October 30, 2012 // Notre Dame Football

What’s Next for Notre Dame?

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Oct. 27, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Dan Fox (48) celebrates after Notre Dame defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 30-13 at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

As The Irish walked off the field in Norman on Saturday night they had accomplished something very few thought they could. By doing so they had finally secured the “statement game” victory that had eluded Notre Dame and it’s fan-base for the last 15 years. The atmosphere in Memorial stadium was electric and felt like a bowl game, and although the Irish squad embraced it, they did not let it overwhelm them. At its core this Notre Dame squad is young, and the type of pressure these young kids dealt with is typically the kind that allows for more mistakes, unforced turnovers, and a general lack of adherence to the coach’s game-plan. Thankfully for Irish fans this is not a typical group of young kids and most would agree that Notre Dame played its most complete game of season and have forced the non-believers to finally take notice – the Irish are back!

Coach Kelly said it best with his post-game remarks talking about sticking to the plan, taking one week at a time, and focusing on the task at hand. Some would consider these remarks just your typical coach speak, but any true Irish fans know that their coach was speaking honestly and will make sure that this team does exactly that. He will allow the kids to enjoy this latest victory for 24 hours, and then it is time to start worrying about Notre Dames next opponent, the Pitt Panthers. With four games still left on the schedule it is imperative that the Irish stay focused and truly take it one week at a time, but that doesn’t mean that we have to. Each of the final four teams left will present a different type of challenge each week, and some will be obviously be more challenging than others.

REMAINING TEAMS:

Pittsburgh Panthers – Led by Coach Paul Chryst, the Panthers have been average under his current tenure, but if we are speaking honestly he walked into a mess. The panthers best win of the season would obviously be against a decent Virginia Tech team, but also had a horrible loss to start the season against Youngstown State. Pittsburgh has a duel threat in the backfield with Ray Graham and Rushel Shell that will allow fresh legs all game long, and Panther QB Tino Sunseri might give the Irish secondary a test as he has thrown for over 2000 yards, 13 td’s and only 2 interceptions so far. Some will call into the question the strength of schedule, and they would be correct. With three of their four wins coming against the likes of Temple, Buffalo, and Gardner-Webb, the Panthers are in no danger of taking over the top spot in BCS. They did give the currently undefeated Louisville Cardinals a tough match, and we would imagine that they plan on doing the same to the Irish. While we don’t see Pitt pulling off the upset here, we do see a closer game then some might expect. They can move the ball, but lack of a big strike offense and a consistent defense will hurt the Panthers in the end.

Prediction –

Notre Dame – 31

Pittsburgh – 17

Boston College Eagles – Whenever we talk about Boston College it is inevitable that someone will bring up 1993. Thankfully this version of B.C. football is nothing like that. The Eagles best win of the year so far happened just this past weekend against a very average Maryland team at home. This is a squad that has lost to the likes of Miami, Army, and Georgia Tech. The Eagles QB Chase Rettig can hurt your downfield, but lack of speed really hurts them in big play ability. Rettig also struggles with consistency at times, and should do the same against the Irish. The running attack is actually a bigger problem for B.C. as Andre Williams is averaging just over 4.5 yards per carry and as a group they are ranked 94 th in the nation. They lack depth on both sides of the ball, can’t score points, and give up a lot of them. Unless the Irish just absolutely take the day off in all 3 phases of the game, this one should be over shortly after it starts.

Prediction –

Notre Dame -48

Boston College – 13

Wake Forest – Where do we begin? Against teams that have a winning record in 2012 the Demon Deacons are giving up 39 points a game, but struggle as a team putting up points. Their quarterback Tanner Price has some severe issues in his game, and they just don’t go deep as a team. Price is averaging just 6.21 yards a completion, and his best receiver Michael Campanaro has just 44 receptions’ and is nursing a broken hand right now. Josh Harris and Deandre Martin will get the bulk of the carries in the backfield, but neither one of them pose much of a threat to the stout front seven of the Irish. This is the last home game of the careers for the Irish seniors, and we just see no scenario in which they allow the Demon Deacons a chance to be in this game.

Prediction –

Notre Dame – 44

Wake Forest – 9

USC – This is a game that could be one for the ages. Although USC is struggling this year on the defensive side of the ball, they can score points with the best of them. They have the ability to really hurt you down field and covering the likes of Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, and Xavier Grimble will be no easy task for the Irish young secondary. The Trojan offense also has a trio of talented backs that can cause havoc in the run game against the Irish. Silas Redd, Curtis McNeal, and DJ Morgan all have the ability to run outside and inside, and have very good athleticism, and Redd has shown some ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. The USC defense is talented, but has not played as a complete group much of the year. They have given up 21 points at Stanford in a loss, 29 points to Syracuse on the road, 28 points to Utah at Utah, and most recently gave up 39 points in another loss to Arizona on the road – do you see the trend? Now it is a different story when the Sothern Cal plays at home, as they have only given up a total of 25 points in three games in the coliseum. We are going to hold off judgment and a prediction of this game as we want to see what the Trojans can do against an elite team when Oregon comes to town this Saturday night. We have a feeling this game could get ugly quick for USC, but a lot of fans and media felt the same way about the Irish in Norman this past Saturday.

Prediction – TBD

If the Irish play up to their ability over the next three weeks, they will walk into USC on November 24th at 11-0 and in serious contention for a shot at the BCS National Championship Game. There is still a lot of football to be played, and at any time an injury could happen, certain teams could lose, so predictions are just that. So much is still unknown, and only time will truly tell the rest of the story for this 2012 Irish squad. It has been a long time coming for Irish fans so we suggest this. Instead of worrying about USC and a shot at another championship, try and enjoy every minute of what Coach Kelly and company is providing this year. A team that battles hard every week, a team that is full of good young men, and press-coverage that finally isn’t an embarrassment to watch.

Comments to this Article

  • Chuckie commented on October 30th, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Next step in the progression would be a nice haircut. Good barbers are surely alive at Notre Dame.

    [Reply]

    Tom Liston replied on October 31st, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    If they keep playing like they have all year, I don’t care if their hair is waist-length!

    [Reply]

  • spiceyirish commented on October 30th, 2012 at 8:14 am

    If the offense commits turnovers, then they can be upset.

    [Reply]

  • Jack commented on October 30th, 2012 at 8:52 am

    ONE GAME AT A TIME! I just want to know about Pitt and that is it. I also want to enjoy the moment for once and stop trying talking about National Championship. They are only 3/4 of the way through the season. This team needs to focus on Pitt!

    [Reply]

    storespook replied on October 30th, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    AGREE, AGREE, AGREE, AGREE let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Focus on Pitt and how to defeat them.

    Go Blue & Gold

    [Reply]

    irisheye62 replied on November 1st, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    We need to KILL Pitt so indirectly or directly it is an in your face to Mark May’s alma mater. ( Not that he cares about anything save for himself. Just the same, to stab his Panthers would show him who the BEST Blue and Gold is) * and it isn’t the Mountaineers or Michigan ( maize and blue-whatever) or anyone close to any shade of Blue and Gold–they are all GREEN with envy–GO IRISH
    one game at a time–get ‘er done!

    [Reply]

  • Toulmin H. Brown commented on October 30th, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Pittsburgh is a much improved team which put 30 plus on it opponent last week. Serious consideration should be forthcoming to former seasons 1993, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2006,…..ALL SEASONS IN WHICH THE BCSNC WAS WITHIN “OUR LADY OF THE LAKE”

    [Reply]

    Toulmin H. Brown replied on October 30th, 2012 at 10:35 am

    “Robert Hughes promoted from practice squad, signed to Colts active roster.”…….CONGRATULATIONS ROBERT HUGHES!

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on October 30th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Love it! Knew he would get there.

    [Reply]

  • NotreDan27 commented on October 30th, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Its amazing to me that Kelly has preached the steps his team needs to take to be a great team and in three years we have seen a complete turnaround. OU was a team that scared me but man what a win. Every aspect of the game was covered and our guys knew what to do every play. They also believe that they can win. Great job team, and coach!!!

    [Reply]

    Toulmin H. Brown replied on October 30th, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I STRONGLY DISAGREE. N.D. MUST KEEP GRINDING…This PAT N.D. ON THE BACK CR’P is a disaster as 2002 OR 1993 ended. (for those old enough to remember)

    [Reply]

    irisheye62 replied on November 1st, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Toulmin-I understand what you are saying but I disagree with YOU—NotreDan27 was saying that OU is still a great team but this signature win is an exclamation point in our column. It is hardly “job done boys–let’s go home.” Dan 27 stated -
    “they also believe that they can win.” This CAN–future tense is an indicator that the job is not done—I do remember 93–I will never get over that-( we should have at least tied for the title) 2002 was smoke and mirrors as a the field was short several times and we were hardly the team then that we are now— A Pat on the back coupled with a kick in the behind to keep going is what this team wants to keep going–they are not done–and NotreDan27 did NOT indicate that. NOtredan 27 did NOT indicate that at all!! ND —WE ARE ND-Mission–NOT accomplished yet. Keep on going Irish!

    [Reply]

  • Joeyknuklehead commented on October 30th, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Anybody know of an estimated point spread for Nd/USC. Although the players shouldn’t look past the next 3 weeks-I can’t help it.

    [Reply]

    David replied on October 30th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Sportsbook.ag has USC -3.5

    [Reply]

    Toulmin H. Brown replied on October 30th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    SC will be favored according to N.D.’s record. A undefeated ND would lower it too -2.5.

    [Reply]

  • C-Dog commented on October 30th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Pitt……just Pitt.

    Pitt has come on fairly strong. They should not be in a caliber of this ND squad, but anything can happen.
    Plus this squad still needs to develop. Success can be short lived if not built upon.

    I hope to see a balanced and successful rotation of running backs. Would love to see 2 over 100 yds. I also hope to see more Golson getting into a rhythm passing. Would love to see him getting the ball around to different guys and having that accuracy he developed last week.

    Defense? well, I’d like to see enough dominance to see some backups get significant playing time.

    [Reply]

  • scav commented on October 30th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I agree, just focus on Pitt. Remember 2002? ND just beat Florida State on the road and were ranked #4. Then BC came to ND and beat them 14-7. Now, BK has been there before, therefore, I think he will keep this team grounded.

    This team is young and they need to focus on getting better each and every week. But it is kind of nice when ESPN is looking at ways ND can be undefeated and not make it into the NC game. Didn’t think we would be having those kind of conversations this year, did you?

    [Reply]

  • Mike Flanagan commented on October 30th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    You are being to kind. Pitt won’t score 17, BC and Wake won’t score.

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on October 30th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I’m going to double down on EG. EG will have another big game because BK has allowed him to play like EG. I believe EG will spread his passes around and deep now that he’s turned the corner. EG is fun to watch, I think the WOW factor will definately be on display for Pitt. You could see it in the 7 play go ahead TD against OU, EG was on a mission to stick-it in the end zone. EG has skills many QB’s dream of!

    Here come the Irish!

    [Reply]

    storespook replied on October 30th, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Amen to that, JC. EG I believe (and I’ve said this a lot)he is going to be a good QB as he gets more and more seasoned, barring injury.

    Go Irish

    [Reply]

    Toulmin H. Brown replied on October 30th, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    “Barring injury” is correct. I saw the hit O.U. put on him and he’z young & must be insolated.

    [Reply]

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