Notre Dame Football Post Game 6-Pack: 29 Point Wins Should be Fun

Notre Dame improved to 2-1 on the season on Saturday with a 49-20 victory over Boston College in a game that saw Notre Dame have some historic rushing totals.  Still, the Notre Dame offense didn’t also throw for 500 yards so there is a good contingent of the fan base acting like Notre Dame lost today.  It wasn’t always pretty out there today and the Irish let Boston College hang around too long, but in the end, Notre Dame beat down a team that generally plays its best game of the season against the Irish.

So just’ crack open the post game 6er shall we?

1. Let’s get this out of the way, the passing game is a mess.  It’s a mess.

The Notre Dame passing game was pretty brutal to watch today.  Brandon Wimbush didn’t look comfortable, rarely had receivers open, and when he did, he missed them more often than not.  He completed just 11 of 24 passes for 96 yards and an interception.  Needless to say, Brandon Wimbush the passer is still very much a work in progress to say the least. That said, the passing game woes are not all on him,

Notre Dame’s wide receivers did not do a good job of helping Wimbush out today.  They dropped a couple passes that could have been caught and no Notre Dame receiver has shown the ability to make contested catches so far this year (or last year).  Notre Dame doesn’t have a wide receiver that Wimbush can throw the ball up to and expect him to come down with it – and that includes Equanimeous St. Brown at this point.  Brown had just one catch for three yards out there today.

A lot of people will be all over Chip Long for the play calling early on today, but I think they forced the pass early to get Wimbush going because they knew they could run. Once it was clear the passing game wasn’t getting it done, they went to the ground game and well, that worked out alright.

Notre Dame’s passing game HAS to be better for this team to be more than mediocre at the end of the season, but for today, it was able to lean  on the ground game.  Hopefully we see improvement in the air next week because the Irish have a much tougher task on their hands with a road night game in East Lansing.

2. But Notre Dame did run for 500+ yards

Ok, so now for some of the good.  Notre Dame ran for 515 freaking yards – the most in any game since 1969.  Yes, that means that today Notre Dame ran for more yards in a game today than they did in any game that Lou Holtz ever coached at Notre Dame.  Let that one sink in for a second.

Josh Adams led the way with 229 yards on 18 carries, but Brandon Wimbush wasn’t far behind with 207 on 21 carries with four rushing touchdowns – both of which are records for Notre Dame quarterbacks.  Oh yeah, and Dexter Williams carried 6 times and scored two touchdowns on 50 yards.

Let’s focus on the good first.  Adams was a beast today.  He was patient in the hole and had multiple long runs that he wouldn’t have had without displaying that patience.  Wimbish as a runner was dynamic too.  As his passing game develops Notre Dame is going to have to lean on his legs.

The only negative was Williams only getting one carry before mop up duty time.  All the kid does is score touchdowns when he touches the ball.  He needs to be involved in the game plan earlier.

3. Shaun Crawford is an absolute beast

After his back to back major injuries, you would have to be heartless to not feel great for Shaun Crawford after his monster performance this afternoon.  Crawford created three turnovers for the Irish with two interceptions and one fumble recovery.  One of those interceptions was a gift, but the other was anything but.  I won’t do it justice with words so just watch.

It was wise to wonder what Notre Dame coudl expect from him this season after the injuries, but so far, it looks like Crawford still has a knack for finding the football and making plays.

4. Notre Dame’s been on the wrong end of questionable end-zone catches in back to back weeks

Speaking of Crawford, while he had a hell of a game, he did get “beat” for a touchdown in the 4th quarter.  Whether or not that was actually a touchdown though its highly questionable.  Charlie Callinan possessed the ball in the corner of the end-zone momentarily, but he didn’t maintain possession through coming to the ground and the ball laid on the turf as the official signaled for a touchdown.  Replay officials reviewed the play and upheld the ruling on the field. In today’s game, I just don’t know how that is a catch.  I couldn’t help but think of Michael Floyd having a touchdown taken away in 2010 for the same reason.

Luckily it wasn’t as costly as last week when replay officials overturned a call on the field of incomplete thus awarding a touchdown to Georgia.  That play was also questionable as the receiver appeared to bobble the call, but it was overturned.

Anyone want to guess if the play in question today would have been a touchdown if the receiver were wearing a white jersey instead of a maroon one?

5. The pass rush was a disappointment this week

Overall the defense was solid again this week.  I expected it to be a lot better than it was actually, but it wasn’t bad.  The pass rush, however, was disappointing this week.  Mike Elko rarely dialed up any blitzes this week so any pressure had to come from the front four.  Not much ever came.  Notre Dame registered just one sack against a quarterback making his third career start.

I really don’t want to question Mike Elko yet but I’ll just say I was surprised that we didn’t see more blitzing of a young quarterback.  In the end, Notre Dame did get him to commit two turnovers with Crawford’s two interceptions, but the time he was given to pass let him get comfortable early.

6. But after all of that, Notre Dame won on the road by 29, relax just a little

If you read the forum or scroll through Twitter, you would have thought that Notre Dame lost this game.  Are there some clear problems with these team that need to be fixed?  Absolutely.  Will they all be fixed next week?  Not a snowball’s chance in hell.  That’s OK though.  To all of the “this won’t work against USC or Stanford” tweets though, guess what?  Notre Dame doesn’t have to play them for one and two months.  All that Notre Dame needs to do next week is beat Michigan State.  Then beat Miami of Ohio.  And so on.

This team isn’t going to go from where we are at now to a high flying passing attack by USC but they have three games and a bye week to get a lot better by then.

A 29 point win should be fun though. Iit shouldn’t feel like a loss and shouldn’t be a reason to be all doom and gloom.  Notre Dame has work to do, but they just went out and didn’t play their best and still won the damn game by 29 points.  After last year,  I’ll take as many more 29 ugly wins as I can get.

Bonus Shot #1: What the heck was that weird PAT gimmick?

Seriously.  What the hell was that?  I had Ty Willingham swinging gate flashbacks watching that unfold.  This was a bad Boston College team you were playing.  Leave your gadget and trick play stuff at home and just line up and beat them.  That ended up happening in the end, but that weird PAT gimmick really annoyed me.  It didn’t deserve a full place in this week’s 6-pack, but you’re seriously going to run that against Boston College?

Bonus Shot #2: How bad was that ESPN coverage crew?

I am not talking about any anti Notre Dame bias or their opinions either.  I mean just how bad were they at their jobs?  Here’s just a few of the down right errors they had throughout the game.

  • On Brandon Wimbush’s first touchdown Steve Levy proclaimed Wimbush went in untouched.  Wimbush was touched in the backfield.
  • On one play in which Brandon Wimbush had 10 seconds to throw Brian Griese said that Notre Dame triple teamed Boston College’s Harold Landry.  Then on replay it showed Landry dropping into coverage.
  • They got players names wrong often.
  • On a BD 4th down LEvy emphatically said it was close.  Boston College was stopped a full yard short.
  • Toddy McShay told those two to hold his beer though and got into the act on Crawford’s ridiculous INT when he said that it wasn’t so much Crawford as it was the ball the bounced out of the receivers hands and fell into Crawford’s.  That isn’t what happened.

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  1. All things considered, I have to disagree about the ESPN coverage. Outside of a few errors, I thought they called a remarkably good, and fair game. ESPN is well known for being left-wing but I actually felt they were complimentary on a number of things.

    Recently with both Temple and Georgia, both Mike Tirico and Doug Flutie are completely douche-clowns. Who the hell spends like 10 minutes talking about some moron from temple making some 4k run marathon through ND stadium 30 years ago. They were consistently insulting, refused to refer to temple game as a blowout, and barely even attempted to be impartial.

    NBC has for years had crappy announcing coverage for our home games, but I think it’s gotten worse in the first two home games this year.

    At this point I’d almost rather take my chances with a contract with ESPN then stay with NBC.

    I also hate how NBC runs longer commercials than ESPN, has little to no substantive pre-game coverage of us (especially when ESPN LOADS up on pre-game coverage), and throws Nascar commericals during our games. I don’t give two freakin’ licks about Nascar, especially not during my Notre Dame game.

    I’d rather see other commercials about college football games, but not happening with NBC.

    The whole thing is truly the worst. I no longer believe we get our moneys worth with NBC.

  2. ESPN coverage was the worst I can remember in recent history. If it wasn’t the commentators absolute failure to explain why the ball was placed on the 35 yard line when ND kicked it into the end zone (I can only guess it bounced back into the field of play and then out of bounds), it was the commentators clear lack of focus on the game. We had extended periods when all they cared to talk about was their trip to Fenway Park a few years ago even as the game progressed, and then they would be holding a conversation irrelevant to the game, only the thrown in a random “gain of 5”, though if they’d been watching they’d know the gain was only 3 or, as noted above, stating it looks like a BC first down when the runner clearly was tackled one yard short. It worst was in the end when ND had backups in the game. Several plays were run during which the commentators cared so little, they often made no comment on the play and when they did, they failed to note the player’s name. So, a player gets into the game, probably for the first time in his life, and his family back home doesn’t get the thrill of hearing his name mentioned because the commentators are too interested in their “bro time” talking about things only interesting to them. PATHETIC COVERAGE ESPN!

  3. since nbc news now owns espn, espn doesn’t exist to cover sports anymore, it’s purpose is to introduce political propaganda to sports broadcasting. so they don’t care how bad the broadcasting team is.

  4. In your criticism of ESPN, which is well-deserved, don’t forget that they kept posting a score of 35-21 for about 5 minutes in the 4th quarter when the actual score was 35-20. The announcing crew was
    really lame. The production was worse. They went to a five minute commercial break before the
    first quarter had ended, only to come back for an untimed play due to a penalty, but never explained
    what the penalty was. ESPN is a joke. Those who occasionally changed the channel to catch what
    was going on on their ABC game were treated to Beth Mowins trying to play-by-play. She
    sounds like Rocky the Flying Squirrel being water-boarded.

  5. Frank, I was also wondering why we didn’t blitz more and that PAT thing also freaked me out, lol. I thought the ESPN guys were hitting the beers – they sure sounded like it!

  6. The Irish ran for 515 yards because they HAD to. Let that sink in for a minute.

    Against a strong defense this will not be replicated. Let that sink in as well

    1. I wholeheartedly agree. Against the remaining schedule, we damn well better be able to throw the ball. I honestly can’t believe that the rest of you aren’t concerned.

    2. Stanford lost to San Diego State and USC has not shown much on D. Miami is the only remaining team that may have a “good D.” And frankly, I don’t think a good D is the problem so much as a “fast good D,” which is what Georgia had.

  7. Congrats are in order here…..

    Moving on,
    I think it’s easy to game plan against a 1 dimensional team. We have got to learn how to
    The ball. Wimbush is not comfortable in the
    pocket so roll him out and hit someone in the
    Flat. He just misses high. We need lots of
    Work here. What’s the deal with the hand-off
    Up the middle? Most hated play in my house..

    1. “so roll him out and hit someone in the Flat”

      Oh, you mean Alize Mack’s only route where he can catch the ball? 🙂

  8. BGC, Sorry , to interrupt your victory party, but, for your edification OJ only played 2years at SoCal. I don’t know where you got that 3rd year. couldn’t pass or didn’t take the sat to get in and in SoCals usual stockpiling tradition, OJ was relegated to Juco ball. Then the testless OJ came in as a Junior and beat us at So. Bend in 67′ I can’t remember what happened the next year in LA.

    1. Greg, Sorry, I have some accelerating memory issues (not kidding!) Nonetheless, in 68 USC with OJ “exploded” at home to tie us (see SI’s article The Day They Stopped OJ), and in 69 USC, I guess without OJ, tied us again. Did USC kiss its sister TWICE in a row, or is it only kissing your sister if its ND @ MSU?
      Or perhaps all three of those teams in that era, ND, MSU, and USC were hard to beat!

      Bruce G. Curme
      La Crosse, Indiana

  9. Someone tell me when we beat a top ten team by 29. That’s fun and something to write about! Until then just settle for the scraps against Temple and BC.

    How the mighty have settled indeed!

  10. Frank, Am I the only one who thinks it is weird that the “let’s run the ball down their throats” crowd aren’t satisfied with 500+ on the ground and a 29 point win?
    Yeah, the guy at QB needs work, but as you pointed out, if we can get @rivalry twin number 2 next weekend, he (Wimbush) has plenty of time and opportunity before the USC game to settle down and find some touch. But the receivers? They seem to be getting worse each week, not better. They do worry me.
    All in all, I’m satisfied with it so far…2-1 with a one point loss to a good SEC team. I’d rather be 3-0 with a good mixture of passing to go with the run game, of course. But really, we are not off my schedule (9-3) as far as I can see.

    Bruce G. Curme
    La Crosse, Indiana

    1. The WR’s are a legit concern right now. Watch other games and you see WR’s catch balls in their vicinity. It seems the Notre Dame WR’s right now only make the catch if it’s right on the numbers. That’s a problem and won’t help a young quarterback build his confidence.

  11. I was concerned about our passing game last week, too. I’m convinced that the reason we did so badly with our running game was because the inconsistency on the pass allowed Georgia to key on the run.

    I thought that pass was a TD. I don’t think that you have to have the ball in control all the way to the turf outside the end zone, but you can feel free to show me where to find the rule that says I’m wrong. I think that once you have control in the end zone, it’s a TD, much as if you fumble the ball five yards into the end zone on a run play, it’s a TD. Ball is dead the instant the ball is under control in the end zone.

    I noticed Levy’s thing on fourth down, too. He first called it out as “fourth and inches” when it was fourth and one, and then said he thought they had made it when clearly they had gained inches at most. There was an actual yard line on the field just inches ahead of the line of scrimmage; I think he was confusing the first down line with that line. Oops.

    1. Bob, You sure called the “overthrow” problem! Wimbush overthrows everywhere; short, middle and deep. But I think it can be corrected. LOU might buy him a dartboard!

      Bruce G. Curme ’77 ’82

    2. I’m not sure if you follow Tyler Eifert for the Bengals but about three years ago, he had a catch where he was getting right at the goalline at the same time he was diving and extending the ball across the plane of the goalline. The ball popped out because of the ground (he had full control across the plane) but they called it an incompletion. So yeah the endzone is the same. You have to complete the catch to the ground if you are hit and going down.

      1. Yet strangely, if you are a runner blindly flailing the ball through the air, and it grazes “the plain” microseconds before you lose control of it, it is a TD.

        Bruce G. Curme ’77 ’82

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