Duranko’s Digest: What Did We See Against Michigan State?

Cam McDaniel - Notre Dame RB
Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Cam McDaniel (33) celebrates after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans. Notre Dame won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

True Grit. Rooster Cogburn would have loved this game. A gritty bunch of players led by a gritty coach with a gritty game plane beat a gritty band of Spartans for the second straight win and tenth consecutive home victory.

Starting a four game run of high quality opponents, the Irish methodically handled business and dispatched Michigan State for the third year in a row. The final was 17-13. It was the third consecutive win over D’Antonio’s Spoartans. In the thirteen years between Holtz’ departure and Kelly’s arrival, Michigan State was 9-4 against Notre Dame. So, while the three game win streak is not a BCS victory, it is noteworthy. Further, since Ohio State accomplished it in his first three years in East Lansing, D’Antonio had not lost three games in a row to any opponent.

Some will say it was not pretty. For those folks we will provide free directions to the Louvre, the Prado or MOMA. But we have one tough football team, which beat a tough, worthy opponent.

For reasons of injury and targeted improvement, several changes were made on defense. Sheldon Day’s injury gave a lot of additional snaps to Kona Schwenke, some to Tyler Stockton, some to Jarron Jones, and some to Romeo Okwara as a tackle in passing situations.

Shumate and Grace were awarded starting positions and this made the starting unit a tad quicker and more athletic. The rotations at ILB and Safety will probably remain in flux for the rest of the year. We simply have more options and more flexibility than a year ago.

The Notre Dame defense held the Spartans to 254 yards of total offense, a number evocative of 2012 statistics.

The Irish offense totaled only 224 yards, but that was not far off the 275 the Irish totaled agaist the Spartans in 2011 and the 300 yards the Irish acheived against Sparty in 2012. Those with an accounting bent might think about doing a “pro forma” for the passing numbers by adding to them the interference penalties. In basketball you “create” free throws by driving to the bucket and forcing the defense to, well, defend. Kelly pressured the press coverage by throwing deep to Jones and the tall receivers, and, thereby “created” interference penalties. CAUSE; EFFECT.

We are each entitled to our opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts. In four games, the offense has had three turnovers, two Rees interceptions and the Carlisle fumble. The offensive line has allowed three sacks. These guys do not beat themselves. This is now a HABIT.

After four games last year the Irish had allowed just 36 points, 9 per game. This year is it 21 points per game. That gap must close, but the defense may be on the verge of knitting. The defense was solid, cutting off the head of the Michigan State offense, its power running game. Sacks are still hard to come by.

Elliott and Cooks continue to play a lot of defensive backs and we can now nickel and dime with a bunch of players.  This secondary may be ready for the Dies Irae against Graham and Kelly and those Devilish Arizona State players.

We face some, but not Denardesque, mobility at quarterback the next two weekends, and that has been a challenge for the 2013 defense.

Newcomers of the match

Corey Robinson – The little Admiral is remarkable. A year ago, he was a three star recruit who looked like a “project.” He’s a project like the Hoover Dam was a project.  He is remarkably poised for his youth. And think about this: for the first time is it possible that someone other than Jaylon Smith might, just maybe, be the Freshman of the Year.

Tarean Folston  -Surprise, surprise! Most thought Greg Bryant would be the first frosh back in the mix, but appears that Folston, FOR NOW, is a more comfortable choice for the coaching staff. They trusted Folston to play while the game was well in doubt.

The Sleeper Has Awakened

Stephon Tuit must have dismissed his stunt double and put on #7 himself. He’s back! Whether it was a sports hernia or emotional hernia that needed time, the process is now complete. He’s about to start breaking some things!

Future Star

Ronnie Stanley – still raw as a redshirt frosh but he is the first robin of the Spring of our future offensive lines. The pipeline is filled and Harry knows what to do.

We’ll refresh the unit rankings after the OU game.

This week we’ll rank our opponents, comment on some 2013 developments, and attempt to rate their bowl level.

BCS Bowl candidates

(1) Stanford – after three games the Cardinal look pretty much as they have the last two years. They are deliberate on offense, but have the ability to string together long drives when they need to control the ball. Hogan has settled in at QB.

Their defense is rough, physical, rugged, more effective than it is esthetically pleasing. They may have the best offensive line we will see this year and the best offensive line we have since since early January.

Their BCS hopes rest on the Oregon game, to be played November 7th, on the Farm. They play a tough schedule, drawing Arizona State, Ucla and the “Weakest Link” USC from the South. The Pac XII championship winner gets the automatic bid, but it would be no surprise if the improving Pac XII gets two BCS participants. Signature win: Arizona State

(2) Michigan – Remember the Big 2 and the Little 8? From the 1968 season through the 1980 season, 13 long years, either Ohio State or Michigan represented the Big X in the Rose Bowl. It is not guaranteed, but the most probable and plausible result is that Michigan will play Ohio State on two successive weekends, once in Ann Arbor and the following Saturday in Lucas Oil for the Championship. It is the winner of the second game who will get the automatic bid. Signature win: Notre Dame

(3) Oklahoma – while the Sooners have some serious issues on offense, the Bix XII is a bit off this year. Kansas State and West Virgnia are a shadow of what they were last year, Oklahoma State is being pecked at by compliance rumors, TCU is still two years away from competing for the title, and in a remarkable tribute to either inertia or stupidity, Mack Brown is still the coach at Texas. It is a conceivable result that the Soooners will be well out of the Top Ten and still get a BCS bid. Signature win: West Virginia

(4) Arizona State – their path is simple, albeit difficult. Just win the Pac XII South by outpointing UCLA and Arizona, then somehow pull the upset over whichever of Stanford or Oregon wins the North. They have, BY A MARGIN, the best quarterback we will face in the first six games. Signature win: Wisconsin

New Year’s Day Bowl Caliber

None of our opponents, huge drop-off after the top four (albeit USC is sui generis)

Bowl candidates

Michigan State – Signature Win: South Florida? (tallest of the three midgets they’ve beaten)

The Spartans are a typical D’Antonio team, sound but not spectacular. Yet, it is likely that they will be an underdog only against Michigan for the rest of the regular season. They might be the third best team in the Big Ten, if Wisconsin isn’t. And the two preceding facts constitute an indictment of the Western Conference. It is an archive with big TV ratings. As a conference it is sinking without trace.

Pitt – not a bad football team at all. Has a sure ACC classic on its schedule when they visit the Carrier Dome on November 23rd to play Syracuse.  Signature win: Duke

BYU – a 1-2 team with a weird schedule, and it is still seeking an identity as an independent. Taysom Hill will amass huge stats against Middle Tennessee, Houston, Idaho State and Nevada but he will be get lambasted by our front seven. He will look much slower against us. Signautre Win: Texas

Navy – the most intriguing, suspense-filled race in America may be the Commander in Chief trophy. It’s a toss up! Signature win: Indiana

Stay Home

USC – Kiffin will not go quietly into that dark night, and Haden and his new coach (Believe this, it will be a dandy, and the rivalry will be rekindled, in ways we might find unpleasant) will have to go into damage control, rehabilitation, weeping, gnashing of teeth and rebooting this storied program. USC will QUALIFY for a bowl, but the coaching change will keep the Trojans home. Signature win: Boston College?

Air Force – can’t even contain the offenses of Utah State and Wyoming. Lost their starting quarterback, but the kid, Jaleel Awini, is a good runner, and a horrific passer. Signature Win: Colgate

Temple – Rhule will probably get the Owls to a bowl game, right before he leaves for greener pastures. Give it a couple of years. Winless

Purdue – If you want to plot the arc of the Purdue program, observe carefully what Jerry Kill is doing at Minnesota, if you’re into that sort of football thing. Hazell learned well under Tressel. Signature win: the mighty Sycamores of Indiana State.

We will update these rankings, and slot the Irish in the appropriate place after the Shamrock Series game against ASU.

What will we see against Oklahoma?

(1) Best set of skill players so far this year. At WR and RB they have some difference makers. Williams, Clay and Finch at RB, and Saunders, Shepard and Duron Neal at WR. But Blake “BellDozer” Bell is limited. He is more powerful than nifty, and nifty works better against our defense.  He is not a good passer despite the stats he put up against Tulsa.

(Sigh!) This week we will hear much noise about how Bell has “arrived” There’s a reason he was not chosen the starter and the injured Trevor Knight was. Watch and see.

(2) An improving defense under Mike Stoops. They are quicker than a year ago. He was always the stronger of the Stoops/Venables pair when they worked together in the early years of the Bob Stoops reign.

(3) A lot of Stoops in the stands. The Stoops family is very active in the Catholic community in Youngstown and they will be out in force. The Sooners did not play on 9/21 and they will be rested. Bob Stoops will have put a lot of effort into this game, and the Sooners will probably play their best game of the year.

Last year, they were beaten physically by our Irish on both lines of scrimmage, as they were by Kansas State. Have they closed the gap? Have we? Both? Neither.

(4) Last chance to hone the man-to-man defense and blitzes before we confront a challenging Arizona State team.

(5) An opportunity for the 11th consecutive home win.

TV viewing note: our two ensuing opponents, USC and Arizona State, have a Saturday clash in Tempe, 7:30 California time on ESPN 2.

Buckle your chin straps, lads. Saturday is a big one!

Go Irish!

 

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75 Comments

  1. Shaz,

    By extreme prejudice I mean leave no question as to who won the conflict. Last time I checked, just wars could be fought to win and win convincingly. Moreover, was it just or proportional for the US to drop not one but two bombs on Japan and put an end to the war? People of good will can disagree on this. But my answer would be yes. The American lives saved and their contributions to our country merited it. But I can respect the other side. Tough questions like these don’t allow for fundamentalist moralizing one way or the other.

    Do I believe ND should run up the score? It has in the past and no one other than the anti-ND haters complained. Do I think we need to? Perhaps not. But do I think ND should be playing at a level where they could be able to put up 50 easy on a team like Temple or Purdue? Hell, yes! If ND elects not to, so be it. But it should be a matter of ND largesse and not crap play that keeps scores down. Don’t confuse what’s happening now on the field with sportsmanship, Shaz. ND didn’t run up the score on Temple because it was playing nice. It didn’t because it couldn’t. There’s a world of difference there and all the grandstanding and moralizing in the world cannot cover it up.

    So, I really don’t think we disagree. I, too, would prefer for ND to not be like Ohio St. and its scumbag coach (who many of us here wanted and perhaps still some covet) running up the score on a FCS team. The fact that anyone would even play an FCS team is gutless and shows poor sportsmanship. I give you props, Shaz, for standing up to “Buckeye Billy” and pointing that out. Unless you’re telling me that it’s OK for you to have ND suck so we can say we’re good sports, then I think we’re in agreement.

  2. “Sad Warrior,” Nothing like having Shaz question your manhood to start the day.

    I’m fired up about democracy and living in a free country. Hopefully it will always stay that way. Thanks to brave men and women like you, I have faith it will.

    I hear you, brother. I try to not watch the games with minors around.

    Your points are well-taken always, “Sad Warrior.” As a true, blue ND man you can say whatever you want, regardless of who agrees or disagrees with you. What I don’t like are trolls coming on here and getting a free pass because some think they can make alliances with them against true ND fans they disagree with. I may have a disagreement with you about this or that. But if an outsider comes along to try you, then they’re challenging all of us. At least that’s what I’ve been taught and how I was raised. You always side with your brothers no matter what.

    On this site freedom of speech should be for ND fans. The ND haters and trolls can go to their own sites. That’s what it means to live in a free country. But those of us who love the Irish have earned our right to speak our minds from years of tears and heart-ache. We’ve earned our stripes, so to speak. The trolls can’t get a free pass in the name of political correctness or because “duranko” or someone else wants to posture and recruit erstwhile allies in his make-believe fights with me, or JC, or anyone else on here. That’s sick. That’s being disloyal to other ND fans.

    So, yeah, “Sad Warrior,” I’m fired up. Hopefully, we can all be equally fired up on Sat. after seeing the Irish finally put it all together in all 3 phases of the game and win big at home against a good, historically important team like OU.

    Go Irish! Beat the Sooners!

    1. Wow! Thank you! You have just made our night a good one. Your zest and passion for for the game is refreshing.

      Have to shut down all monitors for now. Take care. Stay safe. Go Irish! Shembo Time! Hooah!

      END EAM. OUT.

    2. SFR,

      Well you did ask…

      “Can I ask a question? Since when does positive mean delusional? Since when does positive mean irrational? Since when does positive mean stupid? Remember?

      Also:
      “Are you currently a firefighter, cop, or soldier?

      Answer:

      Some people call me the space cowboy,
      Some call me the gangster of love
      Some people call me Maurice
      Cause I speak of the pompitous of love

      People talk about me,
      Say I’m doin’ wrong, doin’ so wrong
      Well, don’t you worry baby
      Don’t worry
      Cause I’m right here, right here, right here, right here at home

      Cause I’m a picker
      I’m a grinner
      I’m a lover
      And I’m a sinner
      I play my music in the sun

      I’m a joker
      I’m a smoker
      I’m a midnight toker
      I sure don’t want to hurt no one..

      Woo Wooooooo

      1. Amen, Shaz! A bit of well-timed levity from a true ND man. Great tune selection, too!

        Keep on keeping us real, Shaz, my brother!

        Go Irish!

  3. SFR-we just saw your comment to the Shazmatazzman! He fired you up!

    Why are we here? We are here for you. When asked that question our answer is, and always will/must be the same. We are here in the hope that your children will not have to here down the road. We are here so that all the exchanges that occur here will go on and on and on. We do not fight for Notre Dame football exactly, we fight for the idea and ideals she represents. I guess we even tote the rock for Bama as well.

    Time for late chow and the rack. Pre Game rumblings have started as they did last year. We have several ‘Sooner Dudes’ here who just want to see a good game! I assured them that they would, but not just so good for OU! Hey, what else could I say?!

    Go Irish! Hooah!!!

  4. I really think 7-5 would be an accomplishment for this team. They play with no emotion on Defense and the Offense is terrible. Losses to OU,ASU Stanford, and BYU. Throw in tough games against USC and Pitt and it could end up being a lot worse.

  5. I am usually very gung-ho about ND football. Folks, just consider this. Wouldn’t you guys want to play against a team that has a QB like Rees?

    He is a great kid and everything, but he is one-dimensional. This is easy for defenses to scheme. A mobile QB is essential. Look how the Michigan QBs have shredded us.

    Honestly, we should have gone with Hendrix the first few games and used Rees as back-up, like in Purdue last year. By now Hendrix would have settled in.

    It didn’t help that Zaire was ill.

    I hope I am wrong. Nevertheless, the rest of the team has to play error-free ball for us to beat good opponents. Also, have Cam return punts. TJ, god bless him, can’t handle that job.

    I agree with previous comments, Shembo Monster is a BEAST. Let’s unleash the kraken on the Sooners…

    Cheers,
    Woodrow

  6. Gee guys, I’m sorry, numbers are only a matter of convenience for when we win. Bravado trumps truth now doesn’t. Keep on drinking that “pickle juice!” Oh that was my bad…”foul tip!” Hahaha!

    Gooooo(Real)Irish!

  7. HERE IS PART OF THE PROBLEM: “With all the speaking engagements, public appearances, and alumni functions he’s required to attend there wasn’t much time left for actual football related items, much less being the “offensive coordinator” and play caller. If he wanted to continue to keep up with his public appearances (which I’m guessing he doesn’t have a choice) as well as spend time more time with his players, it would have made perfect sense for him to eliminate calling plays and having to worry so much about the offense.”

    NO WONDER WE DONT HAVE AN OFFENSE OR A TEAM THAT DOESNT BELIEVE IN THE GUY

  8. Mariano Rivera was a starter before he became the all time best reliever in MLB history. He was a bad starter. Tommy Rees is our Mo Rivera and can’t be counted on to pitch a full game. He throws terrible passes to open receivers but manages the game. He plays well against bad teams a horrible against good ones. We need EG back! I don’t understand why we don’t give Hendricks a shot.

  9. Can I ask a question? Since when does positive mean delusional? Since when does positive mean irrational? Since when does positive mean stupid?

    I’m really wondering what some people here mean when they use terms like positive. I’m sure “Sad Warrior” is familiar with constructive criticism serving this country gallantly as he’s doing. But why the disconnect between our experiences as professionals, as many of us here no doubt are, people used to giving and receiving critical feedback for our performances, and this belief that positive means we have to be uncritical.

    I’m really confused by how a leatherkneck combat veteran like “Sad Warrior,” for instance,can honestly tell us that we should only wear rose-colored glasses when watching ND games. Is this what is being taught to our military officers? To see everything in those serving under them as positive? No criticisms whatsoever? I doubt it. With all due respect to a true, blue ND man and patriot like “Sad Warrior,” I disagree with him. Yes, absolutely, we should be positive when we see things that warrant positive evaluations. But certainly that doesn’t preclude constructive criticism of what we see that’s wrong or not working.

    God bless “Sad Warrior” and all our brave fighting men and women!

    God, Country, Notre Dame!

    1. While only the Warrior himself can answer your question about being, and remaining positive,
      my take on it would be that the great country he serves has invested a great deal of time and effort in developing a true positive attitude in all our fighting men.
      I think they do this because they know if they were to send men into a battlefield without it, they have already lost.

      I don’t believe that’s a matter of wearing rose colored glasses, but rather a matter of life or death.

      I think it’s called “having an edge”

      Perhaps your confusion over a unrelenting positive attitude or unbrideled optimism stems from the fact that you probably don’t face life threatening situations on a daily basis?

      And I do believe there is a place for constructive criticism, the key word here being constructive.

      1. Are you currently a firefighter, cop, or soldier? If not, don’t play at one and moralize with me about not facing life or death situations on a daily basis.

        I give thanks to God that we have men and women like “Sad Warrior” who do that so the rest of us can go about our way. I don’t think I’ve ever showed him any disrespect. Nor has he ever disrespected me, as befits an officer and a gentleman. But with all due respect to him and those like him, we’re all entitled to our personal thoughts. If not for our right to live and think freely, then what the hell are “Sad Warrior” and his comrades in arms fighting for. Oil? The wealth of the 1%? No. They’re fighting for our freedoms, which includes the right for me to be as critical as I want to be about this government or ND football or anything else.

        Perhaps you, Shaz, at one time served our country. God bless you for that. But in these here United States, the military serves its people, not the other way around, like in Third World, banana republics ruled by generalissimo this or that.

        As for constructive criticism, I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder, Shaz. I’m on record as trying to avoid the extreme rants of both the “Fire BK Now” lynch mob and the “Everything is Great! Wait til Next Year” apologists. I think avoiding polarizing rhetoric is constructive. However, when some particular play or call in-game is dreadful, there’s nothing wrong or disloyal with saying so. Otherwise being positive is just plain delusional.

        Go Irish!

      2. SFR-The Shazman fired you up! We didn’t see that comment until just now. Trust that when a poor play unfolds or a lousy call is made that the language and critiquing take on a whole new aura…I’m sure you get our meaning…We understand your zest and fervor for excellence, very admirable. The Irish may well put it all together come Saturday afternoon.

        Yes you are entitled to your thoughts and open opinions. When people ask us that question as to “why do you do thi?” the answer is, and always must be the same, we are here for your freedoms and for the hope and wish that your children will not have to be here down the road.
        Too often that is taken for granted if not overlooked by too many folks back home.

        Go Irish! Loosen the Shembo Monster, ring the Bell! Hooah!!!

      3. SFR,

        You made some very good points here today.

        Many which I agree with or respect.

        But there is one which displays the vast differences of what each of our eyes truely behold.

        It’s one that speaks volums, can fully explain, and sum up our on going conflicting differences of opinion on how we each view our team.

        I will NEVER take the posisition that “We” (The United States or the University of Notre Dame) should ever seek to defeat anyone with “extreme prejudice” Ever.

        That’s not what it says in our Constitution, that’s not the way we want to cunduct our military, and that’s not what our student athletes come to ND to learn.

        We are all guilty of prjudice in some way, shape, or form.
        I certainly am guilty of it and am in a continous struggle to try irradicate from my life.

        Our military uses terms like “Just War”,
        “Proportionality” and “Empathy”.

        Our University uses terms like “pride”, “fairness”, “unity”, “Honesty”, and “sportsmenship”.

        And those are all terms that I fully agree with no matter what labels might come with them.

        Now in your own personal view if that’s being over-morilizing, irrational, uncritical, delusional, an apologist, ignorant, polarizing, or clueless, then I respect your opinon and can live with that.

        God bless you too.

    2. SFR-It’s called ‘Never Surrendering. Never Giving up. Never losing faith. Never forsaking hope.’ Our creed includes accepting criticism but never giving in to defeat. See Shaz’s comment and then you will better understand our views and more importantly, our perspectives. Shaz has a very solid grasp of our situation and view.

      Some of the pundits are often overly critical of a young and stalwart 21 year old boy called a qb. He lives for Saturdays and hopes to be lucky and good on that day. We aren’t so fortunate. Our opponent needs to be lucky only once. We have to be lucky every day. And for us there is no Monday morning quarterbacking.

      1. “sad Warrior,”

        I doubt very much your CO would accept anything less than defeating your enemies with extreme prejudice. I doubt very much our field officers would accept 50% casualty rates at the hands of an inferior force and tell his men and superiors, “Hey, but at least we won. A win is a win.”

        Now, I don’t mean in anyway to trivialize war by comparing it to a game. I hate people who do that. What you do is real. Football is important but in the end it’s a game. However, I’m just trying to use an analogy for the sake of argument.

        I’m sure some of the men you command are as young if not younger than TR and the seniors on this team. I’m sure you don’t coddle them if they’re not doing their best. So why would you not demand the best of a talented team that is underwhelming? I’m not even talking about TR solely. He is what he is and we all know his limitations and strengths. So do our opponents. I’m talking about the team as a whole. There are a lot of 4 and 5 star recruits on this roster and they’re just not getting the job done. Imagine if our special forces, the best of the best, settled for the mediocrity that has been ND football for going on 20 years. That would be a national disaster. Again, I’m not making any 1-to-1 comparisons. But I doubt very much you or your fellow officers would settle for your men under-performing like this team has. (BTW: I’d like to be clear that I don’t believe BK or his staff accept this poor play; however, my concern is that they seem to be at a loss concerning how to fix the problem.)

        But, “Sad Warrior”, I respect your opinions as both a true, blue ND fan and fighting man for these here United States of America.

        God, Country, Notre Dame!

        Peace!

  10. What are you people talking about?!

    TR had a tremendous game. His passes were always on target. He made all the right reads. The O was unstoppable. In fact, the only reason ND didn’t put up 50 was that it played all its backups for the last 3 quarters of the game AND took 3 straight kneel downs every single time it got inside the 5, which, of course, happened on every single drive. The Irish never once called a TO to stave off a delay of game penalty. Did the Irish even punt on Sat. against MSU? Our O line was so dominant. It was creating gaping holes for our top 3 RBs, who each put up over 100 yards.

    Also, the D totally shut out a Heisman-level QB, a veteran signall-caller with tons of playing experience, who must surely remind everyone of Joe Montana, John Elway, or Dan Marino. The MSU O by the way is being compared to Oregon’s this season. In fact, I’ve heard that D’Antonio’s HB option pass was called by Chip Kelley in Philadelphia.

    In short, people, ND totally beat up and dominated on the field and on the scoreboard a team that many pundits are saying is every bit as good Bama this season. Thus, haters, ND should feel very good about such a scintillating win over a sure bet NC contender for decades to come, with a HC who will soon make everyone forget the name Nick Saban.

    If any of you disagree with this analysis, then you’re just plain negative and haters and you’re going to make me cry because we should not be so tough on this team. We need to coddle them and tell them that they’re great, they’re perfect, don’t need to change a thing about a program that has dominated college football over the last 3 decades.

    Sorry, have to go. But I have to go drink some Kool Aide now.

    1. Rob, here’s your BIG problem: and it’s your problem, not Notre Dame’s. You’re conflating or fan-dyslexing the abysmal undisciplined performance of Ben Roethlisberger and the winless, feckless Steelers
      with the DISCIPLINE of Rees,
      the careful COACHING of Kelly
      and the WINS of Notre Dame.

      There is a simple mechanism called transference and your
      primary loyalty to the Steelers has left you sad disappointed and chastened.

      The Steelers to use the vernacular, suck.

      Notre Dame does not.

      Go be miserable where the Allegheny meets the Monongahela and glut thy sorrow on a morening rose.

      1. Bro. Arrington,

        Do not bare false witness.

        Go back to remedial catechism and pick up the Bible sometime. Might do you some good.

        The Steelers have won 2 SBs and played in another within the last 10 years. How many titles has ND won in the same period of time? How many BCS bowls have they won the last decade? In fact how many bowl games has ND won in the last 10 years. So if I were to say which teams has sucked over this period of the time the answer would be obvious. But I guess Dick Arrington is more into diatribe than reason.

        Your inbred hatred and soul-despising diatribe notwithstanding, I love both my football teams. I desire for ND football to have the success the Steelers have had over the last decade. You instead want to waddle in your putrid resentments and make false claims.

        BTW: Dick Arrington/”duranko” has emailed me personally about his devotions to God and the Bible. Perhaps it would do him some good to go to confession and ask God to forgive him of his spitefulness.

      1. Ron Burgundy, I have to apologize to you. It seems you perhaps are a lot more perceptive than most of us here and see things more clearly than most. Mea culpa, Ron. Keep on keeping us honest!

    2. SFR-your points are well stated and taken. The solution and the problem lie with Coach Kelly. He is the “CO’, if you will, of Notre Dame. Thus you have in fact identified the problem and the solution! We salute your thinking.

      Go Irish! Hooah!

  11. The play calling last week was the worst of all the worst. It was horrendous.
    This team does have enough back from last year though that they know how
    to find a way to win. That is the most important thing.

    1. Now, now, Jerry, haven’t you heard what our moral leaders and holier than thou censors on this board are saying? No critical comments. You have to instead say that the play-calling is brilliant. After all, isn’t ND putting up 50 points a game on everybody? Jerry, I’m going to have to report you to our thought police for some “Clockwork Orange” retraining and programming. (See, I, too, can be witty and drop a pop culture, movie reference!)

  12. Shaz-the ‘Doomsday Pundits’ not only fail to get the message, they crank up the rhetorical nonsense at even higher levels:amazes us here to the man! Makes us think that Brent ‘Mushberger’ has dozens of children! Fortunately Tommy Rees appears to have the stronger character and filters out the barrages of criticisms from what we all feel are the ideal ‘Monday Morning Qb’s’ ranting aimlessly, but harmfully. We guess Coach Kelly would make a better accountant, attorney, teacher, or electrician than play caller and recruiter according to the critics on high…

    As for that Spartan punch! Everyone here who saw that was in shock that the flag went on the Irish! The shouts of ‘Sic the Shembo Monster on him’ were many and very raucus! And yes, you are correct, there is fire in this young team. As we said yesturday, If we was Mr. Bell we would be worried. His areas of need play quite well into the areas of the Irish strengths. Not a great passer, slow afoot, and his ‘shock troops’ are not the brawlers and street fighters like those from MSU. He should defintely be the menu’s top choice come Saturday. However, we do expect Mr. Bell to play his best A game ever due to his outstanding character and will power.

    That pub you mentioned got the conversations rolling! A hefty cold one or two or… would go a long way here! Time for chow and the rack. Can’t wait for the game and ‘Shembo Monster’!

    As always-Go Irish! Positive feeds! Hooah!

  13. Unsurprisingly, we knew you were going ‘sugar-coat’ the passing numbers with your “proforma” ‘quantum mechanics theory!’ Reminds me of “Beatnik” Big-D Daddy-O synthetic metamorphosis, better known as aggressively ineffectual shuda-wuda-cuda BS. Similar to quantitative easing!

    Facts are facts number cruncher, your -167 yards passing against Michigan St. vs Purdue; unfortunately that represents almost a 55% decrease in one game passing performance! Yeah, “A number, please! Don’t blame the accountant for the message. You didn’t work for Enron by any chance did you? They manage to ‘push’ the numbers on the balance sheet too. Hahaha!

    TR: Hey BK, my doctor says I can’t play football.

    BK: You didn’t need to see your doctor – I could’ve told you that.

  14. One of Tommy’s least impressive performances, EVER.
    What concerns me is this is the first quality ‘D’ he faced this year, and doesn’t have a great history against
    solid ‘D’s’. How TR goes this week will determine the outcome!
    
Fewest yards for a ND win since 2007!

    
1) Thankfully, MSU QBs suck; special thanks to Coach D’Antonio for Maxwell insert late, and that horrendous HB pass call. Game ball to Coach D’Antonio- and, of course, several ‘D” players: Tuitt, especially.
    2) We win with two first downs in the entire 4th quarter (both penalties) and none in our last(3 possessions.
    
 How embarrassing that our MVP offensive player is the punter! That says it all!
    3)How often will teams run the RB,TE, WR drag pattern across the middle with success?

    (How many second and longs have been turned into third and short or first downs with that same damned pass pattern the last 4 games)?
    Ans. Every time they try it. Our LBs can’t cover it. How ’bout Ishaq, Jaylon and 6 DBs to go with our front three on obvious passing downs? We have the DBs to run the dime ‘D’. Buehler? Buehler? Anyone?
    
4) If you’re going to try to run out the clock, since MSU had 11 men within
 four yards of LOS, why not put in a QB who can at least keep it and run?
Ans. No, just give it to Cam every time and have 11 defenders close in on him. Being a Bears fan, I watched Lovey play not to lose for a decade.
Now I get to watch BK play that way with Tommy.
 How ’bout trying to get first downs and TDs when we have the ball?
    6) How many sideline/ out of endzone passes did TR throw to our receivers (most of which they caught) that were out of bounds? A Senior QB has to understand that if you throw a sideline/end zone pass out of bounds, we can’t get a completion! But a win’s a win, even if you have to back into it. Thanks to MSU for all the interferences and dropped passes. Without them, and a ‘true grit ‘D’ effort, we’re 2-2.
    Modern day offenses need to score and take pressure off defenses.
    Too many athletes coming in the next three games to hold to under 17!

    1. His name is Cam the Man! He runs with anger, I wish that the other backs take a look at him and realize that they should get with the program. It was amazing on his TD run he was looking for contact and was surprised when he didn’t get hit. Now that’s a back!

    1. The Sooners are not physical in the trenches. That is why they were controlled last year by Kansas State and our Irish, and why they got lambasted by A&M in the Bowl.

      After watching the West Virginia and Tulsa tapes, I did not observe that they have changed that.

      But we will see soon enough.

  15. We are amazed at what viewers see and likewise do not see while watching ND games. The old adage that a win is a win played itself out on Saturday to the T. Make no mistake, the Spartans were/are one set of tough as nails hombres. These guys bring the kitchen sink on every play thus accounting for somwe errors and less than successful plays by the Irish. The Irish were just abit tougher on D. To complain and snipe otherwise is an insult to a worthy opponent. MSU deserves that respect.

    As for those questionable calls? What game were some of the ‘snipers’ watching. MSU utilized that ‘touchy feely’ ploy as part of a strategy to contain/frustrate the Irish and it worked out pretty well. The Robinson call was justified:the interference occured on a ‘grab and nudge’ by the Spartan defender several strides before Robinson appeared to go over the back. And lest we not all forget, those were BIG officials not known for their fairness and impartiality to ND.

    The win was ugly, but it was a win. We enjoyed that game immensely. Tommy Rees was off; he did have a less than stellar day, but there are many teams out there that would feel fortunate to have him under center. Carving him up with the ‘what if and blame game’ serves no honorable purpose other than deflating his confidence and demoralizing him. You see that behavior at Pop Warner games and it is equally disturbing. It isn’t right and it isn’t fair. He is what he is and he is what we have. Coach Kelly did not get to this level by being incompetent. To constantly attack him brings into question the motives and agenda of the assailant.

    As for Oklahoma? If I was Mr. Bell I would be worried, very worried. That sleeping giant (and he is one BIG dude) called Tuitt is awake and hungry. ‘Shock and awe’ will be the catch phrase of the day. Things are slowly coming into place for the Irish at the right time. Also remember fellas that history has favored the Irish over the Sooners. So history has a way of repesting itself…

    Go Irish! Hooah!

    1. Warrior,

      Prince Shembo picked up and tossed a Spartan lineman along the sidelines like the guy was a rag-doll.

      That is one 15 yard penilty that I really liked!

      Having Shembo all fired up is a very good thing!

      1. Shaz-we saw that too and it drew a rousing approval! It is a wonderful thing for the spirit to see and hear laughter, funny mayhem, and joking. Someone was shouting like “Jeus!Did you see that?! Did you see that Shembo Monster toss that Spartan like a frickin’ rag doll?!” That is the type of emotion that will be needed against the Sooners, just a tad more control though. We like that term ‘Shembo Monster’ and now it looks like the monicker is here to stay as the new warning phrase here is “Don’t make me Shembo Monster toss you like a rag doll!” It is hilarious to hear that in the middle of nowhere when that eerie warning comes out of the dark! I believe Shembo has made some true admirers amongst our lot

        We wonder what Mr. Bell of OU is thinking right about now? Some skits are already taking form and shape. Next time I reprimand anyone it may be with the “Shembo Monster” warning!

        Go Irish! Hooah!

      2. Warrior,

        “Shembo Monster” I like that! He certainly looks the part.

        The lads down at the pub like to call him the “Prince of Pain!

        Put them together and what do you get?

        “Shembo Monster, The Prince of Pain!”
        Has a nice ring to it!

        There was one other 15 yarder that ND got that was OK with me.

        In the 4th quarter there was some pushing and shoving after a play and a Spartan player threw a punch.
        The ND players on the field immediately got after the guy.
        ND got a 15 yarder for coming off the sideline and onto the field.

        While we we fortunet that it didn’t alter the outcome of the game I think it was 15 yards well spent.

        The players are starting to show some fire, they’re playing together and have each other’s “6”, and future opponents know that we will protect this house!

        Hooah!

  16. Watching that game Saturday was extremely painful! Tommie Rees was, in my opinion, horrendous! He can’t run five feet and his passing was absolutely
    horrible. They are lucky MS didn’t have an offense. I’ll give it to MS, nice defense and against the pathetic ND offense…no match. Robinson did a nice job and so did Folston. I’d like to see Bryant and Folsten in the backfield together. Amir and Atkinson just don’t make the grade for me. They need to run Amir outside more to utilize his speed. Cam gets the job done but he can’t be in there too much. I imagine TJ Jones in double coverage all day and that’s why he did get a few more touches. Hey, the bottom line is that they won but boy it was ugly! The next 3/4 games will tell exactly how good ND is…….or isn’t. Go Irish!

  17. I said it last week and I will state it again: you cannot be an effective offense in college football with a stationary QB who is a below average passer. I am so sick of watching TR move around and change the play right up to the end of the play clock. It is so obvious that the defenses show one thing, wait for Tommy to change the play, then jump into something else. If he is so great at getting us into the right play, how can this offense be reduced to throw it up and hope for a penalty or simply throw it out of bounds? I want to be positive but anyone who watched that game saw a slow footed, highly inaccurate 5th year senior who is simply unable to make big time throws at this level. Why not give Malik Z some snaps and see what happens? Can our offense be any worse? At least Malik would put some fear into D coordinators who keep rightfully sending the house on most plays. I fear we are standing on the cliff and this season could get away from us quickly if we do not get this straightened out. And by the way, the opening 4 offensive plays were the worst opening sequence I have ever seen out of a Notre Dame team since Bob Davie.

    1. pretty much right on except that TR is all we got. The coach is not going to throw a “wet behind the ears” FR when he has a not so good SR.

  18. What did we see?

    I saw a Saturday where Game Day was in North Dakota. (nothing against North Dakota)

    Bama vs Colorado St, Ohio St vs Florida A&M, Louisville vs Florida International, Florida State vs Bethune-Cook, Georgia vs N.Texas, UCLA vs New Mexico St, Miami vs Savannah, Baylor vs LA Monroe?

    There was of course Tennessee vs Florida, but that game hasn’t been the same since Phillip Fulfmer left the Vols.

    Then, thankfully, there was Michigan St vs ND. The Spartan’s and The Irish.
    A long tradition rich rivalry, between two Mid-Western teams, that always seems to play a throw back, old fashion slug-fest type game, on a natural grass field, in the shadow of the Golden Dome, on a beautiful Autumn afternoon day, in South Bend Ind.

    I enjoyed it.

    I’ll take a ND 17-13 victory over a tough rival like that, than a 76-0 farce over some no-name, nobody any day!

    1. No freakin kidding right!? There should never be 76-0 scores ever in college FB. It’s simply a wasted week. I get sick of seeing these blowouts against cream puffs and then these teams thinking they deserve to be #1 in the polls. Give me a break!

      1. Ohio St always schedules the worst non conference jokes every year and they don’t get to at least play one ND, like Michigan and St. They schedule success and I’m certain they’re over ranked

      2. I cannot defend the decision to play FAMU but Vandy did back out on the Buckeyes. That aside the non-conference schedule recently has been sub-standard to be polite but to say that Ohio St. “always” schedules the worst non-conference games is just not true.

        They recently had home-and-home with Texas, USC and Miami. Texas and USC were on top when they played and while Miami was down a little bit they weren’t when they were scheduled. They also have Texas and Oklahoma on the schedule in the near future.

        We will see if the Buckeyes are overrated but for the supposed tough schedule that ND had last year it would appear that they were a tad overrated, wouldn’t it?

      3. You do realize that ND started last season unranked with the 6th most difficult D-I schedule?

        I’m not sure how “Unranked” equates to overrated?

        Perhaps your overrated view is based on the fact that “if” Ohio St Hadn’t been banded from post season play, they most likely would have met Alabama in the BCS championship instead of ND.

        But as a ND fan it’s not my concern to ask any “IF’s” about Ohio St.

        You, as an Ohio St. fan probably ask little else.

      4. Something else to think about.

        Ohio St went undefeated last season. Quite an accomplishment.

        They started this season with two wins….
        and they still fell in the polls for two straight weeks.

        Now I’m not saying it was fair or unfair… just that it is interesting.

      5. A couple of things, I think ND was overrated based on how they fared in the NC game and that in my opinion there were at least 3 maybe more better teams (Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Oregon for starters). That is only my opinion and it’s not ND’s fault that they were in the game, that is the system.

        Second, my claim of ND being overrated has nothing to do with Ohio St., they wouldn’t have fared any better against Alabama.

        And third, I do think the Buckeyes are being negatively affected in the polls because of their weak schedule. Yes, they have dropped while winning and I don’t think it is unfair just ridiculous. The voters knew the Ohio St. schedule, they should have rated them lower to begin with rather than ‘penalize’ them for winning. But it doesn’t bother me, you reap what you sow and the Buckeyes will somehow have to try and prove themselves in conference play – no small feat in a weak B1G.

        It may not be your concern to ask any ‘IF’s” about Ohio St. and why would it when you already have your mind made up.

      6. “If” Ohio St had been eligible for the BSC last year, “and” went undefeated as they did, “then” got passed over by a one loss Georgia,LSU,Texas A&M,South Carolina, or Oregon (who, in my opinion, were better than Ohio St last year)to play in the NC game, there would have been complete and utter outrage from Thee Ohio St Nation reguardless of whether they were considered overrated or not.
        (And rightfully so)
        That too is the system.

        Second, it has nothing to do with beating Alabama, it has to do with finishing undefeated ranked #1 and being selected to playing in the game, all other ratings aside.

        Lastly..

        “We” didn’t already make up our minds.
        That was already done for us.
        BY Ohio St and the NCAA.

        What might have been for Ohio St. last year was an Ohio St issue, not a ND issue.

        We earned our spot fair and square.

      7. ChrisJ,

        There were so many of these blow outs last week I can remember exactly which game it was, but late in the 4th quarter the Ref’s just kept the clock running reguardless of a first down, or out of bounds play.

        Now that’s sad.

        What’s even sadder is there were fans who paid good money to witness this garbage!

      8. Wow, I didn’t hear about that. That’s pathetic.

        I talked to a guy yesterday that went to the OSU game and said that was the worst game he has ever seen.

        I did hear an interesting thought yesterday on talk radio heading home though…why not schedule these types of teams for your school’s spring game every year? I thought that was a great idea.

      9. With a limited college football playoff looming next year, strength of schedule is going to play a major roll on who gets in.

        And while it won’t spread through all of college football those programs that feel that they have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot will have to improve their non-conference schedules or risk being left out.

        Maybe these cupcake Saturday’s are finally a thing of the past.

      10. @Chris J:

        The answer is money and money alone. These FCS schools and lower end FBS schools will get hundres of thousands of $$$ for taking those kinds of beatings. It’s an ugly compromise, but that’s the system.

        What would those schools get out of a spring game? Zero. No television exposure and no money. Just a beatdown.

      1. Thanks! They are the i3 blades, red dot with Dynamic Gold S300 shafts. They are a few years old, but I love them so much I can’t get rid of them.

  19. How can anybody not be concerned about the play at the quarterback position? Rees was missing open receivers all day. He doesn’t even look on some of those quick screens to the WR’s and one is going to get picked 6.

    1. ….. Be thankful for such a high quality backup QB that gives ND a chance at being a top 25 team because .. Joe Montana isn’t walking through that locker room door. Neither is EGolson.

      1. what knuklehead said.

        I still think that the team likes Rees because of the way he helped out Golson. Even Golson admitted that he didn’t think he would have been as generous and gracious if the roles were reversed.

        Alas, some of our posters must attend the Chicken Little positive thinking classes.

        I wonder what these folks do when they are not having “fun”
        watching Notre Dame football.

        Hair shirts? Drink Pickle juice?

  20. It’s very rare that I stick up for TR, but Duranko makes a great point about how those pass interference yards are a reflection of TR going downfield with the ball. Even though they don’t show up on his stat sheet, he should get credit for those. I do agree with BK’s analysis of TR in that he was off with his accuracy and was missing open receivers. But I counter-balance that with him going downfield with the ball.

    1. Some of those penalties weren’t even pass interference. He almost cost them the game by himself. They should be very concerned.

      1. There was also pass interference without it being called. 1st quarter against Daniels in the endzone. Would ‘ve been on his hands without the pass int.

      2. cool bit of objectivity, Mike.

        I too struggle to praise the guys I don’t care for and to criticize my “pets.”

        But I agree that many of the pass interference calls and non-calls were wrong.

        I’ll stay with the hoop analogy. Going to the hoop
        some charges should be blocking fouls and some blocking fouls should be charges, but it often evens out over the course of a game.

    2. going dwonfield doesn’t mean much if he doen’t connect – it is just a wasted play – I don’t think many teams will be concerned about him going downfield until he starts connecting – just about anybody can throw the ball downfield – hitting the receiver id the key – he missed a lot of open targets – cannot keep doing that and hope to beat above average teams

  21. I always like to read your observations. I’m not sharing your positive vibe this week. Those were two bad teams Saturday; ND was just a little less bad.

    Lots of questionable calls went in favor of ND. If the calls had been reversed, the ND fan base would be outraged.

    The only positive I can pull from Saturday is that ND won. This is not a top 25 team right now, and there is a lot of work to be done before a major bowl is in the cards.

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