It’s been just about 24 hours now since any slim hope that Notre Dame fans were holding on to for an undefeated season slipped away in just the second week of the season with a one point loss to the 15th ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The Irish had their chance(s) to win this one at the end, but simply couldn’t pull it off. With their first notch in the L column on the season, Notre Dame must now focus on not allowing things to snowball like they did a year ago. Just don’t ask Brian Kelly about that. I kid, I kid.
With that, here is the post game 6 pack now a bit later than ideally due to the late game, a tougher than expected journey for some late night eats in South Bend, and a travel day.
The sea of red was disgusting and embarrassing for Notre Dame and impressive for Georgia
Let’s get this one out of the way. Walking around Notre Dame’s campus all day the red was unavoidable but it didn’t seem that bad. Then we walked into the stadium. When we emerged through the walkway leading to our section the red hit you in the face immediately. Red as a color stands out in general, but this was bad. This was worse than 2000 Nebraska. This was a takeover.
I get it that Notre Dame fans stood to make a lot of money on selling their tickets, but come on man. Notre Dame fans let Georgia invade Notre Dame Stadium and turn it into a home game. Any Notre Dame season ticket holder who sold their tickets to UGA fans and heard Kirby Smart’s post game comments and didn’t feel ashamed, should lose their season tickets privileges.
At the same time, I have to give Georgia credit. Notre Dame fans travel well and I’ve seen a lot of Notre Dame fans in some big venues – most notably in Austin last year. But I have never seen anything close to what UGA pulled off. It was actually hard to look at all of the red in the stadium and not be jealous. One fan base showed out, the other sold out.
Notre Dame’s offensive line couldn’t go toe to toe with the Georgia defensive front
Almost equally as disappointing was the play of Notre Dame’s offensive line. Georgia has a good defense, but I still thought the Irish offensive line would be able to get some semblance of a push at times. It didn’t. Notre Dame’s NFL bound left side of the line did not look NFL ready on Saturday night. Now, that doesn’t mean that they won’t still be great this year or that they won’t still be high NFL draft picks. It just means that on Saturday night the Notre Dame offensive line as unit, played a really bad game.
Notre Dame might not face as athletic of a defensive front seven again this year as they did this weekend again all season so it will be tough to really judge if this was an aberration or more of an indication of how good this line actually is.
Even with the bad game, hats off to Mike McGlinchey for owning it like a professional and taking the lumps. A lot of Notre Dame fans are being entirely too hard and unfair on McGlinchey specifically today because of his missed block at the end that resulted in Wimbush’s game sealing fumble. He will bounce back. The line will bounce back. Hopefully this game film is seared in the memories and they avenge this performance next month when USC comes to town.
That Notre Dame defensive line though
I wrote a lot about how much of a concern the Notre Dame defensive line was this year. Every writer/blogger did. It was probably the number one concern going into the season, Through two games though, the Notre Dame defensive line has played very well. Jay Hayes has been an animal at SDE. Andrew Trumbetti has parlayed his strong camp into some big time contributions. Jonathan Bonner is showing that is much more than a starter by default. Daelin Hayes has shown that the hype surrounding him was warranted.
Now, the Georgia offensive line is not that good. Still, Notre Dame’s defensive line held both Sony Michel and Nick Chubb to less than 100 yards each on the ground. Who thought that was possible when fall camp started?
Through two games, the young kids have played pretty well too. Myron Tagovailoa Amosa and Kurt Hinish have been thrust into pretty prominent roles in the rotation but so far they haven’t looked out of place. The line still has work to do, but so far the early returns on this line after better than expected.
Brandon Wimbush will be fine with some more time
I was a little concerned with Brandon Wimbush coming into this game after watching him against Temple. Against the Owls he made plays simply by being a better athlete than anyone that Temple had on their defense. He wasn’t going to be able to do that against Georgia and sure enough he wasn’t able to. In fact, Wimbush looked like he wasn’t quite ready for prime time on Saturday.
He missed throws, he rushed his reads, he forced some passes. In short, he did everything that young, inexperienced quarterbacks do. I know we all wanted Wimbush to step in and be a finished, polished product in week two, but that expectation was simply not reasonable. That said, it was more than resonable to expect Wimbush to flash that potential at some point amid the inexperience. He didn’t.
I don’t think there is reason to be worried about Wimbush long term just yet though. If Wimbush has performances like this one against Boston College or Wake Forest or Miami of Ohio, well then we have something to worry about. If he comes out next week and tosses three touchdowns and runs for a pair, we’ll know he is back on track. He’ll also have four more games to work through these growing pains before the USC game.
Why Dexter Williams had 0 touches is mind boggling
I know Brian Kelly has been asked this yesterday and today now, but I just don’t understand how Dexter Williams didn’t get a single carry when it was clear this offense needed a spark. It’s not like what they were doing on offense was working in the second half so what did Notre Dame have to lose by giving Williams at least a couple carries? It just didn’t make any sense to me during the game and it makes even less sense to me after the game, but hey “get used to it” I guess right?
I am a big Josh Adams fan and headed into this game I felt like Tony Jones Jr might get more looks than Dexter Williams, but I never thought that Notre Dame would completely ignore him on offense either. Williams is a gamebreaker and has proven that almost every time he’s been given ample opportunity now. Unfortunately we’ll never know if he could have made a difference out there on Saturday night.
This loss is not the end of the world
This loss sucked because it didn’t have to be a loss. Notre Dame was winning this game in the fourth quarter despite numerous mistakes. And Notre Dame lost yet another close game in a prime time environment when they had an opportunity to make a statement. All that said, this loss isn’t the end of the world that some are making it out to be on the message boards. I expected Notre Dame to lose this game when I predicted the Irish would go 10-2 this year and I expected them to lose it all week long even before I walked into Georgia’s traveling home stadium on Saturday.
This team can still have a strong season though if they don’t let this snowball like last year. It starts next week with Boston College though. That game should not be close and if it is, then I’ll start to get concerned.