USC Speeds Past Irish

Caleb Williams earned the Heisman Trophy tonight with a superb display of athleticism and skill as the USC Trojans raced past Notre Dame by a 38-27 score. The outcome was apparent on the first series of the game when the Trojans put their electric speed on display and put the Fighting Irish defense on roller skates. USC sealed the victory and a likely playoff berth when Drew Pyne fumbled on the first series of the second half. The Trojans quickly extended a 17-7 halftime lead to 24-7 and held off the visitors from there. Notre Dame finishes 8-4 on the year pending a bowl game.

Williams directed a well-choreographed opening drive that exposed the Irish linebackers and overall lack of speed. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was USC’s defense, which knifed through Notre Dame’s front line all night long to create havoc. The Irish never effectively adjusted and the running game failed to gain traction.

USC extended its lead to 10-0 before the Irish finally got on the scoreboard in the second period. Pyne hit Michael Mayer with a 22-yard scoring strike to make it 10-7 six minutes before the half. Williams then led his team on a long, soul-crushing march. One of several miraculous escapes from pressure and a 23-yard pass helped set up his first of three rushing touchdowns of the night. This one came on a perfectly executed RPO where Williams pulled the ball from his tailback and waltzed into the end zone as the Irish went for the fake.

Caleb Williams eluded the Irish pass rush and scored three touchdowns

Trailing 17-7, Notre Dame took the second half kickoff and moved into scoring territory. Disaster struck as Pyne tried to pull the ball back from his running back but dropped it on the ground. The Trojans recovered and proceeded to embark on a march that would quash any reasonable hopes for an upset.

The Irish continued to try to get back in the game despite the body blows they were absorbing. They closed the deficit to 31-21 with six minutes left but a poor throw by Pyne was easily picked off by the opportunistic Trojans. Williams cashed in the mistake with a 16-yard scoring run to make it 38-21. Notre Dame scored again with a minute left to account for the final 38-27 margin. Michael Mayer caught his second touchdown pass and ended his career as the best tight end in school history.

Overall, Pyne performed as well as anyone could expect. The lack of a running game put Notre Dame in a hole in which they had to play from behind all night. The junior finished 23 of 26 for 318 yards and the two scores to Mayer. The two turnovers resulted in 14 points for USC, although the Trojans were not having much trouble finding the end zone without them.

USC’s speed and strategic superiority exposed numerous shortcomings that Marcus Freeman must address during the offseason. On the coaching side, the Trojan defensive game plan negated Notre Dame’s strength while Lincoln Riley’s offense expertly attacked the glaring Irish weaknesses at linebacker and in the secondary. Poor tackling reared its ugly head again for the visitors but it was the overall play of Williams that sealed their fate.

Let’s review the answers to our pregame questions:

  • Will Notre Dame’s pass rush be able to keep containment on Williams? Hell no.
  • Which team will be able to run the ball most effectively? The Trojans outrushed Notre Dame by 204-90. That ultimately was the difference in the game. That doesn’t even include the five miles or so that Williams ran to escape the pass rush.
  • Can Pyne avoid a game-changing interception by the opportunistic Trojans? It wasn’t game-changing but it was game-over.
  • Will the Irish offensive line win its battle against the tough Trojan front four? USC’s defensive scheme made the Irish tentative. Their win on a fourth down Irish sneak underscored their superiority where it counted.
  • Can Mayer dominate the smallish USC defensive backs? Yes, even when they grabbed and held him.
  • Which team will have the fewest penalties and turnovers? The Trojans had no turnovers and didn’t hurt themselves with penalties until after the issue was decided.
  • Can the Irish come up with another special teams surprise? Riley had an answer for that as well with quick kicks on fourth down that put Notre Dame in a field position hole.
  • Will all holding and pass interference calls go against Notre Dame? Almost. The referees finally flagged USC for offensive holding after they felt it was safe to do so.

The poor start to the game was decisive in that the Irish never held the lead. A few Irish defenders such as Isaiah Foskey, the Ademilola brothers, Ben Morrison and Xavier Watts played their hearts out, but it was not enough. If there was any comedic relief in this game, it was watching Marist Liufau blitz on nearly every down and run right smack into a Trojan blocker. It also should be noted that the Irish played without starting cornerbacks Tariq Bracy and Cam Hart. That certainly didn’t help.

In addition to Pyne and Mayer, Deion Colzie was a factor for the Notre Dame offense and had a touchdown reception to show for his efforts. The team will miss Mayer next year and desperately needs an upgrade in speed at the skill positions to compete against quality teams.

59 thoughts on “USC Speeds Past Irish

  1. Good epitaph to a sorrowful night for ND.
    MY hougbts are that ND’s defence is lacking more aggressive tackling. forget the ball hit low and bring the runner down rather than trying to steal the ball. Get the kill mentality if you want to win. ND Quarterback needs good offensive blocking and better handoffs that the runner can follow.
    Just my thoughts.

    • SC 3rd worse rushing defense in CFB and Irish can do nothing. As usual no halftime adjustments.
      Reese has to go!

  2. Tough loss John! I agree that the ND defense was a step slower and need to get faster LB’s. Still proud that the Irish never quit and still had a chance to win the game if it wasn’t for those darn TO’s!! John, is it possible that ND could meet LSU in a bowl game? Boy, I would love to see that happen and beat them would be Awesome!!!

  3. ndmortician56 says:

    Can we please just address the elephant in the room? Freeman took over a New Year’s Day bowl, 11-1 team and turned them into a mediocre 8-4. SC was a nothing 4-8 team we routed last year and now is a contender under Reilly. Difference is they have an established, successful head coach and we have a coaching wannabe who should be coaching at Akron or Riverside City College. In addition, we have an offensive coordinator who was an inept, talentless player and would do as well coaching brain surgery. I’ve seen this movie before, starring Gerry Faust, Ty Willingham, Charlie Weis, and ..Bob Davie. It was a stinkburger

    • They also accepted 20 transfers, including a probable Heisman trophy winner, completely remaking their roster overnight. I like Freeman and think he’s going to do just fine.

      • Exactly Mike! ND must figure out how to smooth the undergraduate transfer process as this is the wave of the future for teams not named Alabama.

      • The 20 transfers is precisely the reason why ND lost. It has nothing to do with coaching. Many of those transfers were lured by NIL money. This is the year that college football officially turned more professional than the NFL. In the NFL there is a salary cap; in college ball the sky is the limit. As a guy who graduated from ND in ’71, I really cannot see how football still fits into the educational mission of our university. On this night, it is very significant that David Shaw has voluntarily resigned from Stanford. I have to believe that he no longer wants to deal with the transfers and NIL issues. I have a lot of respect for him and his university. I’m done with following college football. It’s lost its soul.

        • Irish in the South says:

          I agree the portal/transfer system is bad for college football as we have known it. It instills NO loyalty to the school. College football is now only a step to money and the NFL. It is trending to “one and done” like college basketball. Those 20 transfers at USC could care less about their college.

          • I agree with you. The concept of school spirit/loyalty has pretty much vanished. I graduated from ND in 1971 and it was a whole different football culture. I went to class with players like Terry Hanratty and Coley O’Brien and ate meals with many of the players in the South Dining Hall. They played on real grass in the afternoon with nary a t.v. timeout. How different things were then.

        • ND is using NIL and supposedly in a fashion that is quite beneficial to players already on the roster. An elite QB with meshing components seems to be a key ingredient to challenge or win an NC over the past decade. Until ND gets a comparable QB they dont stand a chance.

        • You are right on. Michael Wilbon on PTI said a while back that college football will go the route of Boxing and horse racing. I doubt it, but this current situation sucks

    • Irish in the South says:

      I am sticking with Freeman. The multi-star QB (and other star recruits) cannot get to ND fast enough. Let Freeman work with these new recruits before saying goodbye.

    • I think you’ll find most coordinators were less than stellar players. Note, I said most.

      This is not a defense or advocacy of Rees. He is in over his head and has this job without enough exposure to other systems under other offensive minds other than Kelly’s. He might even be a decent coordinator someday, but right now he is way to young in both age and experience, and said experience should not be at ND.

    • Spot on. Get rid of the A.D. while you are at it. Good thing N.D. is not a corporation with stockholders. They would have sold out years ago. The MBAs at the top of N.D. should not be at the top.

  4. #♥️☘️50 says:


    WELL said! What is barely mentioned at all is the two disgusting coaching decisions early in the game that helped cause our demise (1. instead of running north/south we decided to run east/west on a 3rd and short for a loss! 2.). 4th and 1 with a T.E. sneak instead of getting points with a F.G.!) For the longest time this game should have been a one score game.
    YES! SC went to the transfer portal to revamp their team! No reason why ND can’t until Freeman gets his feet! You can already see that ND is behind in this area and is reluctantly willing to change with the times. Other programs across the country have a well balanced team of transfer portal players and recruits, NO REASON why ND can’t!!!!!! Honestly, with Freeman (which I like) or without him, ND is NO CLOSER to winning a National Championship since ’93! UNTIL ALL IN MENTALLY from Administration to players takes place, we will be facing these seasons continuially in the future.

  5. This was one of those games where the score didn’t really reflect how badly one team dominated the other. I thought I was watching a Youtube Pete Carroll Trojan team beating the daylights out of a mismatched and outcoached embarrassment of a Charlie Weiss ND team, all over again. .

    People can like the professional acting and all-around nice guy Freeman all they want but the tackling issues remain from a year ago, and the coaches are loathe to let newer, perhaps better guys get into the game. Coaching not addressing/can’t address season-long player issues. Clemson and North Carolina (ND wins that looked good at the time) are good teams but as good as we thought. We can’t think it’s ‘Lou Part 2’ when it ain’t- not yet anyway. Here is what tonite felt like- Marcus and team are what their record says they are- just a bunch of Charlie Weis re-runs. Like then, ND in big-time games is a horror show and only somewhat respectable in the rest of them.

    • I’m guessing 95% of this message board community disagrees with you. The game was very evenly matched. The two fumbles both bounced in USCs favor. QBs can’t run like that without holding. Weis would’ve lost this game 52-7.

    • I agree with everything you said. Freeman can be a great coach and a great recruiter, if the moment is always too big for him and he does not put newer players in the game, what dose it mater. Just when I thought ND got a coach that has an aggressive defensive approach Freeman comes with three down lineman and the most poorly timed blitz in history. This is why the d-line looks so bad. Every Notre Dame fan knows what bad coaching looks like, we have seen a lot, nothing wrong with calling it out.

      After this season we are back a square one wondering can the new coaching staff spot talent, can they coach guys up, will that lead to freshman and sophomores coming in a dominating (especially on the defensive side of the ball). Notre Dame does not get the type of players where a coach can just start upperclassman. Pyne was serviceable at best, now will Freeman roll with him next year because he gives them the best chance win, if so nothing has changed.

  6. Nick Kottenstette says:

    If we kick the field goal and don’t turn the ball over on the must score opening drive in the second half we make it to overtime.
    If Pyne was chased and pressured as much as Caleb Williams was we would have lost by 28. Defense had a great first half, coverage sack was the highlight. Unfortunately, they were a bit gassed in the second half due to the early 3 and outs by the offense in the first half.
    Wish the team ran last night like they did against Clemson.
    Could have easily been an 11-1 season. Hope this talented team ends it at 9-4. Go Irish!

    • Clemson gave up 21 points with 18 yards of Notre Dame offense. SC didn’t turn the ball over, nor have a blocked punt….that is the difference in the game.

  7. The speed at linebacker is with younger guys but they dont play.

    How is it that a QB who couldnt start at one school becomes a success at Tennessee and another along with 19 transfers makes ND look slow and clueless. Coaching?

  8. The slow start by the offense and not scoring at all in the first 18 minutes put ND in a hole they couldn’t get out of. The USC coaches had obviously figured out ND by watching film and crafted and effective game plan and made sound adjustments throughout the game while I couldn’t tell if ND did or not. If you told me ND would only net 90 yards rushing I would have laughed.

    I totally agree with Vannie about Marist Liafu blitzes that accomplished nothing and ACC refs who only seem to call holding and pass interference on ND. Mayer was badly interfered with on his first touchdown pass but no call. On replays all year I’ve seen the opposing offensive lines grabbing the jerseys of Foskey and other ND D linemen that are almost never called.

    It sounds like sour grapes but USC was able to completely remake its roster overnight using the transfer portal. Without most of those players this game probably would have had a different outcome and Lincoln Riley would have to build his roster the old fashioned way through recruiting.

    I just hope this isn’t a sign of things to come against USC the next several years until Lincoln Riley heads off to the NFL. Getting dominated by USC every year for years shouldn’t be acceptable to the fan base or the ND administration.

  9. Fulkerson's Ghost says:

    What we are witnessing is the future of ND. It has been their story for the past 4 decades. They will have mostly decent seasons, and occasionally beat a big name. They will occasionally have a really good season but ultimately wind up embarrassed by a big name in a bowl game.

    This is ingrained into the fabric of the culture of both the team and the university. There is no fixing it. It took me a long time to come to peace with this, but it has saved me from putting a foot through the TV screen every Saturday.

    • N.D. is also stuck in the mud academically. Have not moved up in rank in years. Ho hum! Where did the vision go? Father Sorin and Hesburgh and Coach Rockne are not happy campers now. Is it time for a new President, A.D., and Board? Wouldn’t probably hurt a thing!

  10. The 20 transfers definitely made a huge difference. that just doesn’t seem right to me to allow that. it allows a coach to completely change his team personnel every year.

    But if the Irish had three or four (more) sacks, they still could have won the game. Unfortunately, opposing quarterback Harry Houdini disallowed such a reality. we kept blitzing a Mack truck into a brick wall, too. What was that all about?

  11. All USC needs is a competent coach, and now they have one. The wave of transfer talent accelerated the inevitable rebuilding of Troy, and our side was overwhelmed. The images of missed tackles after first contact in the USC backfield and our defenders standing straight up and hugging USC backs and receivers were familiar and haunting. If I can see holding on national television, how can the officials ignore it?! I was a student when Rocket and Bettis left early and am only in stage 2 of my grief over Mayer’s impending announcement. The flood of Michigan fans headed to Indianapolis will not cheer me, either. An elite quarterback and a defense that tackles cleanly are what I most want for Christmas, either from Santa or the transfer portal. Go Irish!

  12. Great analysis Vannie.The lack of speed is appartent. The Liufau continious blitz with the same result was pathetic. And once again, tackling s a huge issue. The ineffextive blitzing scheme and tackling issues seem to continue year after year after year.

  13. I had a bad feeling when going in to the locker room at halftime Lincoln Riley was smiling like a 5yr old at Christmas time. That told me he knew they had ND back on their heels and he wasn’t worried about anything ND would do in the second half.

    Freeman and the coaches better learn how to wipe that cocky smile off of his face in 2023 or they need to look for new jobs.

    We are all going to miss Michael Mayer. He’s been such a linchpin of the offense that he’s going to leave a big hole next year.

      • Mayer would be foolish to play in a meaningless bowl, and he’s no fool. Remember what happened to Jaylon Smith?

      • Irish in the South says:

        I think Mayer will play. He won’t let his team down like Hamilton and Williams did last year. You are either on the team or you are not on the team. He won’t sit on the sidelines in street clothes while the teammates that need him in there are busting their butts to win a game. Too idealistic?? so be it!!

    • Riley had us under control the whole game. He actually allowed us to look reasonably good; Funble and bad handoff aside, Pyne had a fabulous game with a fantastic completion percentage. SC pretty much left Pyne alone to do his thing. Riley knew he had the tools to win what to most casual observers was a hard fought game with a UCLA-like opponent. It impressed the playoff and Heisman committees. We should see SC unleashed against Utah this Friday night.

  14. JV,
    Thanks for the excellent writeups this year.
    Twenty Transfer Trojans. That wasn’t the same Trojan Team as last year because it wasn’t the same Trojan Team as last year. College football is in serious Trouble. At least with me.
    Go Irish.

  15. Trying to step back a bit this morning after reading all the previous comments and your (JV) review. I don’t think anyone missed all the obvious weaknesses. I might add a bit about blown coverages in the secondary. I hate to agree with the naysayers about coaching and play calling but that seemed to jump out to me as the game progressed (actually from the first USC drive) and the Irish didn’t make adjustments on offense or defense. I really don’t think there was that much of an advantage to USC from the portal talent wise verses the Irish except for Williams.

  16. I can’t help but notice several references to the ND administration’s commitment to building an elite football program. IMO, and I could be wrong, there is no commitment to achieving that. This topic has been discussed for years, ad nauseam.

    All else aside, to be an elite CFP team you need several elite players on your team and have to get them through recruiting and now the transfer portal.

    The University’s President, AD, cannot or will not lead this charge. I wholly agree with the notion expressed by other responders that the administration is content with an 8-4;9-3 regular season record, that’s the standard of success they envision for the program.

    IMO, Accepting that, it seems unfair to hold the coaches and players we do have and appreciate to the CFP standard of excellencr.

    • Good point. What is the board of directors for? IMO, your comments also are pertinent regarding ND’s academic ranking among U.S. Universities. I guess ND figures they are making enough money on tuition and ticket sales so why not just sit on their laurels. It is getting old. My Grandson’s will go to Boston College or Georgetown if they can get in even though I went to ND. Easier to get a direct flight into Reagan or Logan anyway.

    • Amen. This anti-football attitude started with Hesburgh. That is why ND seems to always be behind the changes in football (bowl games to transfers to now the portal). Have seen this for 50 years & only 3 NCs. Faculty cares about academic standing only (few others do).

  17. JVan,

    Thanks you for all of the before game and after game write-ups. I consistently find them to be thoughtful, accurate, and fair. I particularly like it when you are able to point out a player or unit has shown growth and improvement or just performed really well in a particular game. Hopefully next years team will earn and deserve kudos from you more often than this year’s team!

    Thanks again!

  18. Pyne had a good night stats-wise, but let’s not kid ourselves, good coaches do what they always do against ND for the last so-many years: sell out for the run and dare you to beat them with the pass. And when you see some of the wide-open receivers that Pyne misses starts making me question whether he just can’t get up to speed of the game or is too short to see what’s going on.

    Williams is obviously an exceptional athlete, but how the Irish weren’t picking up on him death-staring the receiver he wanted to throw to is miraculous. Helps your game too when your O-line has impunity to grab jerseys and complete take-downs. Lifau’s absolutely lifeless blitzes did nothing but leave the middle of the field open. ND’s coaching squad got totally outclassed, completely exposed: Grade F. Other than that, it was a fine game.

  19. Williams was the definite difference as well as scheme and execution. But it wasn’t all negative for the Irish. Hopefully this will teach them what they need to aim for. I was not totally disappointed with Drew Pyne’s play. Williams played well but he is obviously not humble.

  20. ND running back commit Jeremiah Love scored 5 TDS for Christian Brothers HS to win state title in OT. Can’t wait to see him at ND. He’s as exciting a runner as STL Domer Kylen Williams.

  21. Let’s analyze the game from reality, rather than just criticism. Pyne had 88.8 percent completion rate and of the 24 completions he spread the ball around to other receivers then Mayer, who had 8 catches that means that 16 passes were caught by other receivers, so he did a pretty good job of spreading his completions around. The unfortunate fumble was tough, but the interception was part of a scramble to try to get back into the game. The tackling for each team was similar. The Trojans had about the same amount of single tackles as the Irish in an overall tackling comparison of 90 by the Trojans and 102 by the Irish. So, the game was really loss by our chasing of Williams around and the failure of the secondary to stay in contact with their responsibilities in the secondary, before he crossed the line of scrimmage. This means that the has to be some kind of communication by the players to keep the defenders in place before Williams crosses the scrimmage line. That was the real difference in the game. Control him and take the turnovers down to one and then the score could be a very competitive. final score of 38 to 35. So, the facts are that the transfer portal did not have the impact on the game as much as you feel it had. Both teams tackled poorly at time and the statistics show that the game was close in that respect. So, stop whining and get behind the team and the coaches and realize that this team could have been a 9 wins and 2 losses with a better start to the season, that you had to expect with a new head coach, a new coaching staff, and time they had to get it together, as they did as the season progressed. Yes, the portals are a disgrace to the game, but we just have to get with it and do what everyone else is doing. Let me hear more positive words and less criticism, as that is not what Notre Dame fans should be doing it in support of their team….

    • The true difference in the game was USC’s ability to shut down the ND running game. That forced too much of the burden on Pyne’s shoulders. The turnovers were an expected outcome in that situation. USC’s defense did not overpower ND’s line, but ND could not or would not adjust to their slants and stunts up front. They had people in the backfield all night. ND’s line blocking became tentative.

      ND’s defensive plan was also poor, but it’s harder to blame the coaches for it. They had to play without two starting corners and the ND linebackers are ill-suited to play a team with that much speed on offense. ND gambled by blitzing to protect its second team corners in the passing game. Williams defeated the strategy with his scrambling. The Trojans were also able to run the ball more effectively because ND was forced to choose between defending the run or the pass.

      Most of the rationalizations you made here and assertions that the game was really closer than it appeared are simply wishful thinking. ND was outplayed, outcoached, and out-talented. I don’t love them any less because they lost but that is the truth of it.

      • Vannie, I do not understand Notre Dame’s middle linebackers. Why are the all 6 feet tall and 200 pounds? ND has big linebackers in the last few classes and some big guys coming in. Will Freeman go away from this little guy defense?

        • The linebackers in the upper classes reflect poor recruiting efforts by Clark Lea and Brian Kelly. Lea is a good coach but he hated recruiting. Marcus Freeman brought in some studs this year and hopefully they will be ready to play next year. Ideally they should have played more in 2022 but the staff elected to sit them in favor of trying to win more games with veterans. I guess Notre Dame thought a 6-6 rebuilding year would hurt its cash flow. My question is whether the coaches will have the courage to start the better young players next year over mediocre guys with more seniority. We’ll see.

  22. Joe Sukola '74 (Zahm) says:

    John pretty much agree with your analysis.It was really frustrating that we could not run on them. I watched as much of USC this year as I could and their D isn’t very good,though they save their butts by grabbing turnovers. I fully expected Williams to go off and their speed was ridiculous. The strategy of running to control the clock was the only way to win this. So big time disappointment that we couldn’t adjust to what they were doing defensively. Still those turnovers really hurt us and Brandon Joseph should have run that pooch kick back maybe even all the way. Still think we need a transfer portal qb until new recruits get here. Doesn’t have to be a Heisman candidate just a really solid qb.

  23. It is not so much our scheme to try to dominate with with a power running attack that didn’t work. It’s that we don’t use our most dominant back nearly enough. I don’t mean to harp on this but Estime is our best back period. Yesterday he had 6 attempts and averaged 7.2 yards. Diggs had 12 and averages 2.8. Am I missing something here. How about using your 230 pound bulldozer on 4th and one? Sound logical?!! Jones for USC had 25 carries last night and averaged around 6 yards per carry. I would love to see what Estime would do to a team with 25 carries sometime. Please!!!

    • I agree. It boggles the mind. Although USC would probably have won anyway, Estime would have run right over a few of their cocky defensive backs and stiff-armed the rest.

    • I often wonder the same thing myself – why is Diggs starting over Estime? Don’t get me wrong, Diggs is a great back, but a 230 lbs back would have evened the field. And Rees calling an end around on 3rd and 2, WTF was with that??? And having Diggs run it E-W is a complete joke. Diggs was probably thinking the same thing, “WTF, coach? You really want me to do this? OK.” In that situation, you plow straight forward. Rees and his silly play calling set the offense back and put theem off schedule. They plow it straight forward there and you have a different game. Starting with Estime would have made a difference, too. ND could and should have won this game, PERIOD.

  24. We lost this game despite reasonable expectations of winning on the part of many of us, due to our OC’s known propensity to go pass-happy. The formula for victory was well known in advance: RTDB, and thereby keep Williams off the field, protect the defense, control the clock (T.O.P.), and minimize Pyne’s shortcomings. The data above from Jim Tooley confirms we did none of that. Pyne over-achieved (surprisingly) but ultimately his two TOs cost us anywhere from 6 to 14 points, while giving USC 2 extra possessions which turned into 14 points for them; that’s POTENTIALLY (!) a 41-24 ND victory. As for our D-line, you saw Williams do his Houdini imitation multiple times from deep behind his line of scrimmage; that does NOT happen without ND getting repeated penetration and good downfield WR coverage(not perfect, but his passing stats were not Heisman-like – Pyne’s were better absent his TOs). The blitzing was ridiculous; Estime’s attempts were unforgivably too few; running E-W is a predictable losing effort for ND and has been for a long time, especially against teams with speed – it works directly against our advantages in size and strength. We fell behind 10-0, and Rees panicked and went with whatever his current iteration of the Kelly pass-happy spread BS is, and we lost as a result. For his own sake, that of his alma mater’s CFB program, and most of all Freeman, he MUST go. He’s a fellow alum, so I hope he goes to a good program where he can start at the bottom and work his way up learning a reliable offensive system from excellent and experienced coaches, and flush that BK crap out of his memory banks. If Freeman allows Rees to stay, it will be the beginning of the end of MF’s time at ND, and possible his head coaching career overall. As to the portal’s effect on this game, without all those transfers, USC gets crushed 10/10 times in that game by ND, even with LR coaching. He COMPLETELY re-built that team in 9 months, only possible with the portal and NIL. ND will not play that game because of the required ignoring of the transfer credits needed to obtain admission to ND as an undergrad transfer, nor should it. I suspect those two components will be reined in during the next few years, and that this Wild, Wild West approach will cease. Even if not, ND should maintain its focus on recruiting and developing its talent from high schools, with an occasional grad transfer a la Coan at QB in 2021. I have guarded faith in Freeman, limited by an unknown degree to which he will allowed by everyone’s favorite granny glasses-wearing poseur to install his stamp throughout the program. These next two months will be very telling.

    • “As for our D-line, you saw Williams do his Houdini imitation multiple times from deep behind his line of scrimmage; that does NOT happen without ND getting repeated penetration and good downfield WR coverage(not perfect, but his passing stats were not Heisman-like – Pyne’s were better absent his TOs).”

      It also doesn’t happen without repeated holding by the USC OL that were not being called. On the run play where Williams goes in while arrogantly looking back at the defense, TWO ND linemen were being held while no flag is thrown. Something needs to be done about this ACC officiating crew. They never called holding until USC was safely up. That is complete BS!!

      “Estime’s attempts were unforgivably too few; running E-W is a predictable losing effort for ND and has been for a long time, especially against teams with speed – it works directly against our advantages in size and strength.”

      Why Diggs is starting over Estime is a complete joke. As I said earlier, Diggs is a great back, but he is no Estime. If they had given Estime more touches and the time to get rolling, ND wins. Rees MUST go, I absolutely agree!! And, for the love of all that is right, please STOP trying to run Chris Tyree up the gut!! He is no built for this type of running. Play it to his strength of getting the ball in space. I was shocked when he ripped that run up the gut, but hell, I could have run through the hole the OL gave him. It should have been Estime, Estime, Estime, with some Diggs sprinkled in.

  25. Chet Zawalich says:

    ND needs to go to the transfer portal for a good starting qb

    if it’s pyne and Buckner it’s another 8 win season