Another tough loss for a Notre Dame team that had BCS aspirations just a few weeks ago. The loss drops the Irish to 6-5 and more than likely seals the fate for head coach Charlie. Here are some notes and thoughts on the game.
- However you feel about Charlie Weis, I think it’s pretty obvious how the players feel about him after seeing them take the field arm-in-arm with their embattled head coach. Weis’s reaction also tells you all you need to know about how Weis sees his future at Notre Dame.
- It’s tough to go into the x’s and o’s of this game too much because the overlying theme of the game is the future of Weis. With the Irish at 6-5 now, there honestly isn’t any way to justify bringing back Weis for a 6th year. For those of us who were rooting for Weis, it’s tough since he put in more work and cared about the program more than his two predecessors, but a change needs to be made.
- And now onto the game…
- This game reminded of the 2008 Pitt game in a lot of ways. The most obvious being that Notre Dame was in complete control of the game until a stupid personal foul penalty on 3rd down that extended a drive. Last year it was Harrison Smith, this year it was Sergio Brown drawing the costly penalty.
- How’s this for a ridiculous stat. Notre Dame is 2-4 with a healthy Michael Floyd this year and 4-1 without him. All of the creative ways that Notre Dame was getting Tate the ball went away when Floyd came back.
- I stopped trying to figure out what Jon Tenuta was doing with his game plans a couple weeks ago, but this one really confused me. It was clear that UConn was scared to let Zach Frazer pass the ball after the INT in the end zone yet, they were still able to just run right at the Notre Dame defense in the fourth quarter and overtime.
- Another year in the weight room is going to help a couple of the young DL – Ethan Johnson and Kapron Lewis-Moore especially. Both had their moments, but got over-powered at times. Hopefully by next year the DL will have a larger rotation so that the line doesn’t wear out by the end of the game.
- Darius Fleming showed some more flashes of being a great pass rusher again this weekend. He is another player who should really benefit from another full off-season.
- Golden Tate had 95 yards receiving in the first quarter and then just 28 the rest of the game? Against Navy he barely got the ball in the first half and then blew up in the second half. Can’t figure out why it’s been so difficult to keep getting him the ball. UConn has an OK defense, but not the kind of defense that should be able to take a player of Tate’s caliber out of the game.
- It was nice to see some consistent punting from Ben Turk. His performance this year was very concerning up until this weekend. Turk averaged 47.0 yards on 5 punts with a long of 50 and a net average of 47. In the four previous games Turk punted, he hadn’t averaged more than 40 yards in any one game.
- Speaking of special teamers, hats off to David Ruffer. While filling in for the injured Nick Tausch the last two weeks, Ruffer hit on all 4 of his field goals including a 36 yarder in the second overtime. Ruffer and Tausch have combined this year to connect on 19 of 23 field goals – that’s a nice improvement from last year and should give us some hope for next year.
- Armando Allen set a career long with a 26 yard run. Who thought we’d be saying that after three years? If Allen can get passed that last tackle that always trips him up, he could become an elite back. His 64 yards receiving were the second highest single game output for him as well.
- Was this the last game for Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate in Notre Dame Stadium? If it was, both went out with some nice looking stats. If you would have told me in September that Clausen would only have 23 TDs heading into the finale though, I would have said you were crazy.
- Notre Dame held a 11:07 to 3:53 time of possession advantage in the third quarter but managed just 3 points and was outscored 7-3 by UConn thanks to a 96 yard kick return by Jordan Todman.
- Notre Dame scored 14 points on its first three drives of the game and then just 6 over its final 9 drives of the game before overtime.
- Two costly fumbles by Michael Floyd and Armando Allen ended up playing a large roll in the Irish loss.
- In many ways, this game was a microcosm of the season – and the Weis Era. Notre Dame started out really fast and looked like it was going to cruise to an easy victory and send the seniors off the right way. Then a stupid penalty changed the momentum.
- Thank you to all of the seniors (and maybe some juniors) who played their last games in Notre Dame Stadium.
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