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2016 Notre Dame Football Season

Julian Love Makes Freshman All-American Team

Notre Dame true freshman cornerback Julian Love was thrust into a prominent role this fall.  The unheralded, 3-star recruit responded by being one of the few bright spots in leaky defense.  On Tuesday his impressive rookie season was rewarded by being named a Freshman All-American by 247 Sports.  Not bad for a recruit they ranked as just the 46th best corner in the country a year ago. Julian Love wasn’t an early enrollee for Notre Dame, but it didn’t take him long to move up the Notre Dame depth chart upon arriving on campus this summer.  It wasn’t far into ...

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2016 Notre Dame Football Awards Extravaganza

It’s understandable that many feel there should be no awards given out to a 4-8 team, but as someone who took part in a 2-8 season as a high school football player I remember we put on ties, ate some pretty darn good prime rib, and trophies were distributed. So in that spirit, if I can eat some prime rib for my awful football team then I can hand out some fake awards for Notre Dame Football 2016. And really, there were some performances worth celebrating and once we’ve all gotten over the shock and dismay of the season, we’ll ...

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Revisiting The Notre Dame Preseason Over/Under Predictions: Defense

It’s generally best to predict any defense that is being led by Brian VanGorder to underwhelm and that sentiment certainly proved correct this season for a unit that finished (incredibly) at 45th in total defense. In hindsight it was a crime not to give an over/under on how many games VanGorder would last as the Notre Dame defensive coordinator, but in fairness to myself I was still soaking in the “third year in the defense” narrative and trying to conjure up ways that Notre Dame could somehow overcome losing Sheldon Day on the defensive line and the best linebacker in ...

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Revisiting The Notre Dame Preseason Over/Under Predictions: Offense

Back in August I made some over/under predictions for the Notre Dame offense and now that the season is over it seems appropriate that we take a look back and see how I did. It’s important to remember that when these guesses were made I was operating under the crazy notion that Notre Dame would be a playoff team (don’t laugh, you thought they’d be good too). That being said, the results were a mixed bag with some correct predictions and some that were way off. Quarterback Starts By The Quarterback Who Doesn’t Take The Field First Against Texas: 2.5 ...

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What’s Next for Notre Dame Football

After an unexpected 4-8 season – the second worst in program history in over five decades – Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick faces a crossroads project with far more long-term implications than the $400 million renovation project of Notre Dame Stadium with the same name.  Whatever direction Notre Dame takes over the next several weeks there is one thing that is absolutely certain: the program cannot have a repeat of the 2016 season.   Given Swarbrick has only two options moving forward, it’s time to evaluate what must be done to be successful moving forward regardless of which path is ...

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Breakdown of Notre Dame’s Finale Breakdown Against USC

The end of the first losing season for Notre Dame football since 2007 ended much the way it began, with the Irish opponent reaching the end zone with frustrating regularity. In their 45-27 loss to the USC Trojans, Notre Dame allowed a score in virtually every way possible: a field goal, a touchdown run, two scoring passes, a punt return, a pick-six and a kickoff return. Keeping Up With Jones Stopping the Trojans on the ground meant keeping Ronald Jones II in check. The Irish defense had brief moments of success in this category, yet watched him break off a ...

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Notre Dame Football Stock Report: Week 12

When it rains it pours, the hits just keep on coming, if it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all, kick a man while he’s down, and just when you thought things couldn’t get worse you go and do this. All things Notre Dame fans could have uttered at any number of happenings during the 2016 football season. Plainly put, it has been a nightmare, and the NCAA announcement on Tuesday that Notre Dame would have to vacate all the wins from their best season since 1993 just put the icing on that disgusting, molded cake. It’s ...

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Ugly Stats from Another Ugly Loss: Beyond the Boxscore Virginia Tech

The goal of earning a spot in a bowl game came to an end in South Bend on Saturday as Notre Dame watched a pair of 17-point leads fade away in their 34-31 loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies. They held a 24-7 lead with six minutes to go in the second quarter and then watched their offense collapse. The defeat drops them to 4-7 on the year with one game left to end this disappointing campaign on a bright note Time Was the Essence The Irish scored on their first three series and after the third tally, held a ...

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Notre Dame Football Senior Week Stock Report

Notre Dame enters senior week on a rare high after their 44-6 drubbing of Army in the Lone Star state last Saturday. It goes without saying that this has been a very difficult and unfortunate season for the 2016 class, yet some of the strongest performances have come from those playing in their final home games for the Irish next weekend. We’ll get to those guys in a minute. As a whole, last weekend represented one of the few times we were treated to a complete performance on all sides of the ball for this Notre Dame team: the offense ...

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Beyond the Boxscore: Notre Dame Overpowers Army

After a painful ending last week, Notre Dame spared the Irish faithful any nervous moments by completely dominating Army, 44-6, in a game that was over at halftime. One indication of that domination was that Notre Dame didn’t punt once. Third Down Magic One of the continuing problems that the Irish offense has had for much of the season has been its struggles on third down. No such problems existed on Saturday, with Notre Dame converting 77 percent of the time on 10 of their 13 opportunities. Such was the luck of the Irish that on two of their failures, ...

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Notre Dame Football Stock Report: Week 10

It would be hard for things to get much lower for the Notre Dame program right about now, following last Saturday’s one point loss to Navy, although losing to Army this week would definitely represent the bottoming out of the Irish market. And the question that has befuddled fans for a little over a month now has been what in the world is going on with the offense? It’s been the tale of two seasons, pre and post VanGorder. Prior to VanGorder’s firing, the Notre Dame offense was a formidable force, scoring 40 points a game and tallying 500 yards ...

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Beyond the Boxscore: Navy Runs Wild on Notre Dame

Despite having a clear understanding of how the Navy Midshipmen’s offense operates on a regular basis, the Notre Dame defense was still unable to clamp down and ended up on the short end of a 28-27 score. The defeat strips away much of the remaining chance that the Irish will go to a bowl game next month, considering they need to win their final three contests just to be considered for a mediocre bowl attracted by the allure of Notre Dame. Elusive Targets The Midshipmen have long relied on its running game to supply the bulk of its offense. Therefore, ...

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Notre Dame Football Stock Report: Week 9

If you want to play a fun game at home amongst your friends and family, maybe during the Thanksgiving holiday, envision all of the talent on the 2015 Notre Dame defense playing under Greg Hudson and Mike Elston and not the philosophy experiment we saw every week with Brian VanGorder. Something tells me Nyles Morgan would have had a role in that scenario. Something also tells me Jaylon Smith would have been better than one sack. If there is one trend that is pointing way up in the last month of play, it is the performance of the much maligned ...

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Beating the Miami Hurricanes Still Feels Damn Good

I was five years old when the infamous Notre Dame-Miami game took place in 1988.  I didn’t understand the significance of the game or why, when it ended, my parents celebrated like it was the happiest day of their lives.  Nor did I understand why my parents would watch the tape of the game over and over in the weeks after its ending.  And considering the Hurricanes had not set foot in Notre Dame Stadium in 26 years prior to last Saturday, everything I know of the rivalry lives in grainy footage and stories of Lou Holtz’s famed “Save Jimmy ...

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Beyond the Boxscore: Notre Dame Defense Suffocates Miami Ground Game

What looked to a be a blowout turned into a nail-biting win for the Irish as they came away with a 30-27 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. While the scoring shows 27 unanswered points for Miami, 14 of those points were directly attributable to special teams blunders. The first changed the momentum of the game and the second gave the Hurricanes their only lead. Putting Forth a Sack Attack Miami’s offense had been stopped cold in the first 20 minutes of this Notre Dame Miami 2016 matchup, helping explain why they only finished with 306 total yards. The Notre Dame ...

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