Stanford Stuns Inept Irish

Notre Dame turned in its worst all around performance in recent memory and fell to a lowly but scrappy Stanford squad by 16-14 on Saturday. The Flailing Irish defense refused to tackle anyone and compounded the problem by leaving the Cardinal receivers uncovered most of the night. Meanwhile, the offense was even worse. After being shut out in a horrid first half, a fumble by Audric Estime derailed their futile attempt at a comeback. Notre Dame drops to 3-3 on the season.

The Irish got off to another slow start with the usual three and out on the first series. Stanford responded with a crisp 66-yard drive in eight plays to take a quick 7-0 lead. The Cardinal defensive slants seemed to confound Notre Dame’s offensive line and they overplayed Michael Mayer in the secondary. Tom Rees and Drew Pyne struggled to find an answer.

Special teams provided a spark for Notre Dame when Prince Kollie blocked a Ryan Sanborn punt. The Irish took over at the Cardinal 34 but the drive ended in frustration. An ineligible man downfield penalty negated a touchdown pass to Mayer and the Irish followed with a failed fourth down rush in the red zone.

Pyne tried to move the team in the second quarter. Notre Dame caught a break when the Cardinal failed on a fourth down pass of their own instead of kicking a field goal. Unfortunately, Pyne was sacked near midfield and he fumbled the ball away. Stanford capitalized this time with a 45 yard three-pointer for a 10-0 lead as the half ended.

Audric Estime ran for a score but his 4th quarter fumble was costly

Stanford dominated field position the early part of the third period. Josh Karty tacked on another field goal to stretch the lead to 13-0 before Notre Dame finally got rolling. Logan Diggs ran for 26 yards Estime added 22 more to put the hosts in business. Estime then covered the last ten yards to put the hosts on the board with 6:22 left in the quarter.

The Cardinal failed on another fourth down gamble moments later at the Irish 40. Momentum and the scoreboard turned in Notre Dame’s favor on the first snap of the fourth period. Pyne found speedy freshman Tobias Merriweather in single coverage and hit him in stride on a deep post for a 14-13 lead.

The positive vibes did not translate to the defense though. Quarterback Tanner McKee rallied his troops and picked apart the Irish secondary on his way downfield. Karty capped the drive by hitting what proved to be the game winner for a 16-14 lead with 10:20 left in the game. Poor tackling by the defensive back seven aided Stanford’s cause and was the main theme of the night. The poor effort and sloppy technique were an embarrassment to the legacy of the program.

Still, Notre Dame had a chance to pull out a win. A few good runs and a pass interference penalty moved the ball across midfield. Estime took off on hard run, shedding tacklers in his wake. He rumbled into field goal range before the ball was knocked from his grasp and recovered by the Cardinal at their own 21.

With 6:35 still on the clock, the Irish needed a defensive stop. McKee stayed cool and hit Brycen Tremayne for 22 yards to maintain possession. Tremayne made a terrific catch on the play but it was just more evidence that the Cardinal wanted the victory more than Notre Dame. Another pass to Elijah Higgins wewnt for a first down and the Irish were forced to burn its timeouts.

The offense got the ball back with 2:30 left at their own ten yard line. Pyne could manage only short gains before a sack and two pathetic incompletions ended the drive and the game. Stanford knelt down as the Irish faithful stood in disbelief.

There are no excused for this loss. Notre Dame had injuries but Stanford had more of them. The Irish have considerably more talent on paper but were thoroughly outplayed and outcoached by the Cardinal. They have lost to two of the worst teams in collge football this year (Stanford and Marshall) and more embarrassing outing may be on the horizon.

Offensively, the play-calling lacks any flow or coherent strategy. The coaches are slow to grasp what the defense is doing and adjust. Pyne is limited physically and teams have enough film on Notre Dame now to force him out of his comfort zone. The pass to Merriweather was the only departure from the same predictable game plan. We never saw the talented freshman again after that play.

Defensively, the coaches continue to call for blitzes that never get near the quarterback. The linebackers are a liability in coverage and do not fill the gaps with any force or physicality. Even mediocre running backs like Casey Filkins are consistently able to pick up five yards after contact. The secondary has regressed after a decent start to the season. They shy away from contact and the first man to greet a receiver in the flat misses the tackle every single time.

Let’s look at the answers to our pregame questions:

  • Can Stanford’s patchwork offensive line stand up to the Irish defensive front? The Cardinal linemen played with a chip on their shoulders and won most of their battles with the Irish.
  • Will Notre Dame’s linebackers be able to defend Stanford’s RPOs? Stanford kept them off balance most of the night. They didn’t score a lot of points but they frustrated Notre Dame by playing keep away. They won time of possession by 36-24 minutes.
  • Can the Irish score touchdowns inside the red zone? Estime scored once and the Irish failed on a fourth down. Those were the only trips to that area of the field.
  • Will Isaiah Foskey make any highlight level plays for the Irish? No. Notre Dame managed only one sack against a bunch of second stringers.
  • Can Notre Dame rush for over 200 yards while holding the Cardinal under 100? Stanford managed only 97 yards on the ground but the Irish total of 150 was a major disappointment.
  • Will the Irish receivers other than Mayer make significant contributions? Yes, Merriweather. That was it. Lorenzo Styles had a couple of drops and Braden Lenzy caught a couple of short throws. It was not an impressive effort collectively.
  • Can Notre Dame’s secondary cover the tall and experienced Cardinal receivers? No, not when it counted the most.
  • Are USC and Clemson living on borrowed time? USC blew a lead and lost to Utah while Clemson held off Florida State. Both will beat this Irish team though.

This disastrous game put an end to any hopes for a successful season by any reasonable measure. The primary responsibility falls on the shoulders of the head coach. It’s fair to say now that the honeymoon for Marcus Freeman is over and it’s time to produce.

The rest of the staff bears a share of the blame as well. Rees has been a disappointment. The receivers have not stepped forward, either. What happened to Deion Colzie, Joe Wilkins or Styles? The tight ends other than Mayer are talented but not involved in the game plan. The line looks good in certain sequences but cannot get a push when its most critical.

Al Golden’s defense has not made havoc plays against even the weakest teams. I’m not impressed by Al Washington’s defensive line – they were supposed to be a strength of the team. The starting linebackers are terrible. Prince Kollie and the freshmen need to get a chance. There’s no reason to hold them back any longer. The secondary is not much better. Cam Hart cannot tackle and Brandon Joseph has not lived up to his preseason hype, but the rest of them look lost as well.

Other than that, it was a great night.

96 thoughts on “Stanford Stuns Inept Irish

  1. Freemans first round of coaching hires has been an abject failure. Why Rees is still OC as I write this is beyond me.

    The program has been set back another decade. NBC wont need to spend 75 million per year. ND not worth 30 mil a year unless people enjoy watching high school level coaching at best.

    • Paul — I agree Rees has misused talent ever since Kelly raised him to OC. He does not know how to coach superior athletes. We throw no passes down field (1-2) a game doesn’t cut it. Pass routes are 5-10 down field and then lateral. Easy to defend. He may be a nice guy and love ND BUT WITH PERFORMANCE LIKE THAT —– WE WILL STOP GETTING GOOD ATHLETES.
      TOM 65

      • The notion that ND has superior athletes is false. At quarterback, we have a significant disadvantage. Stanford’s QB was far better than Pyne. That theme will repeat against most decent teams we play. We have exactly one superior athlete at WR and he just caught his first pass. We have a superior tight end but defense can focus their coverage on him if they choose to do so. BYU didn’t and lost. Stanford did and won.

        ND fans tend to overrate our talent based on recruiting rankings and friendly media hype. Most of ND’s players are average. Combine that with average coaches and you get mediocrity.

        • Could not agree more John. Many of my fellow Irish fans lament, how do we lose with all that talent? Fact is , there is still very little elite talent at skill positions, linebacker and secondary.

      • This statement is fact, Rees cannot coach superior athletes. He has been sadly overmatched most of the year.

  2. Feels like Kelly 1.0 all over again, except I actually like Freeman as a representative of my alma mater. I suspect there is not one single coach on the team that would be on a staff headed by Lou or Ara or Devine, and certainly not Leahy or Rockne. If Knute were around, I think he might barge into Jenkins residence in the middle of the night tonight, and very loudly demand that Mr. Granny Glasses be fired before dawn

    • Totally agree, OC needs to go to division ll to learn, grow and earn the position he now holds. He is yet another example of Kelly’s poor coaching hires. How long are we supposed to accept looking inept to the weakest of teams?

  3. That game was about as fun as watching old people eat. What a joke! Freeman is nice guy but has to go (the sooner, the better). ND is not the place for a first-time coach. He is in over his head, and the program is going to continue going downhill the longer he stays. The experiment is over. It didn’t and it won’t work. Tommy Rees is the most unimaginative play caller in all of college football, and I wish he had followed Kelly to LSU. Do you have any other run plays that do not involve running up the middle? How predictable can you get? Did you have no idea that David Shaw’s game plan might also involve double covering Mayer? Despite having plenty of time to throw the ball in most cases, Pyne looked completely lost and bewildered. Is David Shaw a genius or are the ND coaches just utterly clueless and helpless as the players looked? I thought the Marshall game might have been a fluke. This game put that thought to bed quickly. I am done watching anymore games until the coaching staff changes. They don’t know what they are doing.

    • The offense comes on the field to start the game. First play is an illegal procedure penalty. Then 3 terrible plays and it’s a 3 and out to start the game, Stanford had all the momentum the rest of the game. It looks like the best offensive player is true fresh Tobias Merriweather. He was in for 2 plays. An overthrow pass that should have been a tad. Then a 41 yard to. Why isn’t he starting? This loss is all on the coaches.

    • “That game was about as fun as watching old people eat.” Good one. I’m beginning to think “the Former Guy” knew something when he bolted town.

  4. The coaching staff is incompetent. This should have been foreseen by the AD before he hired MF. Hiring a coach w/ zero head coaching experience and coming from the defensive side of the ball is foolish for a program of ND’s caliber. MF would have been better starting at a program like Akron or UNLV, not ND. He is a decent and intelligent man. However, this is taking a good medical student and making him chief of surgery at John Hopkins.
    Compounding the problem is employing an OC with little experience other than a short stint under BK where he was obviously on a short leash. Speaking of the devil, he will do well at LSU, may even win a NC there. You don’t obviously need stellar personal character to be a good football coach. However, you do need experience, courage, and leadership skills to make changes when needed. I wish MF all the best. Yet, I doubt he will be able to clean up the mess which is the state of the current football program.

      • Additionally, I am continually confused as to why so many on this board think ND needs a HC with experience when Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma do not. This is not 1980 or 2005.

        • Tommy Rees could coach Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and Oklahoma to winning records with the athletes those programs are able to recruit. Superior talent can often overcome coaching ineptness on the collegiate level. Those teams can get players ND can’t.

  5. In my 60+ years as a diehard ND football fan, this is the most pathetic team I’ve ever watched. Agree completely with all your citicisms of this team. Some of the problems you referenced have persisted for years (poor tackling, worthless blitzes). A complete housecleaning needs to happen. Pyne has zero upside. Start the freshman..

    • Ventura Pop Pop says:

      I’ve also been a diehard ND fan for 60+++++ years. Do you seriously think this is a more pathetic team than the Weis ERA? Pyne is fine, and will get better. This loss was hard to watch, but I’m sticking with my Irish. Won’t miss a game as long as I live. Though Freeman did look to be unraveling on the sidelines. But then I was too.

  6. “The Cardinal wanted the victory more than Notre Dame.”

    That pretty well sums it up. Sad to watch – no excuses.

  7. Timothy Miller says:

    I thought we had turned a corner. Maybe we had. But it must have been the 4th time this year we’d done so, because we’re back where we started.

    But hats off to Stanford. With not much to play for, they played their hearts out. We did not.

  8. Couldn’t agree more. All of your comments were right on the money. Merriweather looked good, hope we get to see him again. BEST we can now hope for is 7-5.

  9. Not sure there is anything else to add except is this rock bottom yet? It’s going to be a long season.

  10. I agree with you John. terrible loss, a program loss to a very bad Stanford team, injuries not an excuse for how flat, ill prepared and disorganized they looked. Mistakes, penalties, no fire, missed tackles, beat by a team with far less talent, a Cardinal team that wanted it more. Rees is lost as s play caller gotta give Pyne quick throws, Al Golden has never been a winner. Kiser and JD are tuff kids, assignment solid, but a step slow, can’t get home when they blitz

    Love Marcus, but Marshall checked him out of the honeymoon suite weeks ago.He’s the head man, it’s his team, his O and D ultimately.He owns the results. Does he have the vision and know how to lead the necessary improvement.? 3 loses already means Dec bowl, if any. Time to move on from From players who wont be here next year, play and develop the young talent which will be re kollie, merriweather.

  11. Why do the safeties constantly play 15 yards off the line and then run backwards after the ball is snapped? You wonder why the middle of the field is always open?

  12. Fulkerson's Ghost says:

    Sadly, the only thing the Irish mange to be consistent in is their inconsistency. The team has simply not had good fundamentals – especially tackling – in decades. It’s really sad.

  13. Tommy Rees has o be let go. He plagued us as a terrible player and now is an even worse offensive coordinator. No development of quarterback skills at all. Bland predictable play calling and zero adjustments. I loved our first series of the second half, three and out with the exact same plays we started the game with. The first series of the game reminded me of the first 10 years of the Brian Kelly era. Unprepared and unmotivated and no game plan. It’s so embarrassing to watch an inept QB trying to force the ball to the same guy over and over. There are high schools with more sophisticated passing games. Al Golden is the same total loser he was in Miami and he is now showing why. The defense is way too much talent to be as bad as they are. I think Coach Freeman, who seems like a wonderful guy, has just witnessed the end of his honeymoon. This was unacceptable and sets the program back quite a bit. I just put my Clemson tickets online for sale. I am not going to pay money to watch that product

    • Amen brother. Ifsomeone, such as myself can predict 80 to 90% of the play calls, an offensive coaching change needs to be made immediately. Read a couple of articles about players not getting on the field because they were still learning the “playbook”. From what I’ve seen, the entire playbook could be listed on a 3 x 5 postcard. Finally, I’m reallly tired of hearing about “execution” over and over from the coach and now the players.

  14. Mr. Bradley J. Leon says:

    Swarbick should be fired immediately. He tried to solve a short term problem but hired a coach with virtually no coaching experience (& zero HC experience)and the results are predictable. Fire this AD, then fire the coach by November and hire someone with a pedigree. This is what happens when you abdicate your responsibility and let teenagers make a hire for a $1b organization. What a joke Swarbick is.

    • The defense was on the field almost a full quarter more than the offense; the defense can’t catch their breath when the offense only manages three-and-outs. That’s my only defense of this game.

      Styles and Lenzy just oxygen thief’s at this point. I’ve just never seen an ND squad so completely hopeless, and I was around for The Faust era. There’s nothing really to say is there other than this team is historically bad. I had to watch this sh*t-show then watch my Yankees crap their pants. I’m obviously being punished for something.

    • Mark P. ‘79 says:

      Exactly. Coaching for 3 hours on Saturday is actually a minor responsibility for a Division 1 head coach. Today, the top guy must be the CEO of a very large corporation, with concerns about Human Resources, operations, finance, marketing and public relations (to name only a few). It is not a position to ease into and learn on the fly. MF is a man of great character, a tireless worker and he presents Notre Dame in a very positive light. But he is in WAY over his head at the helm of our storied program. A rushed decision last December has now left every ND fan and follower bewildered and disappointed. We all deserve better.

  15. This has to be the ugliest most embarrassing loss in more than a decade. I feared that ND would somehow lay an egg in this game and they didn’t disappoint. From the opening whistle the team was lethargic and uninspired. Vannie is right about the tackling. All I saw were linebackers and DBs bouncing off Stanford ball carriers most of the night which helped keep drives alive. Stanford executed their game plan and made effective adjustments while ND didn’t appear to have much of a plan.

    This game was such a disaster and the team regressed so much in one week that at best we’re looking at 6-6 or 7-5 this season. ND pundits said that Freeman was the right hire to avoid a lost 2022 season resulting from transfers, lost recruits and learning a new system but it looks like the year is now lost anyways. Would a quality coach like Luke Fickell really being doing any worse?

    I know former OC Chip Long had his issues but I think he was a better play caller than Tommy Rees especially in the red zone.

  16. I woke up this morning and thought it was a bad dream last night. Reality has hit and it has been mentioned from the start you don’t hire a Head Coach at ND with zero experience. You can recruit all you want but players need to be coached – very evident there is no identity to this Team. John you once again hit the nail on the head – a total embarassment – outcoached,outplayed and no sense of get after it ! There is no spinning what has happenned – basic fundamentals are poor, game plan and game calling weak and very little physicallity on both sides of the Ball. Deer in headlights is the bottom line. Overmatched in all aspects. Players and Administration got what they wanted. A real shame to see.

  17. Just when we started to have a bit of a good feeling about this season, it gets thrown in the dumpster.

    I’m not a football coach, but if your opponent is supposed to be really bad at stopping the run, shouldn’t we run the ball? A lot?

  18. after Brennan, Faust, Davies and Weiss you would think ND would quit hiring HC’s with no experience. Money is no problem so why do they settle for less.
    I don’t know if wcould beat Colgate right now. Crest either. SMDH

  19. Not only should Swarbrick be fired, but it’s time for Fr. Jenkins to step aside too. I have not been a fan of the artificial turf. We now have pretty buildings surrounding the football field, and new wider bleachers that cut down seating capacity by about 3000. How do you make that up? Fancy suites for the rich and charging more for tickets for crappy football! I remember Swarbrick saying he would rather have a non sell out stadium with a bunch of raucous fans than a full stadium that is quiet. Be careful what you wish for. The raucous fans need to start chanting Fire Jenkins and Swarbrick!!!

    What I witnessed last night was beyond pitiful. Some local high school football teams could probably give ND a run for their money. No more pep rallies any more either except one to kick off the season. Since Lou left we have gone from a football powerhouse to a fencing powerhouse. Watching paint dry would have been more exciting to watch yesterday.

    • Abe Lincoln would have fired Swarbrick and Rees by now. ND is not moving up in academic rankings; Vanderbilt is. Time for Jenkins to go. Neville Chamberlain has to go; time to bring in some big dogs like Churchill and Ike.

      • Mr. G., How old are you? Where did you here the academics are diminished? I hope you’re talking General Ike. As president he looked like he was on a bad batch of serotonin. You may be right about Jenkins, however, Freeman ain’t Winston or Dwight so hang on to your 1938 Summa Cum Laude and let him prevail for now.

  20. David Krhovsky says:

    The players appear to love Marcus, and that may be part of the problem. The head coach can’t be buddies with his players and be effective. The players need to respect their coach and understand that he will need to be tough on them at times. Marcus does not display that. In fact, he displays very little emotion on the sidelines which is also puzzling. I think Coach Freeman is a good man, but ND unfortunately has set him up to fail. This will not end well for him or for the university.

  21. When is ND’s admin going to stop experimenting with rookie head coaches? Jenkins and Swarbrick are the latest responsible. For more than 50 years, these experiments have continued with abject failure. Can you say Terry Brennan, Joe Kuharich, Hugh Devore, Bob Davey, Jerry Faust, Charlie Weis, and now Marcus. MF seems like a good fellow but his sideline looks show too much fear, loss, and little emotion. With a $13 billion+ endowment and the still in place NBC contract, the school can surely afford a real HC. Enough with the experiments, which are making the claims of ND’s continuing irrelevance more and more pronounced.

  22. John Kelleher says:

    I can’t add anything more than what has been written above except that I am glad I don’t live closer to ND and feel the need to all the home games. This reminds me of 1963 when I was a frosh at ND when we had an interim coach, Hugh Devore. We went 2-7, but he recruited some incredible players and then with a new coach (ARA) went on to win a national championship. Is there a chance for that magic to happen again? Maybe, but I doubt it. Very sad. 🙁

  23. Alejandro Sanchez says:

    I turned off the game at halftime. I didn’t even check the score until the game was over.

    After the Ohio State game, a guy on another forum said the Irish were still in the BCS hunt. I wish that thread was still active.

    The Cal game was a win, but not a good one. I guess, at this point, at least it was a win. The Irish could be 2-4.

  24. The defense was on the field almost a full quarter more than the offense; the defense can’t catch their breath when the offense only manages three-and-outs. That’s my only defense of this game.

    Styles and Lenzy just oxygen thief’s at this point. I’ve just never seen an ND squad so completely hopeless, and I was around for The Faust era. There’s nothing really to say is there other than this team is historically bad. I had to watch this sh*t-show then watch my Yankees crap their pants. I’m obviously being punished for something.

  25. Never thought I would say this, but Freeman is in over his head, and his staff is awful.Lombardi said ,”football is blocking and tackling”-we do neither well. This staff cannot figure out what is wrong 6 games into the season?Tells you all you need to know. Looks like the popular choice for head coach was not the best one.

  26. The Dark Knight says:

    The only way major change will happen is if the PTB get told by NBC Universal that their contract is being terminated for default for not providing a quality product on the field, along with other major donors pulling their $$$ back (latter is not likely). Notre Dame needs to declare whether they will be an Ivy League school with a de-emphasis on football, or return to their origins and strive for excellence in all fields, including the gridiron – my guess that decision has already been made, just not being admitted publicly.

  27. About the only good takeaway in this game is that even though the tackling by the defense left a lot to be desired Golden’s D held Stanford to almost 14 points below their season avg. of 29.2. But it’s inexcusable that Rees’s offense couldn’t put at least 17 or 21 points on the board when Stanford is giving up 33 points a game and 40 points a game if you throw out their 41-10 victory over a terrible Colgate team.

    IMO, Tommy Rees will be auditioning to keep his job every week for the rest of the year. Freeman can help Tommy save face by hiring a co-offensive coordinator but relegating Rees to primarily a QB coach for the 2023 season. Play calling will be handled by the incoming co-offensive coordinator.

  28. A game we could have / should have won? Of course. I know exactly what T Rees’s problem is. It isn’t that his play calling is so bad. It’s a C-. He simply has no imagination, no creativity: none. And the defensive coaches? Stanford ran the exact same plays in the second half as the first. And while they only kicked two FG’s, they still kept the defense guessing. And then our ineptitude. Next year is a long way off, but it won’t make any difference.

  29. Hey let’s limit the hysteria. We lost this game because our offense blows. Seriously blows. Rees doesn’t have an imaginative bone in his body; and Pyne is no D1 QB. Our defense held Stanford to about 10 points below their average against the likes of USC, Washington, Oregon, etc. And the problems with the offense were on full display during the Blue-Gold game. Pyne sucked in that game as well. Let’s just use the rest of the season to find out who can play (and coach) offense. Fire Rees aka BK 2.0. Give Angeli and even Powlus a look at QB– they can’t be worse than Pyne. Ain’t nothing to lose.

  30. I can’t really add much, but just want to point out that on the last ND play on 4th down the receiver was 2 yards short of the down to make so even if he caught it he would have been short. You can’t even run a proper route? I hate to say it but ND is in a really bad place and showing a ND ad about fighting corruption in Angola (!!!) says it all.

    • Irishhawk, I am so glad you pointed this out. I noticed it at the time and wondered what the receiver or quarterback could be thinking. No sense of the situation whatsoever. I am exhausted watching second tier teams and freshmen quarterbacks around the country throw the ball with success up and down the field while we stare down our tight end and hope he makes a play. We simply have not developed quarterbacks. Not since Joe Montana have we had a productive NFL quarterback. Some of our QBs have been serviceable, but none great (possible exception Kevin McDougall for one year). Until we can get and develop a difference maker at QB and some playmakers we will continue on this unsatisfying path.

      • McDougall définitely would have led us to a National Championship if our All-America linebacker had plowed into BC’s quarterback instead of doing an Irish jig and let him complete a pass close to the end of the game.

  31. Your analysis is right on…an absolutely unacceptable performance from top to bottom…they weren’t ready to play and were totally outcoached and out played in every facet…

  32. What struck me through out the game was how I’ll prepared both the offense and defense were. This is squarely on the coaches shoulders.

    Jerry D

  33. Who calls a jet sweep on the goal line, while your power back idles on the sideline?
    MF should have sent campus security to escort TR off the campus for his own safety. Sad.

    • JV. Thanks for the writeup.
      That call was lazy and crazy. Lazy in that it was predicated on the offensive line not doing their main duty which is to achieve short yardage. Crazy in that it assumed mental ineptitude by Stanford. Short yardage has plagued us for some time and I would have thought that we would have up-coached it by now this season.
      Tommy Rees will be a pretty good coach someday/somewhere. But Freeman needs new blood at Offensive Coordinator Anything else is complacency and mediocrity. Freeman was a continuity hire, Rees too. Since continuity is now blown (we are now losing) we will do better to rejuvenate ourselves.
      On defense I keep looking at these low scores. The Irish are pretty good on defense. And man that Harvard punter Jon Sot, he’s pretty good. Can’t say much else.

  34. John kelleher '67 says:

    I can’t add anything more than what has been written above except that I am glad I don’t live closer to ND and feel the need to all the home games. This reminds me of 1963 when I was a frosh at ND when we had an interim coach, Hugh Devore. We went 2-7, but he recruited some incredible players and then with a new coach (ARA) went on to win a national championship. Is there a chance for that magic to happen again? Maybe, but I doubt it. Very sad. 🙁

  35. Simply no words for the GARBAGE on display last night. NONE! FIRE TOMMY REES NOW!!! BYE BYE TO AL GOLDEN, TOO!!

  36. I watched a few of the post-game interviews, and there was one thing I was looking for – hoping for – but I did NOT see but would have loved to see – someone who was just flat-out PISSED. It seems to me that they all take their bland pills prior to the interviews and spout out platitudes – instead of just stating that they were flat out embarrassed by a team who “improved” their record to 2-4.

    I remember when Chris Zorich was playing – it was said that his teammates played with so much passion because they were afraid of what Zorich would do to them if they didn’t.

    Where’s the passion? Where’s the fire? Where’s the LEADER?

  37. Let’s please tell it like it is; Freeman took over an established top 10 team in a New Year’s Day bowl from Kelly only to have it fall apart almost immediately. He’s utterly lost and has no business head coaching at Notre Dame. Tommy Rees was an untalented, mediocre at best QB and has no business coaching something of which he has no expertise. Since it is unlikely the administration will make a politically unpopular move, the best we can hope are 7-6 seasons and appearances in the Liberty Bowl, etc.

  38. I strongly agree with the need to change the AD and school president in order for this to be fixed. there is no commitment from the University to get this done. they have a TV contract locked up-guaranteed so win or lose they make tons of cash. they have loyal but quiet fans to fill the stadium and when the fans dont go they sell the tix to the opposition who often are happy to fill the stadium. Why change that winning formula. On top of all that the to raise ticket prices without improving the product is simply arrogant. To pay high prices for tickets, fly in from out of town etc and spend thousands on a weekend for less than mediocre performances is not worth it. And by the way, not just with this coach but with every big game Kelly ever coached in (except against Clemson without their QB) and with all the three predecessors before him.

  39. Positive Outlook says:

    This is a disaster. Stanford and Cal are bottom-tier Pac 12 teams, and ND barely got by one and lost to another at home.

  40. Jordan Botelho punctuated his special teams tackle with a not-so-subliminal message to the coaching staff and his defensive teammates:”THAT’S how you put your opponent on the ground!” I hope someone was paying attention.

  41. I understand the coaching deserves to be criticized but what about the energy of the players? Why don’t they feel more of a sense of urgency? It just looks like they go thru the motions. I know I’m naive but ai never needed a coach to motivate me for a game

    • Frank – Agreed, and as I already stated above, I would have loved to see just one of the players interviewed PISSED. They got their butts handed to them in front of a home crowd by a team that “improved” its record to a lusty 2-4. That’s embarrassing.

  42. Mr. Vannie states the Irish were playing against a bunch of second stringers-where in the heck did he come up with this statement. They played against Stanford’s starters and got beat. It happens! Also for his information the term second stringers ( used as a disparaging remark) is a all encompassing term that is usually used by individuals who never played the game or no longer can play the game and are legends in their own mind. Years ago Joe Montana was a second stringer for a couple of years.

    • Three of the five offensive linemen for Stanford in this game were second team players due to injury to the starters. Notre Dame’s defensive line should have feasted on these players but instead were dominated and embarrassed by them.

      Dan, you need to know what you are talking about before you go copping an attitude and mouthing off.

    • I can tell you were very lonely sitting on the bench, Dan. The cheerleaders never noticed you, did they?

  43. No tackling
    No leadership (agree with “1 Historian” above)
    No offensive consistency
    Freeman doesn’t know what to do (e.g., useless quotes about have to get better)
    Fire Swarbrick (and thanks, Jack, for agreeing we’ll never get a top-4 playoff seed when we return to greatness after you’re gone)

  44. I was very surprised ND lost this game. I thought for sure the Irish would win this game and make it 4 straight! John, do you feel that ND took both Marshall and Stanford for granted? The reason why I asked you this is because the 2 games that ND played before meeting Marshall and Stanford, ND played two of their better games against OSU and BYU. Do you feel both the players and coaches were going into those games over confident and the fact that both of those games were going to be played at home?

    Anyway, still very frustrated with this loss!!! GO IRISH BEAT UNLV!!!

    • Joe,

      This Notre Dame team cannot afford to take anyone for granted. They did not play with passion or fire on Saturday and that is as much on the coaches as it is the players. Both Marshall and Stanford wanted to win more than Notre Dame and were able to overcome a significant disadvantage in talent level. Their respective coaches also did a far better job in preparation and in-game adjustments than Freeman and his staff.

      • WHY WHY WHY dosen’t any OC watch game films of KC Chiefs or Bills and copy their plays. I’ve been a ND Fan for over 65 years and this is one of the most under achieving team I’ve ever seen. Michael Mayer is a great tight end but he needs to fire up the team. Make changes immediately or your going to lose more than you win.

        • The Chiefs and Bills have terrific QBs and skill position players. Other than Mayer, ND has none of those things. There is a lot of criticism directed at Tom Rees, including my own frustrations with him, but this offense is bad for more than just one reason.

          • Exactly. The Irish can’t get a decent Quarterback, which in turn means they can’t get decent receivers. If She weren’t known as Tight End U, Notre Dame would be better served become a triple-option team, like Navy, as there would be no passing offense at all. And don’t mention running backs catching the ball as Tom Rees is still trying to figure out what a screen play is.

  45. WHY WHY WHY dosen’t any OC watch game films of KC Chiefs or Bills and copy their plays. I’ve been a ND Fan for over 65 years and this is one of the most under achieving team I’ve ever seen. Michael Mayer is a great tight end but he needs to fire up the team. Make changes immediately or your going to lose more than you win.

  46. Irish in the South says:

    In seeing our improvement in the games against NC and BYU, this performance was most disappointing. We moved backwards after winning 3 straight. Realizing this season is basically over, I want to see how MF and our team respond in the coming weeks.

    • Positive Outlook says:

      If ND can beat BYU and NC and hang with Ohio State, but lose to Marshall and Stanford at home, the problem is not lack of talent, but lack of preparation and motivation. I think the echoes are a curse if they keep the Domers from gearing up for contests that are perceived as less than marquee.

  47. Nothing good to say. Double cover our best tight end and don’t through the ball to anyone else. Too short to see over tall lineman. Defense is terrible. Not what I expected, based on last year’s defense under our now head coach. Just bad football. Hard t0 watch. Is this Irish football? I don’t think so.
    Get better Irish, I’m too old to watch this crap!

  48. Interesting Mr. Vannie that you chose to verbally assault my history when you know nothing about me however you refuse to publish my response to you. It would appear you are afraid to intellectually and verbally spare.

    • Yes, Dan, you are intellectually spare. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to engage in a battle of wits against an unarmed man, let alone a frustrated football wannabe hasbeen. I spend my days taking care of my one year old granddaughter and I can tell you she is far more interesting and much smarter than you. Now go away.

    • Dan – you have to be more careful with your spelling – you walked right into that one and you can’t really blame jv.

  49. AlGoldenDomer says:

    Freeman has been hamstrung from the get-go, given that Rees was named OC before Freeman was hired… who does that?? Freeman should have told Swarbrick NO WAY to those terms. Now he’s stuck with an abject incompetent OC and no way to do anything at all about the offense – Rees is untouchable. It’s a recipe for disaster.

    Yes the defense couldn’t get off the field when they most needed but they had six injuries if the NBC telecast was accurate. This one was squarely on the incompetent OC – now NINETY NINTH in scoring offense. How pathetic.

    What’s on Freeman is the team’s complete lack of passion. The team is soft. Heck, the university is soft, only a shadow of its once well-earned, hard-nosed, “fighting” reputation.

  50. Positive Outlook says:

    To put things into perspective, ND now joins Colgate* as the only other foe vanquished by the 2-4 Stanford Cardinal, 2022 edition.

    *Go Raiders!