top to bottom, a win that is right up there with any home game victory in our history. Rees laid out a great game plan highlighting our 3-headed monster running attack. All criticisms of the past, asking for the OC’s head, lamenting our special teams play, wondering about the hire of new, inexperienced coach, cursing our AD for impulsive decisions, lamenting the play of our second string QB…..Be Gone!! We have now beaten four ranked teams. We have a team that can play with anybody.

    • To quote an all-too-well-known College Game Day co-host with a strange affection for mascot headdresses: “Hold on there, Fella!” Those criticisms were very well-deserved, as has been documented multiple times, with excellent and detailed reviews of previous performances this season and in the Fiesta Bowl last January. Now, what we all so deliriously witnessed last night was a God-send, no doubt; BUT, there is good reason to reign in any tendency to presume all of ND’s CFB problems are now in the past based on one superb performance. As many other observers have pointed out, Clemson was over-rated somewhat. These next three games to close out the season will tell us what we need to know, and this year’s recruiting results will be instructive as well. Fingers crossed, prayers being said, win out, kill it in recruiting(top 5), and we are likely on our way. GO IRISH!!!

      • Irish in the South says:

        Well said, Mike. Let’s see what the rest of the year looks like. Hard to understand our play against Stanford versus our play against Clemson.

    • Al Goldendomer says:

      the Rees offense failed to put up 20 points on an atrocious Stanford team, and aside from the 14-yard drive, only put 14 on Clemson. Yes the running game was superb against Clemson but I have doubts about whether that was Rees’ game plan or Freeman’s. Bottom line – the Irish can and should seek a more experienced and effective OC/QB coach.

      • Look ND recruiting of all the high rated
        Players start playing them. Be harder
        On the incoming recruits on the practice field. The excuse isn’t the
        Players . I feel the problem is the coaching staff . The problem must be
        Corrected for ND football to be elite
        Program. It goes deeper than Marcus Freeman. Freeman must be harder
        On the coaching staff. Just because you are. A graduate of ND should not
        Be an excuse from being fired or

  4. John, you summed it up perfectly when you wrote ‘It was obviously the biggest win of the Freeman era, but something tells me there are many more to come. After a two month roller coaster ride, this Notre Dame team has adopted the personality and fire of its head coach.’

    What a great game!

  5. Congrats to the Irish. I have to say that despite the various predictions, the result of the game was not at all surprising to me. The Tigers have struggled all season and their usual pattern (I watch all their games) is to play one great quarter, one good quarter and two bad quarters. Well, you are not going to get to the College Football playoff without the ability to play four good quarters of football. The Tigers have struggled all year, and have barely won 3 of their games. No, Clemson is not a contender this year, although it’s likely they will win the ACC Championship.

    In this game, ND show cased the great talent that it does have, but inconsistent play throughout the season has kept it as a ‘diamond in the rough’ type of team. The think the Irish have a genuine chance of beating USC but they will need to bring their ‘A’ game and not their ‘F’ game (Marshall). ND really has the talent to play with the best of them – when they are ‘on’.

    Btw, for those who may wonder, yes my football affiliations are complicated. I did my undergrad at Duke who struggled at football even when I was their in the 70’s! Hence, I defaulted to my favorite boyhood team – Notre Dame. Now, I grew up in a very Catholic community in Maryland (near Baltimore) in the 60’s – in those days, kids like me were more likely to know names like Parseghian and Hanratty than Unitas and Mackey (Baltimore Colts). Even the local nuns in the Catholic elementary school followed ND. Now, remember these are people who have no formal association to ND – no alumni parents, siblings, etc. Just the Catholic Church affiliation which was still very strong then.

    Clemson came later – but lets say – I have a great passion for college football and I love this forum because the members here also share my great passion for the game – and a winning tradition at ND!

  6. “This season is more about growth and confidence” – well said.
    This was NOT an upset – This was a butt-kicking of one team by the other.
    Methinks we’ve turned the corner – we came into the game as underdogs against a highly ranked undefeated team and sent them home with their tails between their legs, at the same time stopping the “home game” curse in its tracks.

    Meanwhile, LSU beat ‘Bama, Georgia whipped Tennessee, & OSU & Michigan are gonna have a wing-dinger – things are getting interesting.

    I realize that I (and probably a bunch of others) predicted that we would be lucky to finish 7-5. Would a simple “whoops” suffice?

    • At least you admit it, unlike most of the cowardly negative Nancy crowd.

      Just one question, though…. How do you like your crow?

      • Over easy with just a tiny tiny smidgeon of lemon added just before you take it out of the stove – simmer for about 15 seconds.

        • HAHAHAHA!!! Just how I like it when I am wrong, brother! Thanks for accepting my humor with better humor of your own, sir!

    • I feared the worst and got the best and on top a complete game on all sides of the ball. Went to ND, I bleed blue & gold and anguish over how this season unfolded. But, I will enjoy this moment and will believe we have turned the corner notwithstanding being held back in multiple ways, but not on this night and game.

      Clemson walked in and got bounced by a hungry team that was told ‘next year’ due to the D line of Clemson and their much heralded RB that played ND out as long in recruiting as he could.

      Go IRISH☘️ Finish strong

      • We all had a pleasant surprise! This win is up there with the 1992 Sugar Bowl vs Florida. Keep in mind, I love Steve Spurrier…. great coach, mostly great guy! But, his arrogance got the better of him at times and he would spew BS like, “The difference between Notre Dame and Cheerios… Cheerios belongs in a bowl.” But, aside from this, The ‘Ol Ball Coach has my love and respect.

        However, even though that game ended up being a total domination, the game itself was not a total domination from start to finish. It took a very inspired, Hurculean effort by my favorite RB of all time, Jerome Bettis, to win the day. BETTIS dominated Florida’s vaunted, SEC defense.

        LAST NIGHT, however WAS a complete and total domination, humiliation, and ass beating in every facet of the game WIN for our beloved Irish. Last night was a TEAM WIN!! It made me remember why I love ND football… why I am ALL IN, ALL THE TIME IRISH!! Coach Freeman, you are THE MAN!!! I cannot wait to watch ND with YOU at the helm, sir! And, I hope this will be for years to come! What you, your team and your staff did last night was SUPERB!!

        ND has a potent ground attack again as well. Between Estime and Diggs, they comprise the best 1-2 punch in ALL of CFB!! They SMOKED one of the nation’s best defenses last night.

        ND’s defense? Y’ALL are the REAL DEAL!!

        Benjamin Morrison…. TEAM MVP!! His 96-yard PICK SIX is absolutelu the BEST single play in my 47 years of watching ND football, hands down! That brought a tear to this old Irish fan’s eye!! THANK YOU!! You had the play of the game as far as I am concerned. And, to hear you thank our Lord and Savior above anything, class… CLASS!!! And to the DEFENSE on that play…. GREAT BLOCKING to spring #20 free so that he could make the POTG!! 28-0 IRISH at that point.

        6 punts blocked in 8 games…. and this one for a touchdown!!! COACH MASON…. PLEASE stay at ND!!! You have revived Irish special teams!!!

  7. All I can say is, I can’t stop laughing and its gonna be a long time before this stupid grin leaves my face!!

  8. Thank you John, this is an article I will read and reread again and again. It was remarkable how ND ran the ball given that Clemson knew what was coming. I wonder if, aside from GA, there is a team out there that can stop them? Both OC and DC called great games. Shake down the thunder!

  9. Thank you John, this is an article I will read and reread again and again. It was remarkable how ND ran the ball given that Clemson knew what was coming. I wonder if, aside from GA, there is a team out there that can stop them? Both OC and DC called great games. Shake down the thunder!

  10. John – have to give credit to you for coming out and giving credit where it is due – ditto on this end as well. We saw one of the great Irish games as it was long overdue . Been waiting all season for the Team to dominate and they did that and then some. Had mentioned in an earlier post about Pyne running the football – agreed that it is risky as an injury would be possible – 2 runs by Pyne were a difference maker. The offensive line was running on all cylinders and the defensive team played a gang tackling game. Safe to say Clemson wanted to exploit number 20 – the Freshmen played the game of his life ! Special teams set the tone early. The ground game reminded me of ND/Florida Sugar Bowl Game – Irish ran it 12/13 times in a row for a TD. The players were prepared – credit the coaches. Freeman has shown a edge the last few weeks. Players have responded. A tremendous victory.

  11. ♥️#50☘️ says:

    1.) Great win by the ☘️
    2.) Nice to see the O-Line finally playing to their potential in the last few weeks! 💪
    3.) After seeing Pyne in person last week and how dismal he played. it was nice to see him manage the offense this week. Consistency should be the name of the game for him for the rest of the season. of course he was put in a good position.
    4.) Please stop mentioning Kelly. Don’t be like the rest of these idiot IRISH outlets who keep looking back. Both side moved forward and both sides won BIG games last night. You’re above them.

    • I believe this is one of the best performances since
      the Holtz era. Dominating in the trenches. Running the ball. Let’s keep it going!

    • Look ND recruiting of all the high rated
      Players start playing them. Be harder
      On the incoming recruits on the practice field. The excuse isn’t the
      Players . I feel the problem is the coaching staff . The problem must be
      Corrected for ND football to be elite
      Program. It goes deeper than Marcus Freeman. Freeman must be harder
      On the coaching staff. Just because you are. A graduate of ND should not
      Be an excuse from being fired or

  12. ronald a magin says:

    Well that was fun. No complaints on any phases of the game. That special teams coach is indeed special.
    Looks like a 9-3 record is there for the taking
    The night then topped off by Kelly beating Satan, could not be happier

  13. I got this wrong, too and am thrilled that I did. I thought on paper ND comes up just short because of Pyne’s limitations and without the special teams touchdown and pick six it would have been a much tighter game. But somehow Reese crafted an effective run heavy game plan around Pyne’s limitations and the offensive line made it happen. And the defense played nearly lights out for 3.5 quarters to hold Clemson to one touchdown.

    Credit to Freeman and the coaches for their preparation and motivation. I haven’t seen ND play with this level of confidence, intensity and physicality against a top 5 team since Lou Holtz strolled the sidelines. While Kelly did a lot of good things I doubt this dominant level of performance against a top 5 foe would have been possible if he was still the head coach.

  14. What a game! Estime and Diggs were afterthoughts after the Irish whiffed on Will Shipley. And while he is clearly a talent, you gotta believe this win mattered just a little bit more to those guys

  15. I do not post much here. Love to read Vannie’s analysis every Friday each week. I will be the first to say, I knew ND was going to win this game. Now, I never thought they would win by 21 in the dominating fashion they did last night, but I knew and BELIEVED they would win. This is all based on what I have watched each week since the 0-2 start. I could see it building – the total domination of North Carolina in THEIR house, then the domination of BYU. True, they laid an egg against Stanford, but played with grit came back after being down 13-0 to take a 14-13 lead. If Estime doesn’t fumble on their last drive, Irish win 21-16. But, since then, they have totally dominated every damn team they have played. This one, though, will live in my BLUE AND GOLD heart forever! This was, in Dabo Swinney’s words, an ass kicking…. one of epic proportion. AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!

    I am also going to love reading the responses from those of you who have been saying, “I see them finishing 6-6” or the “this is a 7-5 team”. My only question for you…. How do you like your crow served???

    And to those who have been calling for the firing of half the staff……

    1. How did Rees do last night?
    2. Did you like Al Golden’s defensive game plan?
    3. Can any of you do better?

    Vannie, great job as always, good sir. Thank you for the site, your insights, etc.

    • I am happy to eat crow with an Irish blowout win over a somewhat over rated Clemson team. However I doubt anyone saw the magnitude of that win coming.

      • As I said, I believed they would win, but not in the fashion they won last night. That was a complete ass whipping from the kickoff until the last gun sounded. I have not been this happy after a win over a top 5 program since Lou roamed the sidelines.

        Hands down, this was the best performance I have witnessed by a ND squad in a very long time.

        USC…. YOU’RE NEXT!!

        GO IRISH!!!!! FINISH STRONG!!! 🍀 ☘️ 🍀 ☘️

    • Just one correction. On the play when Estime made a long run against Stanford before fumbling, Mayer was called for holding, so the play would have been called back. Given the penalty, and the inept performance by our offense up until then, there is no guarantee that the Irish would have scored on that drive.

  16. AWESOME game by the Irish!! I felt like I was watching a Lou Holtz coached team!!! Complete control of both front lines and watching the running game was a thing of beauty!!!! Excellent job, preparation, and game plan by Coach Freeman and his asst. coaches!!! Can’t say enough about the players and their second to none performance over the #4 team in the nation!! Just totally satisfying!! Go Irish beat Navy!!!!

  17. Really nice summary, I have not had this much fun reading a post-game summary for a long time! Thanks Vannie!

  18. Yeah, who was that skeptic that predicted a Clemsom win? In fairness, you were hardly the only one. Who say this coming? This wasn’t merely a win. This was a beatdown of a top-five team. I admit I was hoping for a shutout, but, really the two TD Clemson scored in the fourth quarter were meaningless. And fantastic scene with the students storming the field.

    Take care of business against Navy and Boston College, and the Irish will have a chance for a 9-3 regular season at USC, I was hoping for 10-2 at the start, but 9-3 won’t be terrible after starting 0-2.

  19. -I haven’t felt that good since being in person at Norman in 2012
    -It was nice to see the players show signs of escaping the Kelly fear and shackles and a new culture starting to set in
    -It seems like a Freeman team has a higher ceiling than a Kelly team, and I hope the bad-losses floor rises too
    -I haven’t experienced such punch-you-in-the-face ND football since the Holtz option, and boy did I enjoy it
    -Good to see us get out of the Pinkett-Pinkett-Pass-Punt early-game trend
    -Catch the ball, Lorenzo
    -Pyne hits a lot of elbows
    -Kelly went for two only because it was a no-lose for his insecure self—win the game or avoid the heavy criticism he faced after not doing so against Florida State

    • Yes– this is what I was saying. The players don’t look brow-beat into submission anymore– as they did with Kelly. They look free. It’s about time.

      • It must be conceded that it took some cojones for Kelly to call for a 2 pointer after LSU scored against ‘Bama in OT Saturday.

  20. So many on this message board were calling for Freeman’s head before giving him a fair chance. You are eating your words now and will be for years.

    I suppose some of you will still claim you want Luke Fickell, will mention Gerry Faust in some manner, will continue conviently forget Lou Holtz lost to a few bad teams, and if your like that one guy will find some comparison to the civil war. The rest of us will bask in this total domination of a top 5 team and recognize the super star coach we have. Go Irish!

    • WTF are you talking about? NDN generally has been very supportive of Freeman. At the very least, he replaced the douchebag we all hated.

      • WTF is he talking about, Mike? Well, I’ll tell you, sir. After Marshall, all I have read about here has been “ND isn’t the place for a first year HC”, “Swarbrick made a knee-jerk decision to hire Freeman”, “Swarbrick let a group of teenage kids decide who will be the next coach”, etc., blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! If you call that supportive, I would really hate to see your version of unsupportive.

        Tommy Rees isn’t such a bad OC now either, is he? This was another head the negative Nancy crowd has been calling for as well. I suppose from your lens, you must have missed it, but this is all I have been reading week after week. Considering Rees just flat outcoached one of the best HCs and programs in the game, I hope the fire-everyone-crowd STFU once and all!!

        • How DARE you call this guy a “Negative Nancy!!” I’m deeply hurt – that was supposed to be reserved for MOI alone!!

        • Well said, Scott! This place was trashing the ND leadership from top to bottom for the past several weeks. Most expected our Irish to get destroyed Saturday night and are doing an about-face as if they anticipated the results all along. This was a wonderful win for Freeman’s program and a real shot in the arm for the players and the coaching staff (special teams in particular). GO IRISH!

          P.S. Kelly is doing a remarkable job at LSU, as I knew he would. He finally beat Saban and should be congratulated for the quick turnaround of the Tiger program. He is competing for the SEC crown, which no one expected. His development of the quarterback and the rapid establishment of a winning culture has the Bayou jumping. He is destined to win a NC at LSU since he will have the superior talent to do so. Let’s hope for continued success at South Bend, despite the highly unlikely reality of a NC.

      • Mike, I didn’t say you or Vannie were calling for Freeman’s head. I said the message board was, by which I meant the commenters on these post game summaries. You can go back and look at the commenters after the Stanford and Marshall games still posted on ndnation to confirm. The majority were not supportive and several were downright hostile.

    • Beating a top 5 team in your first year doesn’t make Freeman a superstar coach, but it’s a good start and hopefully he will deliver many more in the coming years.

      Freeman is not and should not be above criticism. Kelly wasn’t and people were calling for Holtz’s head after the 1994 season and after the loss to Northwestern in 1995 to open the season.

  21. I haven’t seen this mentioned yet.

    I thought the blocking by the defense on Morrison’s second interception was superb. We haven’t seen that type of coaching in a long time.

  22. That is the only way this team can play. Run, run, run and then short passes to the outside mixed in. Pine does fine with this type of passing game. Estime…wow…did someone say Jerome Bettis???

    • You also hit the nail right on the head, sir! I have been telling my wife all season long that he reminds me of Bettis. Since she is only a fan of 12 years, I showed her highlights of Jerome and she agrees.

      ND has not had a back like the Bus since…. The Bus! Between Estime and Diggs, the Irish once again have a dominant 1-2 punch on the ground. I truly miss the days where ND had a solid stable of thoroughbreds in its stable.

  23. Most satisfying Irish win, for me, since the Holtz era. I’ve refrained from commenting here for almost 10 years due to my feelings for our previous coach and desire to keep it positive. Go Freeman and Go Irish! Lovin’ it! Thanks for everything Vannie and Coffey

  24. I think the commentary has been more negative than positive regarding Freeman. Not as negative as the comments about Reese, but that’s a very low bar.

  25. Atsa proper ass-whoopin’. I hope they had a bajillion recruits in attendance.

    Those who called for Freeman’s dismissal were impatient and short-sighted. Same with those who want to start donating to his statue fund.

    Here’s what I consider to be unequivocally accurate. 1-Freeman is young and has a lot to learn, but he has the humility to recognize that. 2-He is a superlative recruiter, a fantastic teacher of young men, and a guy we can all be proud to say is our coach. 3-When his experience catches up to his God-given talents…look out for that guy. He’s going to be awfully special and it’s going to be fun to watch. Keep it going, Lads!

  26. Go Irish! The running game is were is at for Notre Dame. I just hope this was not a one time game plan but a change to a running team similar to Stanford. Notre Dame can recruit 5 star tight ends, running backs, and offensive lineman year after year. Trying to rely on getting the type of receivers required to beat the top teams will result in Notre Dame making the playoffs and getting blown out.

    Now if they switch the defense to a 3-4 I will really be happy.

  27. Sorry, Vannie, but I have one more quick question: why did ND go to a huddle offense? Was it to simply and clarify the play calling process?

    • They wanted to be able to come up to the line of scrimmage quickly and snap the ball before Clemson had an opportunity to adjust its defense to ND’s formation.

      Previously when they came up to the line and then paused to look to the sideline for guidance, the defense could still shift its alignment and coverage before the snap and blow up the play.

      It’s all a cat and mouse game. ND must have believed that the sideline scan was doing more harm than good. I agree with this assessment. It was refreshing to see a confident team get to the line, snap the ball, and jam it right up the chute of the defense (if you catch my drift).

      • Thanks, Vannie…your answer makes a lot of sense. As an old school mid 1960s high school footballer, I miss the huddle in today’s game. It gave you a chance to catch your breath, get the play without the distraction of looking to the sideline for some hidden signal, and get the snap count. The huddle also gave the team captain an opportunity to kick ass when needed. As you say, now it’s a maddening cat and mouse game with dueling coordinators trying to outwit each other. If you’re going to play power football, the focus should be on imposing your will, not trying to outwit the other guy. To me the Irish offense on Saturday night was crisp, focused, and confident. It all reminded me of some of Ara’s teams. They would break out of the huddle with a singleness of purpose and execute at a high level. There were not a lot of audibles with Ara. A lot of people today forget that his running attack was a power attack. His backs were not the fastest but they were hard to tackle and they rarely fumbled. Rocky Bleier and Larry Conjar were good examples. God, I miss those teams.

  28. After the first few losses, if memory serves me, there were some de-commitments from some highly sought after high school prospects. Any second thoughts from these kids?J

  29. I may get ripped for this– but does anyone else think Pyne is okay and serviceable? He needs to go through his progressions– which he does not, right now. Hopefully he’ll gain that skill– soon. I’ve seen a lot of pretty bad quarterbacks and he’s definitely not among them.

    • IMO he’s not that talented, but he DOES get the most out of what he’s got, and he and Rees make a good team – getting better.

  30. Irish in the South says:

    I think Pyne is good enough to help us win out. He has limited abilities but also limited choices in receivers. We all saw Lorenzo Styles drop a pass in his numbers…Never to be seen again on the field. Styles has not come close to meeting his potential. Our OC has to work within Pyne’s abilities. Thank God for our running game. I would like to see Angeli take more snaps in the Navy and BC games.

  31. Clemson loves to attack the corners with deep throughs and certainly thought that would be effective against a freshman safety. Morrison played great game in the first half and destroyed Clemson’s game plan. What a great game he played. The two pass inference called in the 4th quarter were terrible calls. It was like the stripes were trying to give Clemson a little pat on the back for the licking that the Irish put on them. Running game brought back memories back memories of Bettis destroy defenses as he did in the Cheerio Bowl. I called the win over Syracuse
    and had a good feeling about this game. Tired teams that have had rough outings in previous games tend to fade in the next game due to fatigue. Notre Dame did against Marshall, after a tough loss to Ohio State. Syracuse was ripe after a tough loss to Clemson. and Clemson came into this game after two previous tough wins. They were ripe for defeat and the Iiesh punished them with a great game plan. Congrats to the coaching staff and the players for the execution that they showed on both sides of the ball. I look for this to be a turn around game for the team and the staff. If you looked t the Saturday score, Southern Cal only beat California by the same number of points that the Irish did. This gives me strong feelings that we can beat Southern Cal with a strong ground game and control the time that Southern Cal has the ball. Their head coach was Oklahoma’s last year and they are pass oriented offence with a soft defense. Crush them with a strong ground game and Notre Dame can win that game and get a good bowl game as a reward for turning the season around. Go Irish Beat SC.