Initial Impressions: Notre Dame 33, Miami 17

Wow.  What a way to end the season for Notre Dame.  After a surprising three game winning streak to end the season, Notre Dame capped off its last season resurgence with a 33-17 victory over Miami in the Sun Bowl.

Notre Dame dominated the game from start to finish with Miami never seriously challenging.  The win gives Notre Dame a 8-5 record – something no one saw coming after Tommy Rees pass was intercepted in the end zone to end the Tulsa game on Halloween night.

Here are some initial thoughts on the game.


  • If this was Michael Floyd’s last game in a Notre Dame uniform, he went out on a high note with a game high 106 yards on 6 catches with 2 touchdowns.  He nearly had another two touchdowns but dropped one and was just overthrown on another.  Floyd was absent for most of the second half after apparently getting nicked up.
  • Tommy Rees was solid in his first bowl game.  He missed some throws and left some plays on the field, but he avoided making the kind of mistakes he made against USC and led the Irish to its second bowl win in the last 17 years.   He ended up with 195 on 16 of 30 passing with the 2 touchdowns to Floyd.   Some of Rees weaknesses were shown in the second half, but we have all off-season to discuss the quarterback race for 2011.
  • Both Cierre Wood and Robert Hughes ran hard.  As a team, Notre Dame topped 200 yards rushing with Wood and Hughes leading the way.  Wood had 85 yards on just 11 carries including a nifty 34 yard touchdown in the second quarter while Hughes added 84 yards on 27 carries.
  • Wood will need to spend some time in the weight room this off-season to help him run between the tackles, but he looks like he has a very bright future.
  • Tyler Eifert is another player with a bright future and he was 2nd on the team in receptions with 4 catches for 31 yards.
  • Overall, the offensive line did a great job giving Rees a pocket to throw from.  Rees was hardly ever under duress when he dropped back.  Run blocking was a little more inconsistent – especially in the second half – but the line came to play in the first half while Notre Dame was building its lead.
  • Theo Riddick was incorporated more into the game plan, but still wasn’t targeted often in the passing game.  Riddick took a lot of snaps in the wildcat and ended up with 31 yards on the ground on 8 carries.
  • John Goodman and TJ Jones both came up with key third down catches in the 4th quarter to help Notre Dame control the clock.
  • This offense is still a shell of what it can be, but they were effective on Friday against a talented defense.


  • Wow, what a game from Harrison Smith.  Notre Dame’s most improved player on defense this year capped off his rebound year with three first half interceptions – tying a Sun Bowl record.  Smith has a fifth year of eligibility left and could be in line for a stellar season in 2011 if he comes back.
  • The Irish defense was stellar in the first half, but the lack of a pass rush let Miami get back in the game in the second half once Jacory Harris was benched.
  • The Notre Dame defense just wasn’t the same without Manti Te’o after he left the game with an injury.  He is clearly the cog that makes the Irish defense go and without him, Miami moved the ball.
  • Gary Gray continued to show why he is the best corner on the team with another strong performance.  Like Harrison Smith, he has another year of eligibility left and should be one of the leaders of the team next year.
  • Ian Wiliams had a nice return from injury and turned in a great finale for his Irish career.  Williams got a strong push up the middle and was a key reason for Miami’s inability to run the ball in the first half.
  • Robert Blanton led the team with 9 tackles and had an interception of his own.  He should be able to step into Darrin Walls’ starting spot next year without the Irish missing a beat.
  • Notre Dame registered just one tackle for loss, but it was a big play.  Darius Flemming stuffed Miami on 4th and 1 when the game was still somewhat in doubt.

Special Teams

  • Austin Collinsworth opened the game with a nice kick return that included a few broken tackles.  Collinsworth hustle play set the tone early and was a sign of things to come.
  • Unfortunately David Ruffer’s field goal streak was snapped when he missed a 36 yarder in the third quarter.  Ruffer did make 4 other field goals though from 19, 34, 40, and 50 yards.
  • Notre Dame needs to rework the punt return team for 2011, because it was a non-factor all season including today.  John Goodman did a solid job fielding punts, but Notre Dame was unable to change field position with punt returns at all this year.
  • Ben Turk capped of his season by nailing 3 of his 4 punts inside the 20 – a nice way to end what has been at times an inconsistent season.

Happy New Year to all of our readers!

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  1. miami will always be scum—-
    that is their heritage–
    they can’t escape it=–
    not like the 80’s and 90’s

    it’s not name calling
    it was ( and is to a certain degree) facts

    the era of the U sure plays reruns on ESPN–

    it wasn’t that long ago that they were swinging helmets on the field against a lesser florida team–
    which would be a crime on the streets
    and the broadcaster ( a miami scum alum) said “If I didn’t have this job and If I had a helmet I would be up there with them.)

    athletes at their worst
    thinking they are above reproach–

    not name calling

    they are still pond scum–
    and to a degree –greater or lesser–
    they will always be that—
    until they REALLY apologize

    ever heard any humility from Jimmy Johnson on this subject?
    didn’t think so—

    …….still scum–

    until they are real men with words of apology adn realize the cancer they’ve caused in college fb…..

    they’ve earned it
    they can burn it

  2. JDH,

    You wouldn’t know that by listening to the Miami sports talk shows. It sure sounds like a lot of Canes fans are willing to return to the bad, old days of U. of Miami being associated with convicts if that means winning titles. That’s really sad, JDH.

    But Miami has to be one of the worst sports towns in the USA. The fans are front-runners and media whores. If it’s an event, Miamians will be there. If their teams are winning (Heat), they’ll show up and be vocal. If not (Dolphins), then there are a lot of empty seats. (You should’ve seen how many Steelers fans were there in Miami in Oct. for the game against the Fins. There were about as many Stillers fans as Dolphins fans, JDH.) Other than the Dolphins, and even that relationship is beginning to sour, there’s no loyalty in Miami for sports teams, college or pro.

    I trust the powers that be in Coral Gables don’t sell their souls for the sake of some scumbag fans in Miami. But who knows, JDH.

    1. I believe what you say as I have no knowledge and no reason to refute it. 🙂

      Let’s just say that Miami is an, ahem, interesting place! Aside from the great weather and smoking-hot women, well, no thanks.

  3. JDH,

    Correct. Miami is no longer the den of vipers it once was. Donna Shalala (Miami president) and Larry Coker and Randy Shannon made sure their kids stayed in school, took real classes, and stayed out of trouble (by and large). In fact, Miami today is beginning to know what it feels like to be ND. As their academic standards have gone up, their on field performance has suffered.

    1. That’s what I’ve come to understand SFR. From what I hear it’s a good school. I can’t imagine they EVER want that image again that they obtained in the 80s and 90s…

  4. My only problem with the injury and off field issue comments is that ND did all the losing prior to injuries and off field issues…. It took the Injuries and Off field issue to humble him and make him coach football they way it ought to be coach….

    Like I stated above Coach kelly most improved and really did a complete 180 as a coach with Reese as QB because his Philosophy Changed…

  5. Brian Kelly, in the last month of the season, did as good a job coaching as anyone in CFB. Having to deal with a slew of injuries, including those to Floyd and Rudolph, two preseason AA’s, the losses to both Navy, and worse, Tulsa, and the tragedy of an on field death of a student team assistant, this team was close to falling completely apart. Instead BK got his guys to play as hard as they had all year, with some amazing performances by the D, guiding a true freshmen to play adequate QB, and going on an maintaining momentum to beat a decent team in a less than spectacular bowl. No doubt, Kelly deserves kudos for doing a remarkable job. And it is also a testament to his S&C program and Coach Longo ,who runs it, that the team was physically superior to Utah, SC and Miami, despite pundits yapping about the lack of ND athleticism vis a vis those three teams. It’s gonna be fun to see our players after 4, 5 years working with Longo.

    1. Amen Ripper!
      Amen and Amen indeed,
      well said!
      All the intangibles,
      all the off field things
      could have well shred the season into oblivion and “wait and see” for next year –again.
      I thought that’s where we honestly would be, given the
      horrific death of one of our own. Football is so irrelevant when things are put into perspective.
      However, life lessons and searching and going down deep in the soul inspired this team not just to win but the life lesson of not giving up and at the same time remembering the loss and death. This is tough for young men–heck it’s tough for all of us to keep on when things are awful and sadness and tragedy strikes.
      Somewhere Kelly and company got into the psyche of this unit and taught lessons far more important than pigskin and 100 yards. THAT is the real testimony to this team far more than improvement and stats and all. I wish all would see that –or not post at all. I wish ALL would see that this team improved for sure but GREW up and learned about life and how to perservere while being compassionate. It is that indelible quality which took this team on the field AND OFF to success. God Bless the memory of our fallen ND student, God help his family
      and may we all look to the lessons here and give positive posts about this entire team, University and the Notre Dame family as that -and nothing else is due given the ground which has been gained.

  6. All the FAN did was give an honest opinion. We can not get caught up in beating a coachless team in a bowl game. It was a nice win, only because a loss would have been crippling. We still didn’t play a full game, we were outscored in the second half. We did improve this season, how could we not? You better improve if you lose to Navy and Tulsa back to back weeks

    1. So did I and I’m not caught up in anything. It was a nice win and a fun game to watch. As a former D1 college athlete, I can tell you that you build on little victories. You build on each day of practice, each small improvement. That’s what these players are doing. So when I hear alot of “Oh well Miami sucks”, “We are still not a good team” etc. etc. I just roll my eyes.

      Because those statements are not helpful and are probably made by those who have never been there. It’s one thing to be frustrated or pissed off. God knows I was mid-season (not to mention for the last 10+ years) and I said some things that I shouldn’t have.

      But we MUST give credit where it is due, while simultaneously keeping it in perspective and working on the problems. That’s just sports.

      1. JDH,

        I’m sure we all regret some things we’ve said here and there. It’s true that ND football was mired in mediocrity at mid-season. Who can deny that?! However, who today, besides “A Fan,” would argue that ND football is mediocre? Not me. I think BK has done a great job considering the injuries, off field issues, system changes, etc. Just look at how far we’ve come in 4 games! Now, we shouldn’t go overboard either. This team is far from elite. But it’s not far from being a top 25 to top 20 team. The goal next season should be to finish in the top 10 to 15 teams and continue to recruit (and develop) the kind of talent (along with the BK-type player here and there) to compete for a NC in the next couple of seasons.

        Hate to bring this up and end on a critical observation: But if BK opts for the sure FG at the end of the Tulsa game we’re talking about ND ending on a 5 game streak and finishing the season 9-4 and probably in the top 25. Plus who knows if we lose as many recruits. (Note that most of the decommits happened after Tulsa.)

        As for “A Fan,” I insist that it’s our old friend “Anus Eagle” reincarnated.

      2. The height of my frustration came after the Navy game and Tulsa games, like so many fans. I couldn’t wrap my brain around those games. But I was proven wrong, as I’ve admitted many times here, in my predictions for the end of the season.

        Regarding the Sun Bowl, I agree with you SFR. IMO, it should not be over-analyzed. We beat a decent team by executing well- good for the IRISH! But whether or not “we are a top 25 team” right now- who the hell cares? It’s about building on daily victories and accomplishments.

        The only thing that matters is winning games the ND way. A decent ranking will take care of itself next year if the team continues to improve.

      3. We beat the scum of coral gables, coachless or not.
        Any time somebody beat Notre Dame -Davie era, Willingham, Faust era, Weiss last years, it is automatically ” a good win for the program. A marquee victory -good for the program, scheduling and recruiting.” Now that we win four in a row I hear so called fans, saying “well it’s not so great and blah blah blah.”
        Given where ND was and how we finished it is GREAT.
        Is the work done? NO.
        But I dare say if “A Fan” and
        “chuck” were track coaches , they would trip their own runners before the starting gun sounded. Honestly people.
        Ranked or not, Notre Dame improved and things will get better. DON’T SUCK THE OXYGEN OUT OF THE ROOM-look at the good while being objective–if you are true ND FANS. If not, there are other sites, I’m sure rich rodriguez and pete the cheat carroll will have you over for coffee.
        GO IRISH!

      4. I’m not really sure the “scum of coral gables” label applies anymore. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have no knowledge of UM’s program being dirty or in material trouble since the 90s. The era of “THE U” is over. I could care less about U of M, but I don’t see how the namecalling applies anymore. They did have some problems in the early 2000s, but nothing compared to the 80s and 90s.

  7. Oh and btw, who gives 2 shits whether or not “we are a top 25 team” at this point? That is completely irrelevant. Continue to improve each day, each week, each month etc. Whether ND is listed at 28, 25, 20 etc. matters not at all. All that matters is the substantial progress that has been made these past few months.

    Win games and ranking will take care of itself.

  8. I sure would like to see some promising news on the recruiting trail. I really like Kelly was quoted as saying during the game on Friday. ” we need to recruit defense , I can manufacture offense”.

    Keep those d recruits coming in Kelly!

  9. Power RUn-I’d like to redo the entire season as well–I think we could have been in a bigger bowl–but I’m glad for the lessons learned—i like you insight–in the future-Notre Dame GOOD make the GREAT running GAME—
    there should be margin for error-force errors and fumbles to the opposition and I think we have a top 15 team and build and build
    the style the last four games-SWEET

    the complaints that
    “they” ( the opponet was weak) gimme a break
    we have grown

    I’m pumped-realistic, hopeful and PUMPED AGAIN

  10. 4 straight wins at the end of the season against some quality teams was nice to see and ND did what we had to do….The USC game was the highlight of the season. they didn’t have barkley but we didn’t have Crist.
    I am happy to see the changes after a very disappointing start. In my opionion Diaco and Kelly get most improve this season… He showed his resolve and toughness after some terrible moments….
    Coach Kelly is settling in to the coaching position and is coaching and not selling or campaigning. Comming from CIncy and looking at the schedule and seeing Purdue/Michigan/MS/etc…..has to be intimidating and he probably psyche himself out and he also got some bad breaks… hitting rock bottom NAVY / Tulsa Losses. But HE CHANGED HIS ENTIRE PHILOSOPHY with the CRIST INJURY… He went to a conservative ball control offense and using FLoyd to keep the D’s honest…. This approach also helps the Defense and they step up… I love the style they played the last Four games.. They didn’t hurt themselves and played sound football…. (Gruden said of Brees on Monday night. “More attempts more mistakes”and he was talking about a GRRRRRRReat QB.) I think on the First 3 drives Reese threw like 2 or 3 passes and ND was up 14 nothing….

    Coach Kelly also realized a mistakes by moving Brian Smith to olb. It was a big mistake but everyone makes mistakes… good coaches realize mistakes and learn from them and aren’t to proud to remedy a bad idea.. He move B- smith back to the middle and ND Defense never looked better….
    I wish we could do the entire season over and I believe we would be in the top ten…. but atleast we finished strong instead of fading out… and Now we can enjoy the off season with huge expecatations for next season…

    Miami is Aplus talent but the didn’t have a head coach…..

    Next yr NAVY and Airforce …. Diaco better do some research….

  11. I am already reading comments on “other” sites about our schedule next year, here we go again!!! If I remember correctly our schedule was supposed to be weak this year, well, guess what? According to a few college football sources we played the toughest or 3rd toughest or 6th toughest schedule in the nation this year!!!! For ALL the haters out there, no, we don’t play the Alabamas or the Oklahomas or the Oregons week in and week out, but neither does your team!! Stop whinning about schedules and play the game!!! For all the TRUE IRISH FANS any team that plays us circles that date on the schedule because we do matter! Like all other sports,be it baseball with the Yankees or the NFL with the Patriots or the NBA with the Lakers there are always certian teams that other teams prepare a little harder for. So, no matter who we play it’s ALWAYS a big game! I welcome the challenge and look forward to playing these teams on our constantly “weak” schedule!!!!! GO IRISH!!!!!!

    1. constantly ‘weak” schedule
      Western Carolina
      Eastern Kentucky
      Bowling Green
      Ohio U.
      Miami Ohio
      Georgia Southern
      the no longer existing Pacific
      North Texas State
      U. Mass ( and not in basketball)
      South Dakota
      Southern Illinois
      Arkansas Pine Bluff
      Florida International
      oh no these are opponets of
      Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan, Florida, Florida State, uscum from coral gables hurricanes-aka the cocaine squad, Penn State, W. Va. Alabama and Auburn
      Criticism towards these??
      don’t think so—
      Bring on the Service Academies ANY DAY over these
      Light schedule?
      EVERYBODY brings their A game to ND-even in a “down year”
      and I doubt if their A FAN counterparts say when they beat ND have commentary which read ” this isn’t that great–ND was down–it really doesn’t have that much of a quality to it”
      that Boise and TCU are coming on strong to shake up the big boys who criticize-namely Gordon Gee -President of Ohio State and others who say nothing when they play nothing!!
      GO IRISH!!!!!!!!

  12. IRISH BEAT THE TWO BIGGEST RIVALS in my humble opinion.
    1. USC ( university of spoiled children without pete the cheat and bush push)
    2. Coral Gables ( Northern Cuba hurricanes)

    I’m VERY proud of this team turning a season around.
    A. Michigan/ Mich. St and Tulsa games could have gone the other way.
    B. We were flat out beat by Stanford and Navy.
    C. Given both A and B this very young Irish team COULD have been 11-2.
    D. This is a young team who was constantly trying to define itself under much scrutiny from fans, the talking heads and “experts”-under a first year coach.
    E. Given the low point after Tulsa -including bad calls from the sidelines the low point became lower with the tragedy. ( GOD rest his soul -and I mean that sincerely)
    F. Keeping E in mind, the Irish did NOT throw the towel in AND beat a UTAH team that was top 5 for much of the season holding them only to a field goal.
    This was followed by a win over Army and USC.
    G. For folks like a fan–I would say THIS:
    YES I doubt if we could play with Bama and Auburn and Oregon —for now.
    BUT given the growth–credit is due.
    H. People like “a fan” are looking for snakes under rocks and suck the oxygen out of the room just by their mere presence.
    I. THIS IS A YOUNG TEAM that did NOT play east ivy tech and in state little schools to warm up in Sept. and play in a conference where at least 1/4 or more of the schools are average. This schedule was tough for this edition of the Irish—and they had streaks -both good and not so good–and turned in an A plus-at the end.
    J. The fact that “miami” was not that great is not the question. They have a reputation and a bad one at that and they will always be the convicts for most of the nation. ( This is one game where most of the USA will cheer for the Irish) They are thugs first and athletes second and the “U” for miami stands for UNDESIRABLES-which is a label for fans like YOU -a fan.
    H. miami has lower case letters intentional because they are not worthy of anything but a lower case letter.
    I. Irish beat USC for the first time in years and it is said “they were missing this or that.” WHO CARES? That is THEIR PROBLEM -we won and saved a season above .500
    J. I LOVE THE IRISH AND FELT VERY LOW AFTER TULSA —-I have seen years of ups and downs and the swing of good at the end of this year deserves CREDIT from ALL of us–that includes you ” a fan” -count your blessings if you really ARE a fan.
    K. BTW, I’m having a shirt made CATHOLICS 33 Convicts 17. Proud? Damned right! Without apology, negativity and looking forward to possible great things in the future -( including a win over Michigan in Ann Arbor where it is said that they are using that game to officially rededicate the stadium there-so a friend in Ann Arbor tells me.)

      1. Thanks-just saying Notre Dame moved up-and yes there are those who would love us to play
        Michigan St.
        Penn State
        Navy ( or drop them) and play Bama
        one of the Florida Schools
        but—according to all I’ve read–NOBODY plays that schedule at all—-
        and we don’t warm up with in state teams from inside the state such as 3 MAC teams-and then low and behold—8 games or more at home —
        So for the naysayers out there-let them be that
        Notre Dame could have folded and said 2011 is almost here lets just “wait”
        but didn’t-and I do think we should end up in the top 25–FLORIDA went 8-5 and folks would love to see them there –whether we end up top 25 or not–we played some darned good football—-to the point of fine defense ( USC scored one TD because of a fumble deep in the territory and Michigan was spotted good field position early in the season due to Crist and his eye and all-without that I serisouly doubt they would have scored 21 points at that point of the game)
        THE overall picture was up and down but the finish was FINE.
        Bill–you love the Irish as most do here-
        Pray and hope for good recruiting and that we go from here UP and AWAY to BCS status or major bowl
        -this season was a step forward!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        andwhile we are at it-the Irish men AND Women Basketball could do well in the highly competitive Big East

  13. Lets go back to the after game blog of the Navy game. Many so-called ND fans were already screaming for Kelly to be fired. ND fans are so bandwagon. With that said:

    Good game for the Irish D and M. Floyd. I hope he comes back next year. I would say go, but there a so many good WR’s declaring this year, resulting in Floyd sliding.

    Tommy R. was pretty good. Missed a lot of throws but made zero mistakes (no int’s). I dont think he will be the starter long though. DC is coming back and incoming Fresh Everett Golson looks like a very good fit for BK’s O.

    Win over a top 25 team (Utah). Win over U$C. Win over old rival in Thug U and a bowl win. Two game bowl win streak we got going on. Good year for it being the 1st of the BK era.
    Go Irish

  14. I just have to say that the folks like A Fan and Joe (above) and others who appear not to have been impressed annoy the hell out of me.

    You can say whatever you want about the season. We should have been able to perform better against Navy, Tulsa, Michigan and Michigan State. We should have done a lot of things better this year.

    But, folks we were ahead by 27 points in the 4th quarter to the University of Miami. Not Miami of Ohio — the University of Miami. The football powerhouse in southern Florida. You’re nuts if you were not impressed (or you’re not a real fan or you did not live through the last 16 seasons of bowl frustration).

    And this goes back to my original theory. People care way too much about the offense. “We need a more athletic quarterback.” “We need a much better running game.” “We need to get the ball to Floyd more.” “We need to power run the football.” We need, we need, we need. Please. Defense wins championships. It always has. It always will.

    Anyone who saw Alabama destroy Michigan State today should have noticed how dominant Alabama was on defense. I can barely name Alabama’s quarterback and have little clue about their receivers. But, their defense – I remember them. They were unreal. Everything Michigan State tried, the Crimson Tide were prepared to defend.

    We played very, very well defensively. I am not saying we could have stayed with Alabama yesterday but when Miami completed a pass, save for a few instances, we tackled the receiver almost immediately. When they tried to run the football, we stuffed them almost from the get-go. When they tried less predictable plays, we thwarted them. In short, from our defense’s perspective, we were as dominant against a good team as we have been in years. And, Miami and ND have had similar recruiting classes in the last several years — decent, top 20 or top 10 classes. They’re talented kids.

    On offense, we were pretty solid. The kid Rees has great judgment. The offensive line gave him enough time to move the football. And we scored when we were supposed to do so. That kid, to me, is the starting quarterback next year. Christ he beat Miami and Southern Cal in back-to-back games. He made some mistakes in both but nothing catastrophic. And that is from a freshman. He has decent judgment, which is about 2/3 of the job of the quarterback, especially one in the spread.

    1. Teo-I agree read my comments
      ( but please don’t use the Lord’s name for swearing-I feel your passion big time and respect it though)
      YES beating USC and miami scum at the end in back to back wins with a young baby face boy is nothing less than good given how the season was just a month before! GO IRISH!

  15. This was a very good game and had floyd and manti not gotten hurt been even more of a blowout. We have many returning players and should be better next year. My only thing is that i think with rees we can be a good team, but with him under center we will never be a great team. He is a game MANAGER, but is never going to throw for 400 yds and put the team on his back.

    I’m hoping crist wins the starting job and the defense continues to play well. Rees did not play any better than crist in the games he started. It’s just that the defense played amazing the last 5 games.

  16. great win! this is a loaded rant, but each thought is a seperate paragraph…

    i’m glad kelly gave hughes the ball 20+ times to finish his career. good for him. harrison smith played another great game. my heart dropped when i saw teo go down, very happy to see him up and running around.

    are we supposed to apologize that our last four opponents were maligned coming into the games? we took care of business, that is all that matters.

    i’ve been pessimistic about reese and still am to an extent. he made up for his atrocious game against sc with a lunch-pale type showing. he has great touch on his short and intermediate throws. good pocket presence and gets rid of the ball quickly. he has moxy and big cojones!

    BUT, he doesn’t have the raw talent. he’s slow, can’t throw the deep out to the long side of the field and the long-ball isn’t there. when teams drop 8 it is an interception-fest. while this will change with experience, do we want to spend years training a guy who doesn’t have the all the tools?

    if reese or crist gets the job next year, i hope golson gets in early. if goslon puts some meat on that frame in the off-season, then we could get him in early and often in some wild-cat.

    now that the season is over, the injuries were a blessing in disguise. it helped build depth at areas where depth is important, e.g., quarterback, d-line, linebacker and t-end/wr. with depth, experience and confidence we could win every game on our schedule next year.

    floyd is gone. after breaking the td record he is not coming back. after seeing him show-boating and throwing the jacket on so early in the game, he is done with college.

    rudolf will be back because his injury will prevent him from participating in the combine. without a work-out, he will be a late first-rounder at best.

    i hope they both come back, but if not we have a lot of talent at both positions and will be fine.

    go irish! let’s get to the bcs next year!

  17. The people who say they aren’t impressed kill me… Like your supposed to flick a light switch and crap out national championships lol… Holy crap… Instant gratification at it’s finest… Coach Kelly has been saying from day one that it’s a process… He isn’t saying that just to buy himself time he’s telling everyone the truth, I don’t know if he will win a NC but I can say this is the best I feel about our chances since we had Dr. Lou pickin grass on the sidelines… Things are looking up, and I think people will really like where were at and how were playing as the next few yrs play out… GO IRISH!

  18. It was a great win and a dramatic turnaround from the dark days of Tulsa. Most importantly, maybe it will give a little recruiting leverage. It is a little sobering to think about “championship football” though when you see what happens when the likes of Michigan and Michigan State take on real football teams in their bowl games. We have come far and have a long way to go.

  19. I will admit that I am anti-Harrison Smith, and have been so for a long time. But, he did play an excellent game last night and he had a decent season overall. I am now starting the “please come back for a 5th year campaign” for Hayseed!

    When weiss goes to florida, i wonder if he’ll find out how much the boosters shelled out for trattou, hunter, martin, burton and the rest of the ND decommits.

  20. Out of the many positive things about the Irish win I have to give a shout out
    to Harrison Smith. Can anyone remember a player more maligned in the last few years than Smith. Not only three interceptions but the hit he put on the Miami QB was spectacular. This guy was crucified and to come back and play not only great yesterday but all season was truly great. I’m so happy for him!

    1. Most improved player on the team, period. Maybe the M.I.P in college football! He was absolutely atrocious last year. I give him all the credit in the world. (not to mention his position coaches)

  21. OK everyrhing everyone is saying is true – this is not yet a championship team – but moving in the right direction. I would have felt a lot better if the offense had done someting in the second half – yes Rees and Floyd down – but at least one TD would have said something. Can’t go overboard here Compare to the last few regimes and things didn’t improve as the season ended – just the opposite – so alot to build on here, Keeping Floyd on board is BIG. Bringing Harrison Smith back could help – an experienced DB that is only getting better can’t hurt. Hopefylly the win will boost recruiting and bring some of the top players on the fence over to ND side – Huggins the running back would be a real prize and William the lineman too.

    Overall very good finish to the season – but this is just a step don’t go overboard

  22. What a way to end the season,the last 3 games + the bowl game this team has shown real improvement but most off I am happy with the passion and toughness this team showed the last 4 games. We had some real late bloomers in Brian smith and most of all Harrison Smith I never thought I would see a game were he would get 3 picks it was outstanding. Great to see Ian Williams out there I was screaming when he broke free in miamis endzone and almost got the qb for a safety great game to finish his career. TommyGUN Rees what can we say this guy just gets it done love his poise and what looks to be great leadership being the first one to go over to Ruffer after the miss those little things go along way. Next year there are going to be some great battles for starting jobs at QB,RB,OLB. I hope Rudolph and Floyd come back that would be huge they are great players and they will be missed I love the way Tyler Eifert has stepped up in Rudolphs abscenece. Great season boys we got a tough schedule next year but the way they finished I feel good going into the season. 2 players to look out for next year #66 Chris Watt at LG played quite a bit this year and looks like a beast he was a big time recruit, the other is #55 Prince Shembo what a pass rusher and with fleming on the other side the 3-4 could be even better next year.

  23. Ok, the program is improving period. This team deserves alot of credit for hanging tough in the end of the season which could of gone very differently. Championship status is delusional at this point. It was a very nice win regardless of Miami’s play and football is played in the cold. This win may help recruiting as well. I hope Kelly can convince some of the boys to stick around for the their senior year. My only complaint is they didn’t play 4 solid quarters.

    Good luck to Kelly and his staff preparing for the opener against USF in September. That is by far not a warm up game for ND. Holtz has done a nice job there. Comments – fatboy Weis should stay in the pros, he has no business in college football in any position other than Director of Food Services! For Christ sake give Ruffer a Scholarship and if not lets take a collection for him. How important is an outstanding field goal kicker = points when needed.

  24. we are a top 25 team we played the last 4 games with backups at runningback tight end quarterback and slot(we played the last 3 witout him riddick) if we stay on the curve that we are on we will dominate next yr and for years to come. its starts wuth defense and our defense is showing the swagger a BCS defense needs to show. When we r playing offense with the reals number 1s we are gonna b scary …..a high octane offense with a defense that give up touchdowns at a low rate that combo is deadly

  25. Maybe its the nearly 20 years of suffering, or just non-ND FANs really starting to worry that Kelly will bring the Irish back to the top, but the ranting about ND not being a good team yet is getting a little old.

    Are they ready to play either Auburn or Oregon? No. But are they a far better team at the end of 2010 than they have been at the end of any season over the last 15 years? Yes.

    I understand that USC was missing Barlkey but he was replaced by a very experienced highly rated Mustain. Notre Dame was missing Crist, replacing him with an 18 year old freshman with 0 game experience. Add to that the other number of players side-lined and the comparison is mute.

    At points in the season Floyd, Rudolph, Allen, Crist, Jones, and Riddick missed significant playing time and even Braxston Cave missed some time up front.

    On the defensive side Ian Williams went down and missed the last 4+ games. Jamoris Slaughter never seemed to get healthy and Calabreese missed significant playing time.

    Yet with Coach Kelly’s philosophy of “Next Man In”, he was able to re-establish traction and move this team forward.

    In my opinion, the previous 3 regimes would not have been able to have accomplished such a feat.

    I am very optimistic that the next few years will look similar to the Years 2-6 of Lou Holtz’s tenure. The style of play may be different, but the preparation and trust and winning will look like we have were once used to.

    Go Irish, the future is now.

  26. Who would have thought this would have happened after the Tulsa game. A student dies, the starting QB is hurt, and the freshman throws an INT when they were in position to kick game winning FG. All of this after getting embarrassed by Navy. This team had every reason to throw in the towel.

    Instead, they beat a ranked team, they shut down the option against Army, they beat USC on the road, and they beat a favored Miami team. What makes it more amazing is that they did it without their starting QB, starting RB, and the best TE in the country. They also did it with a running game and a stout defense. Didn’t Herbie say that ND had a “High School” defense? Yet, they did pretty good against the speed and athleticism of USC and Miami.

    I know a lot of people will say Utah was over-rated, USC was down this year and they didn’t have Barkley, and Miami lost their coach and didn’t like the “cold”, but I choose to focus on the fact that they went 4-0 at a time when they should have given up.

    This program is heading up and all this victory yesterday did was help prove that. They way ND ended the season will help the current players buy into the off-season workouts, it will help with recruiting, and it will create competition in the spring.

    Now, the biggest recruits left on the board for ND are Floyd and Rudolph. If they can come back, the offense will be special because we have only seen glimpses of what Kelly will do with this team. Kelly is going to improve the defense even more with recruiting and they have a taste of success now. The experience that the younger players got this year will only make this team better.

    I look forward to the spring to watch this play out

  27. Why was Cierre Wood returning kickoffs in the second half? Did Austin Collinsworth get hurt? I thought Miami was intentionally using late, dirty hits to try to injure Rees. Only one or two were flagged for penalties.

  28. Wow. Really! My friends will attest that I am a naysayer but the score was 30 to 3 in the forth quarter. yes it should have been 38 to 3 but that was a good Miami defense. With the way the season started I’m happy with the finish of the last four games. Anyone who can not see improvement is just too negative for me and needs a talking to from through Rocket.

  29. I wasn’t that impressed either. kinda reminded me of michigan in ’08. still take the win though. offense needs another rb to complement wood (maybe finally gray?). reese is ok…if he wins the job next fall then so be it but I hope golson wins it – need an athletic qb in this system. like i said though – if he wins the job then good for him. d still needs an impact pass rusher – hopefully shembo and schwenke keep improving.

  30. Everyone listen up, we won.

    I was at the game, stone sober, numbingly cold and saw a GREAT Notre Dame team. Are we the best record team in college football….of course no. I am not sure what the measuring stick for our team right now is, but I know I feel proud, elated and happy. (sometimes simple words are best)

    Here are a few things that I am confident of after todays game.

    1.Micheal floyd and Rudoplh are coming back…these are ND true guys . You should of seen them on the sidelines today, too much love, too much emotion.

    2. Ruffer will get a scholrship…he is a RKG.

    3. Rees is very smart,very accurate, reads coverages as good as Clausen and is extremely well prepared. Christ is taller, has a stronger arm. The spring and offensive style will be interesting to see develop.

    4. Diaco looks like the guy from the movie “princess and the bride” only with dark hair. Four times through out the game, did coach diaco scurry by my seat headed towards the booth or the locker room. he actually told my twin 15 years at one point to “watch out coming thru”. I swear I am going to give him hell for that in two years when he is sitting in my living room.

    5. Coach kelly is special.

    6. The city and people of El Paso love Notre Dame and it was very refreshing to see a patrotic twist to this game. During half time a chat of ‘USA” ” USA ” ” USA” erpurted after a lee Greenwood solo that raised hair on the back of yur neck. The stands apeared to be filled with 85% hispanics that were proud to be american. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO inspiring.

    7. I have a long drive back home to georgia and its almost new years and my wife is awaitng a kiss.

  31. I would add a fourth category to Frank’s piece, in addition to offense, defense, and special teams: coaching. With all the injuries to key players, and the tragic events that need not be recounted, the coaching staff kept the players focused and had them ready. Sorry A Fan, but “Miami is terrible” does not cut it. ND had more excuses to lose than Miami did, but instead came out strong and outplayed Miami. I think ND fans have reason to be excited for the coming years.

  32. ND has a long way to go. Reese is average at best and Miami is terrible. We lose this game against an above average team. Anyone who does not see this is wearing green glasses.

    1. You just need glasses period if you can’t see the improvement of this team. You also need to learn to spell.

      1. 1. It’s a blog, who cares

        2. The improvement is there, but we are not a top 25 team. Sorry.

        3. Beating a injured USC team is a lateral move. They were bad when we played them. With Barkley they win by 3 scores.

        4. We will see next year.

      2. the road back has to start somewhere. Whether you are a FAN or not you have to be impressed with the way this team has handled all the injuries and other distractions. I have no doubt that Kelly will take the Irish back to the top. Winning starts with mental toughness and attitude and those 2 thing are in place. Nobody said we are a top 25 team,but we are close and as far as an injured USC team did you forget about our injuries?? And fihally WE WILL SEE NEXT YEAR!!!!

      3. “With Barkley USC wins by 3 scores.” Uh, I’ll take Hypothetical Non Sequiturs for $800, Alex.

        Pie-in-the-sky optimists are annoying, but relentless pessimists are worthless. If it’s that hard for you to just enjoy ND’s success, find another team to root for. In the first half our true-freshman QB was picking apart the second-best secondary in college football. Even with Kelly shrinking the playbook in the second half after Rees’ and Floyd’s injuries, we still racked up 400 yds total offense versus the nation’s #16 ranked defensive unit.

        Great win for the program. Looking forward to the 2011 season.

      4. This was a great win for the Irish and great things are destined for the Irish in the future! The Irish should definitely finish in the top 25 after the Sun Bowl victory. I totally disagree with the comment above that said they shouldn’t be considered a top 25 team after this win. The defense played with passion and a strong will to finish the season with 4 wins in a row. That says it all.

      5. A Fan- You are simply stating the obvious and then “backing up” the obvious with speculation. What is it that you want? ND destroyed Miami, with our backup QB, after a very difficult season on and off the field. So what do you want? Did you want ND to play a better team than Miami? Regardless of what you think of Miami, ND still had to go out and EXECUTE to get the job done, and they did so in spades.

        They won their last 4 games after great adversity. And all you can do is say “we have a long way to go”. Of course we do. But you must acknowledge the improvement along the way. Sorry, but I just don’t think you have much of a point.

    2. maybe a fan is just wearing orange glasses or is pete carroll’s pool boy or jimmy johnson’s laundry boy-or just can’t stand it when the C student improves to a B at the end of the grading period by getting four consecutive A’s on tests when the odds are set against that student.
      A fan—4-5 at Halloween?
      8-5 New Years Eve??? Priceless.
      Read it and weep and get over yourself.

  33. Didn’t like the comments about Reese showing his weakness in the second half.

    His knee was banged hard right at the end of the first half and Kelly wasn’t sure how much he would play in the second half.

    Miami knew that as well and played the run because of the less than normal mobility of Reese in the pocket.

    When he went under center and allowed the running back to get a head of steam before getting the ball they had success running. Running out of the shot gun proved far less effective.

    Injuries just kept building, Reese, Teo and Ruffer all get dinged, Ruffer on this last kick-off came up limping so not surprised he missed the one field goal.

    All in all, a great win for the Irish!! The first quarter was perfection. Kelly certainly has their attention and has the team playing better. The future is bright with Kelly at the helm!

  34. Solid game by the Blue&Gold. I smell a Championship season in the near future

    Happy New Year to! Keep it coming fellas — all the Best in 2011!

    See you all in South Bend in September

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