You know it was a good game for Notre Dame when I can spend a significant portion of my 5 things I didn’t like column railing on Doug Flutie and complaining about off the field, trivial things. That’s the case again this week as Notre Dame beat up on Boston College to the tune of a 40-7 blowout on Senior Day. The Irish weren’t exactly crisp at all times, but they still beat up on a program that aspires to be them without the chance of ever reaching those heights. Bless, Boston College’s hearts.
1. Notre Dame not being able to get their running backs going, again
The final stat sheet says that Notre Dame ran the ball for over 252 yards but those numbers were aided by over 100 yards combined from quarterbacks Ian Book and Phil Jurkovec and 61 yards on one jet sweep from speedster Braden Lenzy. Notre Dame running backs combined for f73 yards on 23 yards. That is far from ideal production.
Kudos to Chip Long for finding some creative ways to get the Notre Dame rushing attack going, but the lack of success by Notre Dame running backs is beyond worrisome at this point and with the injuries to the offensive, don’t expect it to get any better this weekend.
2. Eight penalties by the Irish
Notre Dame was sloppy on offense in the first half and part of the reason for that was a string of penalties – specifically on the offensive line. It’s been a problem throughout much of the year and another eight penalties on Saturday isn’t exactly the kind of clean effort you’d hope for in the 11th game of the season. Ultimately the penalties didn’t matter against a team like Boston College, but we saw how big of a problem they were earlier this year against Michigan and Georgia when they did matter.
False starts have plagued Notre Dame throughout the year as the Irish have struggled with their clap cadence ever since that Georgia game. The false start penalties reared their ugly head again against Boston College.
It’s a bit ridiculous that this is still an issue this late in the year, but here we are. Clearly Brian Kelly and his staff have been unable to adequately fix this during the season, so hopefully they spend a significant amount of time during bowl prep to correct this.
3. NBC’s main broadcast turning into “Flutie Fest”
We’re on record about how much we liked the NBC Fan Feed, but let’s talk for a moment about the brilliant idea that NBC had to turn the 35th anniversary of Doug Flutie’s hail mary into a Flutie Fest during the main NBC broadcast while Notre Dame was playing Flutie’s alma meter. Let’s recap quickly just a few of the reasons this wasn’t a good idea.
- Notre Dame fans can’t stand Doug Flutie, and his disdain for Notre Dame is noticeable each an every game he provides lazy, uninsightful commentary to
- Notre Dame fans don’t particularly care for Boston College either given that BC’s claim to fame as a program is their 1993 upset of the Irish
- Who in the hell even celebrates the 35th anniversary of anything? That’s not a thing. Quick, think back to the last huge 35th birthday party you attended. Or the previous 35th-anniversary party you attended for a friend or family’s wedding. You can’t. And if you can, I’m sorry for you.
The entire thing was just so tone-deaf (props to @ndjrs for astutely pointing this out first) that it’s a wonder if the NBC executives even care. Was the whole NBC Fan Feed something that sprung out of people at NBC, realizing just how bad of an idea that was?
The only positive to no more home games this year is no more suffering through Doug Flutie. If this makes it’s way to anyone at NBC, please do us two huge favors:
- Replace Flutie with Chris Simms – he’s incredible, Flutie sucks
- Run back the Fan Feed on NBCSN multiple times a year (I’d say every week but don’t want to be greedy)
4. Lower attendance for Senior Day versus Boston College than last week versus Navy
I get not everyone cared that the sellout streak ended against Navy last week and I understand that 80,000 people might not want to sit through a South Bend November Saturday to watch Navy run an antiquated offense that saps the fun out of a lot of games, but selling only 71,827 for Senior Day against Boston College for the 17th straight win in Notre Dame Stadium? That is just disappointing.
Part of this is a trend throughout college football. Attendance is down all over the country, but that is only part of the equation here. While other schools might not be selling out, there are plenty of other programs with stadiums that hold 90,000+ getting near sellouts each week. Notre Dame sold just over 71,000 tickets for the last home game of the year. This is in just the third year of a major stadium renovation project.
There is a lot that Notre Dame can do to improve the game-day environment and bless the entire crew during the NBCSN broadcast for trying to sell all of the gameday enhancements at Notre Dame Stadium, but some of this is on the fans too. The fans who do go to games can be doing more to create some energy in the stadium also. Notre Dame Stadium used to rock, and it can again. It will take a commitment to want it to rock again from both the University and those in attendance.
5. No more home football games for Notre Dame this year
Despite my complaints about Doug Flutie and my disappointment in the dwindling attendance at Notre Dame home games this year, it is always said when we get to the last home game of the year. We only get 13, 14 if we’re really lucky, of these stupid football games we all obsess over every year and most years only six of them are inside Notre Dame Stadium.
This year in particular the final home game is bittersweet given the potential this season had that Notre Dame failed to every full realize. It took until November for the offense to really get going and it took a sleepwalking exercise in Ann Arbor to reawaken the Irish defense, but the opportunity was there for another playoff run this year.
We now only have two Notre Dame games left this year and have to wait a little over ten months before the Irish return home to Notre Dame Stadium again.