5 Things I Didn’t Like in Notre Dame’s Last Home Game of 2019

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.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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:

  1. Replace Flutie with Chris Simms – he’s incredible, Flutie sucks
  2. 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.

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27 Comments

  1. Just want to say thank you to the players and coaches for an exciting year of ND footballgood luck down on the farm make it a 10-2 year

  2. Let’s face it. The Irish have no running game. Each week we expect it to emerge, but it’s just not there.
    I think that is a key reason ND doesn’t employ a vertical passing game. No sound running attack
    to set up and/or backup incomplete long passes.

  3. I understand that I am in the minority here, but I really don’t understand the Flutie trashing. I think ND fans just want a rah-rah ND fan in the booth. They aren’t going to do that. NBC does a good job pre-game and halftime looking at some of the things that make ND special. The in-game broadcast is supposed to be neutral. I would enjoy a pro-ND broadcast, but that isn’t what it is supposed to be. Flutie is not lazy in his analysis. I hate how much the NBC likes to suck Flutie’s d, but that doesn’t mean Flutie is doing a bad job. The tiny screen dedicated to the game on the NBCS fan-feed, as well as listening to chatter WHILE THE GAME WAS GOING ON, were enough to get me to switch over to the NBC feed.

    As far as attendance goes, tickets are just too expensive. If they made cheap seats available and easy to get, more people would attend. It’s that simple. I don’t even know how to purchase tickets as an alumnus. I could get them on the secondary market, but the prices are way too much until the last minute. Then I have to book a flight and a hotel last minute. Have cheap tickets available early, and make sure people know they are available. Then we will fill the stadium. Oh and also don’t get shellacked by Michigan. That would help too.

    1. As an alumnus, you must donate $200 minimum to be in what is left of the lottery. You also need for PR&D and ticket office to have your email address. I have not made mine yet, but it’s easy in Indiana, since you’ll get 1/2 of it back as a state tax CREDIT in February.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  4. I was watching the end of the game on the main NBC channel and I noticed some of the NBC folks (Simms and Flutie I believe–though I can’t remember who said what exactly) basically admonish ND fans for being to hard on the team. That this is a really good ND team and maybe the fans just expect too much. And one of them even claimed ND was elite this year.

    Ahem, excuse me. Usually I complain about NBC trying to be a bit too complimentary to the opposing team (yes, esp. Flutie)—but elite? When I think of elite teams I think of Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia and Alabama. That’s elite in CFB. Now I agree, ND is not a bottom feeder. In fairness I’d say they are an above average CFB team. Better than probably 95% of the teams out there. But there is a high bar for elite.

    Now maybe they are saying the fans are just unrealistic. That a NC is no longer in the cards for ND. That we have to set our sights a bit lower. I disagree with that assessment, but if someone wants to make that argument that’s their right. But that doesn’t make ND an elite team.

    If you want proof at how the rest of the world looks at ND look at the polls. We have hardly budged in weeks. We have greatly overmatched our last 3 opponents and we haven’t moved up. In fact, one week we actually moved down.

    A few weeks ago I thought if we went 10-2 we’d get a NY Day 6 Bowl. But with the total lack of movement in the polls, I’m starting to wonder if we will get one. No body in CFB land is giving ND any credit for these blow out wins. We may very well be outside the NY Day 6 Bowl bubble even at 10-2.

    1. That blowout to scUM opened eyes with the committee. Had it been a close loss they might give ND more love in the rankings. They showed up with no heart or fire and got curb stomped. I know they say that they don’t take previous seasons or whatever into the ranking but it has to be in the back of their minds that ND just doesn’t show up in big games. GA was an exception this year even tho it was a loss. I’m not surprised at the rankings the last 4 weeks because as much as I’d love to see them new years day it isn’t happening this season. I’ll take an 11-2 season with a bowl win and a top 10 finish.

  5. I think a large reason for a reserved atmosphere is the individuals who attend games in the first place. My family has the same 4 season tickets in lower Southwest corner since 2009 & every home game I’ve attended (& ND @ Fenway) I’ve been told to sit down, including this past Saturday. I joke with my friends & family there is a large group of people who attend the games on behalf of ND who are the “wine & cheese” crowd. I told the guy this past Saturday when he asked me to sit down, “You’re the reason there is not a home field advantage & teams aren’t afraid to play here. If you want to sit down, go sit on your couch.” I’m tired of seeing these types of fans who want to watch the game like it’s their own personal living room.

  6. Frank,

    I think you meant it took us til November to play trash teams to have the appearance of the offense getting going.

    Jurkovec 2020!

    1. Yeah I agree Chris. Notre Dame has been beating up on some inferior opponents lately but at least they are hammering these teams pretty good like they should be instead of playing down to there level like they have in the past. Frustrating to see PJ hand the ball off instead of getting some quality reps. Seems like you would want to get your backup some quality reps and let him get into the flow of the game so he is better prepared in case Book gets injured.

      1. I noted in another comment that I really wonder if that’s because Book has decided to come back and BK has decided already Book will be the starter next year (barring something unforeseen like an injury or something). That might explain why the handcuffs are back on Jurkovec.

        At this point I’d bet money that Book will be the undisputed starter next year.

        And I’d hate to be a negative Nelly but I can’t help but be concerned about whether Book can put up the stats he’s been putting up against elite, or above average defenses. Is he doing so well because he’s really turned a corner? Or is it just because the last 3 games he’s just faced greatly overmatched teams? If it’s the former you might look at the last drive against VT as a turning point–the point where the light went on and he turned it all around. If it’s the latter we may be in the same boat next year, sitting at 9-2, 10-3 and outside looking in again.

        Honestly I hope we blow out Stanford and get a really good bowl game against a team with a great defense so we will know whether this is a new and improved Book or not.

  7. My answer to the penalty situation would not be very popular with the coaches/players. At the start of the season I would tell all players (including starters) that whosoever commits (2) penalties in a game then on the 2nd penalty they would be pulled out and would ride the “pine” for the following two quarters. I would bet that you would see a lot fewer penalties, if any!

      1. Chris, isn’t “supply” part of the equation? How many false starts are there compared to how many “interceptions?”
        The interception total for the year (or for his career) is not a major problem. False starts and offsides are major problems.

        BGC ’77 ’82

  8. Maybe I’m unrealistic but if Notredame doesn’t go undefeated I’m disappointed Every year I wait for a great running game and a 50 points a game offense like Ohio State Alabama Clemson Oklahoma LSU. I want to get excited about 2020 with Chris Tyree Jordan Johnson Braden Lenzy Lawrence Keys Kevin A ustin Cole Kmett I can’t. I have to see it to believe it.. Not sure what to make of Long and Quinn.More importantly what does Brian Kelly do in the off season to get this offense to be a machine in 2020.Not going to beat Wisconsin USC or Clemson putting up 14 17 21 points.

    1. Pete, if ND played the same type of cupcake schedules that Alabama & Clemson play then your wish of an undefeated season and 50 pts a game would be realized!

      1. Doc, LOL good one. GA just beat us this year. Don’t they play Bama all the time? Some cupcake schedule they have. If we played in the SEC this year, we would be getting whooped on a weekly basis. Non conference is trash I’ll give you that but the SEC is a gauntlet which more than makes up for their cupcakes.

      2. @ChrisJ – if the SEC is so tough a schedule and better than ND, why is it that ND has played 6 ranked teams in 11 games (GA, MI, UVA, VT, Navy, USC) and AL has only played 2 (LSU, TXAM)? No knock on the SEC, but the idea that ND’s schedule doesn’t match up well is ridiculous.

      3. Chris: And exactly how many ranked teams did Alabama defeat while going through “the gauntlet”?

        BGC ’77 ’82

      4. Alabama had LSU, Auburn, and Texas A&M this year. If I had to put money on it, I’d put any of these SEC teams up against MI, VA, VT, Navy, and USC and take them to win. Texas A&M is the weakest but look at their 4 losses…Clemson, GA, LSU, Bama and none of the losses were straight whoopings. Bama lucked out not having GA and Florida on the schedule. SEC has been the best conference in recent history so don’t tell me that Bama or any other SEC team has it easy.

      5. That rough schedule includes VANDERBILT, TENNESEE, KENTUCKY, MISSISSIPPI, MISS. ST, ARKANSAS,SOUTH CAROLINA, MISSOURI and yes a 4 loss TEX A&M, praise A&M for losing every tough game the’ve played! That’s 9 wins without playing LSU ( ND BEAT LAST 2 TIMES THEY PLAYED ) Florida a 2 loss team, Georgia ( lost by 6 at GEORGIA, FLA lost at home to GEORGIA ) AUBURN another 4 loss season after they lose to BAMA Saturday! Year 2 hasn’t been so good for JIMBO, GUS MALZONE rumored to be out at AUBURN, BAMA although better than almost everyone can’t stop a good offense LSU, CLEMSON and GEORGIA ( they’ve avg. more pts a game against BAMA than they did against ND )! GOOD CONFERANCE but still beatable teams, I still think if ND played the GEORGIA game at home they win that game!!

      6. “Had” Auburn this year? That doesn’t happen until tomorrow, and it is not clear yet that BAMA will win that game.

        BGC ’77 ’82

    2. Lets be realistic and acknowledge that Notre Dame is benefitting from a weaker schedule this year than what appeared on paper before the season started. USC, Stanford, VT, and some others on this years schedule are all having down years.

      1. But the point still remains: ALABAMA’s schedule was “thrashier” than ours…by far…but they are saved by the eye test, of course. They haven’t won a big game since the conference championship LAST year, gentlemen, unless you count Texas A&M.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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