Notre Dame Had < 8% Chance of Victory During Game Winning Drive

Down six points at home to an unranked team is never a place Notre Dame football wants to be in.  But there they were yesterday against Virginia Tech – an 18-point underdog.  With the ball at their own 20 yard-line with 2:39 left in the game, the Fighting Irish had a 7.6% of winning the game according to ESPN’s win probability score.  You know the rest of the story from there.

Notre Dame ended up getting a first down on the next play with a five-yard pass from Ian Book to Jafar Armstrong.  Even that conversion didn’t increase Notre Dame’s chances of victory that much, though. The conversion bumped their win probability from 7.6% to just 12.7%.

By the time Notre Dame marched down the field facing a 4th and 10, their win probability was just 10.2%.  Then Virginia Tech decided it was a good idea to play soft coverage on Chase Claypool.  Narrator voice: it was indeed a bad idea.  The conversion improved Notre Dame’s chances to 60.2%.

The point of all of this is to highlight just how low the likelihood was for Notre Dame to pull out that win.  We can argue all day long about why Notre Dame was in that situation in the first place and why it’s a bad sign for the rest of the year (and we will don’t worry), but at the end of the day, that is the kind of drive that Notre Dame hasn’t made in the past few years.

Think back to the monstrosity of the 2016 season.  How many times that year did Notre Dame have the ball at the end of a game with a chance to either pull out a win or at least tie a game? Texas, Michigan, Duke, Virginia Tech, and Stanford.  You could even include Navy there since Notre Dame needed a touchdown drive and settled for a field goal that still saw them trailing before the Midshipmen ran out the clock.

Ian Book struggled throughout the game yesterday, and Notre Dame squandered an opportunity for a feel-good, comfortable victory with turnovers, penalties, and mental errors; but it could have been worse.  A lot worse.  Notre Dame could have lost that game.  Ian Book could have missed Jafar Armstrong on 4th and 3.  Virginia Tech could have played press coverage on Claypool on 4th and 10.  Ian Book could have been tackled in bounds on 3rd and goal.  Imagine that one for a second.  What do you think a 4th and goal play with the clock running and no timeouts would have looked like for Notre Dame?  It wouldn’t have been good.

Maybe, just maybe Book and Notre Dame can look at the fact that there was a 92.4% chance of them losing that game yesterday and use that one drive as a springboard to at least developing some offensive consistency.  Wishful thinking? Yeah, probably, but it’s better than sitting here and talking about losing back to back games.  That was the alternative.


You may also like


  1. This ‘take’ on that POS performance reminds me of an old cartoon.

    Kid walks into a grocery store, looks up at the owner (I said it was old….) and he says: “Hey! Remember me? I’m the nice kid who picked up all those cans I knocked over!”

    Now, maybe it would be better to have seen the cartoon, but the gist of it is the kid is brazenly looking for credit or gratitude for doing no more than cleaning up his own mess.

  2. I wish Kelly would just leave or Jack would fire him but I highly doubt either one of those 2 things occur. What I’m hoping for is Long and Reese leave or are let goto go and Kelly gets a great coordinator and qb coach and gives them full control.This probably won’t happen either.While everyone is talking about a new coach after Kelly leaves I have a guy who I think would be awesome at Notredame.He has turned around programs everywhere he has gone and currently has his team 7 and 1 and in the top 25.Also his offenses are really good and in 2017 his team put up 37 points against a pretty good Elko led Notredame team. Who is this guy. Dave Clawson Wake Forest. One heck of a coach

    1. We already hired him once as a QB/OC Coach. He was a no show for health reasons…possibly dooming Weiss’s bid to be a successful Head Coach. Head Coach at Notre Dame is NO PLACE for anyone whose health is already a problem.

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. Chris J – yes, I think that is (or should be) a huge issue with Urban, for his own sake. At Notre Dame, the tension, stress and anxiety on a head coach can have physical manifestations…and has, for more than one head coach here…I can tell you that with complete confidence. It’s not something to blow off or take lightly about a man who would be coach here. It’s not a disqualifier either (at least I hope not, as a mentally person who feels qualified to do certain professional jobs). But it is no small thing to consider for his sake as well as for due diligence.

        BGC ’77 ’82

      2. I think his “health issues” are a BS excuse only to use to get out of things kinda like forgetting that he KNEW about his assistant coach beating the crap out of his wife and then lying to the media about it. Sorry but I can’t stand that guy and we better never hire him as our coach because we would have stooped to the lowest of levels of keeping any integrity with how ND football is run.

  3. In politics, this is called ‘spin’.
    I call it polishing a turd.

    FYI….”What tho’ the odds” was intended to be a rare rallying call….not a weekly crutch.

    1. “FYI: ‘What tho’ the odds’ was intended to be a rare rallying call…. not a weekly crutch.”

      Well stated!

      Our local turd polishers, to use your turn of phrase, will now have ample opportunities to anonymously hit “Dislike.”

      1. HOW are the steelers doing rob, they should fire the coach and continue to polish the turds that make up that team!! Maybe the sqeelers can develop a star who wants to stay and play in PITTS TURD! The terrible towel is now a symbol of the terrible team!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button