(Not So) Immediate Overreactions: Notre Dame’s Fiesta Bowl Collapse Will Linger

Notre Dame lets golden opportunity to put bowl narrative to rest with epic collapse in Fiesta Bowl.

The stupid major bowl losing streak looked like it was finally going to end. Notre Dame played a near-perfect 29 minutes to start the Fiesta Bowl only to play the most flawed 31 subsequent minutes of football we’ve seen in a long time. The Irish squandered a 21-point lead in Marcus Freeman’s first game as head coach and now head into the long off-season with a lot of what-ifs and a lot of roster questions that yesterday’s epic collapse shun a lot of light on.

This loss will linger with the program for a long time

Of all the major bowl losses Notre Dame has had over the last 30 years now, this one stings the most because it’s the only one they absolutely, positively should have won. You should win 100% of the games in which you have a 21-point lead. Full Stop. Notre Dame was 79-0 since 2004 in such games. Starting the Freeman era off with the first such loss since 1991 is not how anyone envisioned things going.

There are reasons why the collapse happened – some very preventable, some that should have been more predictable in hindsight – but there are zero excuses for it. Regardless of the circumstances coming into the game, the Irish held a 28-7 lead with just over a minute left in the first half and lost. That is the kind of gut-punch loss that lingers with a program.

This collapse is now just another chapter in an embarrassing in the narrative of Notre Dame not being to win a major bowl since they haven’t since 1994. So all the graphics yesterday about the losing steak will now be updated to show another loss but one in which the Irish also blew a 21-point lead.

Personnel issues in the secondary were exploited

One of the reasons (again, read reasons, not excuses) for the collapse was Oklahoma State exploiting the Irish secondary like no other offense was able to. Spencer Sanders, a quarterback who came into the game with just 16 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 13 games, tossed four touchdowns and didn’t throw a single interception. I couldn’t have been more wrong in my prediction post about not worrying about Sanders having a big game because he carved up the Irish defense.

Sanders and the Cowboys did a number on Clarence Lewis, who looked like a player that had lost all his confidence by the end of the game. Unfortunately, the coaching staff didn’t do him too many favors by continuing to leave him alone on an island when it was clear he was being targeted by the Cowboy offense all second half long.

Notre Dame did a fantastic job covering up for Kyle Hamilton’s injury in the second half of the season. But, with a month to prepare, Oklahoma State exploited a secondary that is in dire need of an infusion of talent. Help is on the way with Benjamin Morrison, Jaden Mickey, and Jayden Bellamy, but Notre Dame needs one of this year’s freshmen corners, none of whom played meaningful reps, to develop in a hurry.

Help at safety is not so immediately available, and Notre Dame will likely have to scour the transfer portal.

Notre Dame’s wide receiver “rotation” didn’t make much sense

Notre Dame was down to five scholarship wide receivers for the game, but even with the low numbers, the rotation – or lack thereof – made zero sense to me. Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, and Lorenzo Styles rarely left the field despite Notre Dame calling 71 pass plays. Deion Colzie played three total snaps. So too did walkon Matt Salerno. Freshman Jayden Thomas played none. With a month to prepare, there’s no excuse at all for the staff not having Thomass ready to play at least a handful of snaps to spell the starters.

The starting trio of receivers was totally gassed by the end of the game, and rightfully so. Maybe if Lorenzo Styles would have had a few more breathers, he and Coan connect on that deep bomb in the fourth that was just a hair away from being completed. Likewise, maybe Kevin Austin can make a better play on the failed 4th and 7 if Colzie had spelled him at times throughout the game.

The wide receiver room is perhaps the biggest mess on the roster in years right now, and it’s more apparent than ever that a new voice is needed to rebuild that room.

Jack Coan played out of his mind and isn’t why Notre Dame lost

Notre Dame’s offense being unable to score points in the second half until it was too late is another reason for the collapse, but I’m not going to pin it on Jack Coan at all. Oklahoma State adjusted, and Notre Dame couldn’t counter. Yeah, the interception in the fourth was terrible, but the dude was asked to drop back more than 70 times in a single game. He broke Fiesta Bowl records for attempts and yards.

Coan came up just short of breaking the Notre Dame single-game passing record in his final game with the Irish. However, he threw for five touchdown passes on the day.

I do think that Tommy Rees and Marcus Freeman should have inserted Tyler Buchner in the early part of the 4th quarter when it was clear the offense had stalled, but that doesn’t mean I’d pin the blame squarely on Coan’s shoulders either.

Coan’s deficiencies are what they are and aren’t new, so the second-half offensive collapse is on the coaching staff, not the quarterback who had over 500 yards passing and five touchdowns.

Special teams looked like a unit without a full-time coach

In hindsight, the loss of Brian Polian, a lightning rod of criticism from Notre Dame fans, was more significant than most felt it would be. Notre Dame’s special teams looked unprepared and out of sorts. Jonathan Doerer missed a very makeable 41-yard field goal that ultimately loomed very large. Jay Bramblett, who entered his name into the transfer portal immediately following the game, had one good punt and then couldn’t do much to help flip field position for the Irish in any way. He ended up averaging just 36.6 yards a punt.

Some fans will point to the Doerer miss, see the two-point loss, and say all he had to do was make that kick and the Irish win, but the entire late game dynamics change if he had made that kick, so it’s not that simple, but the miss was obviously huge.

Marcus Freeman made several rookie head coach errors

The final 90 seconds of the first half were a crash course in rookie head coaching mistakes for Freeman. First, Notre Dame could have milked the clock more to give Oklahoma State less time, to begin with, but a first and goal incompletion stopped the clock for the Irish. That is a time where a run, even if they thought it would be unsuccessful, would have made a ton of sense, but it would have kept the clock running.

When Oklahoma State took the field in a clear passing situation, the Irish weren’t in a good defensive look to stop it. A time out there, or even after the Cowboys hit their big pass play, would have made sense, but Freeman sat on his timeouts.

Finally, with 42 seconds left and all of those timeouts, the decision to run out the clock when Coan and the offense were rolling was egregious. I’ll contrast this to the UVA game when Brian Kelly made a similar decision that didn’t bother me at the time. The big difference here was that UVA wasn’t doing anything against the Irish defense that day. Yesterday, Oklahoma State had just marched down the field in about 40 seconds for a touchdown.

However, the biggest rookie head coach mistake came much later in the fourth quarter when Freeman went for a 4th and 7 inside his own 20 in a one-score game with three timeouts and just under three minutes left. Isaiah Foskey bailed him out with a huge forced fumble. Still, there was no justification for going for it there even if Dan Orlovsky inexplicably agreed with the decision during the telecast.

These are the kind of rookie mistakes that a first-time head coach will make and highlight why it’s so hard to make a head coaching debut in a bowl game against a top-10 opponent.

The war of attrition at linebacker was finally lost

Notre Dame started the year with a deep and talented linebacker corps. It ended the year as a MASH unit. In Notre Dame’s two losses this season, the linebackers were exploited in coverage. And for the second time this season, Marist Liufau was greatly missed. JD Bertrand led the team in tackles but was also the runaway leader in missed tackles. Jack Kiser got swallowed up at times. Bo Bauer’s aggressiveness was used against him,

Like receiver, Notre Dame had no one left to put in to spell these guys either. A season’s worth of playing too many snaps out of necessity finally caught up with the linebacking corps.

The good news for Notre Dame is that immediate help is on the way. Jaylen Sneed, Josh Burnham, Nolan Zeigler, and Junior Tuihalamaka will all be on the roster in Columbus in September. Initially, I thought one of the four could play early, but it wouldn’t surprise me if two were in the two-deep.

Between the return of Liufau, an entire off-season for Prince Kollie, and the four incoming freshmen, the linebacker corps that lines up against the Buckeyes should look very different.

If Notre Dame just tackled well, they win easily

For all the blown coverages, missed passes, and bad coaching decisions, all Notre Dame had to do to win this game was just tackle. Instead, we saw the worst tackling we’ve seen since the season opener against Florida State. This game was eerily similar to that contest, with the Irish building a big lead and then blowing it all away. This time the Irish weren’t as lucky to escape with an overtime win, though.

Still, the tackling yesterday was terrible. Maybe even worse than that season opener. Notre Dame missed sacks where Spencer Sanders should have been a sitting duck. They failed to wrap up on easy tackles for loss. They let up a touchdown on a reverse that DJ Brown sniffed out but missed the tackle.

For all of the talk about the intense practices and more ones versus ones, Notre Dame’s tackling looked more like a team that did the reverse in the lead-up to the game. Perhaps the intense practices were too intense? Hindsight is always 20-20 but whatever the reason for the poor tackling, it’s something Freeman and the next defensive coordinator have to fix this off-season.

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  1. It was a great game by two really good teams. Both did things that could have lost or won the game. In the end, you can’t discount how really, really tough Oklahoma State is mentally. They thrived all season on tough situations. And yes, I am an OSU fan.

    1. The ending against Baylor must have been gut-wrenching…..probably the defensive play of the year, given what was at stake.
      Had they won that game , ‘Pokes could have rightly claimed they deserved to be in the playoff.
      But better than getting sacrificed there and ending off 0-2, they instead earned an epic comeback bowl win to end the season.
      A very good team, well done.

  2. Get over it! It was a bowl game, practice for next season and our new head coach. We had a good season, we looked good and we looked terrible. Lets just move on and learn. What happened in the second half of this game gives opportunities to fix what didn’t go right. This game made money for our University and gave the team extra practice heading into next season. This is just the beginning of a new chapter with a new coach and looks like he’s starting out just like coach Holtz, nothing wrong with that if it turns out the same.

      1. Nah, “little david” “from parts unknown,” “Paula” just wants to share her thoughts. It’s a free country, after all.

        Maybe you’re more of a “Trumpster” than you let on. It seems like the Donald, you both like to bluster and say nothing substantive. You also like to play internet bully, which is a sure sign you’re a little bitch in real life. Your machismo doesn’t go beyond your keyboard is my guess, “little david.”

        Are you lost, sweetie?!

  3. Ok St didn’t punt the entire second half and we were bailed out by not 1, but 2 miracle fumbles in our red zone. Going for it on 4th at least gave us ANOTHER chance to keep the ball so that WAS the right call. Did anyone really think we were going to get a three and out if we punted? Not a chance. They would have easily run the clock out. Unreal that anyone would say that is rookie coaching.

    1. Funny how opposing defenses get “bailed out”, while ND “bends but doesn’t break”, “steps up and makes a play” or “is always swarming around the ball”.

      And ND being awful in the red zone is a Kelly imprint. You don’t just wipe that stain off.

  4. Loss falls squarely on MC. Where were the adjustments?? And Mike Elston better not even be considered for the full time DC job next year, that was an abomination. MC has already made numerous mistakes (#1 saying he’ll let Elston coach the D, give him a chance, blah blah). I felt like I was in the Charlie Weiss years with that pathetic D. Haven’t seen a performance like that since then. How does that happen. Made the OKS QB look like a Heisman candidate and made zero effective adjustments, just let him pick us apart all game.
    I’m very concerned with a first time head coach leading the team. And going for it on 4th down inside the 10 was inexcusable, beyond a rookie coach mistake, that was a rookie middle school coach mistake. And guess what, they make the kick, we’re 2 scores down, and then we go down and score. Would have been up by 1 and no need for a onside (course probably would have let them drive down and kick a game winner anyway).
    Seriously, if BK was coaching we no doubt would have won that game. Also, Kyren WIlliams is our best player, should have been a Heisman candidate, and is a top 3 running back in the nation. He bailed us out numerous times (1 example against NC, should have been a 3 yard loss, ended up a 95 yard td).. |f we didn’t have him all year, would have lost 3 games easy (look at some of our game winning drives this year, and he was a huge reason).
    So frustrating, ya’ll gonna be calling for BK next year.

    1. Yes….MC is really, really to blame here. No one else even comes close.
      MC should be fired, and replaced….by TM, SN, or even AT.

  5. This “loss will linger” because media and fan blogs look backwards. What could’ve been!
    It was one half and its over.
    Move on, like Freeman will.
    For the Kelly fanboys and enablers who gave him 12 years of
    “we don’t have the facilities, they just didn’t execute”
    we can’t compete in recruiting because of our standards”
    on his way to the golf course after a non-competitive blowout in a big time bowl.
    Take him, LSU; he’s all yours. More breaking news!
    Reportedly, no ND coach or player was thrown under the bus for the first time in 12 years by the HC.
    But enough about looking backwards.
    #7 rated class incoming in ’22 . . . among the leaders in ’23.
    What ? More elite athletes are committing to ND these last two years!
    Was it Kelly’s warmth that attracted them; or “new facilities”, or getting blown out each season’s end? The Grotto’s renovation? Finally getting athletes Bama and tOSU always got.
    Becoming among the elite takes coaching but mainly (see:Georgia), recruiting and getting players who make more plays than the other team. I’m going to give Freeman some time to get ND the CFP
    level . . .and even more time than game 2 next season. What a warrior of patience I am, huh?

    1. Brevity…..
      Kelly was a fraud. He’s LSU’s fraud now.
      Freeman has to learn to be a head coach. It takes more than a month, but it better not take 3 years.
      ND is by no measure a great team, but it was padded by a very soft schedule.
      Final rank: Deserves 18ish, but lesser programs wil get screwed to put ND higher.

  6. Isn’t this comment board monitored by anyone ? Commenters are ALLOWED to drop the F BOMB here ? This type of language needs to be put down. Just like they do on Twitter and elsewhere. You use this type of language here you are BANNED…..no longer able to post and shown the door. FULL STOP. Whoever this “david” is needs to be BANISHED. Good RIDDANCE

    1. You’re aloowed to post your own thoughts on football. Anytime. It’s free, in case that is a concern.

      Amd you’;re also free to not read anyone else’s posts.
      The name appears right at the top of each one. Mine says “david”…every time.

      Now F-bomb off.

    2. @”dooby_wells”:

      Let me use some old-school rasslin’ analogies. In the old days, every territory needed a great “heel” (i.e., “bad guy”). You can’t just have all “baby faces” or “faces” (i.e., heroes or “good guys”). I was that “heel” on here for a long time. “david” has taken that “angle” for himself. Now, sometimes top “heels” would square off in a given territory, usually indicating one was about to do a “face turn” or become a “good guy.” That’s not the case here; “david” and I will continue to be esteemed as “heels” by the “in-house crowd”, “bookers”, and “promoters” on here. If a “heel” is doing his job well, they will generate a lot of “heat”. Boy, “david” gets that! (I used to back in the day!) “Heels” especially need mad “mic” skills, and that sometimes means you need “colorful” language. Now, the low- or bottom-card guys or “jobbers” (or “jabronies” as per the Rock) are fodder for the top “heels”. Too many of you here are acting out the “jobber” schtick (I’m talking to you “Burgy,” you “jabrony”!). If you don’t like “david” “calling you out”, then to quote the greatest “heel” of all time: “You wanna be the man, you gotta beat the man! Wooo….!”

      Or in the words of another legendary “heel”: “Don’t hate the player, hate the game!” (Cf., “david” below.)

      That’s just the way social media works, “dooby_wells.” It’s like the wild-wild-west days of the old wrestling territories. There are some other ND fan sites that are more PC (e.g., “ISD,” if you want to track down the acronym). That might be more your speed and liking , “dooby”.

      GO IRISH! Beat tOSU!

      1. Some times I wonder if the “bookers” and “promoters” on here create these “characters” and “angles” to generate “heat” (or clicks, as the case may be!). E.g., “david,” sounds a lot like “characters” from the past, like “Angry Eagle,” “beatta breath” (or something to that effect),”David,” “Dav.” When a masked “heel” was un-masked in one territory, they would re-appear in another with a different name and schtick (e.g., “The Spoiler”=”The Masked Superstar”). I guess we’ll never know. In the old days, everyone kept to “kayfabe”!

      2. If you can’t get to the point, you don’t have one.
        Thess submissions is another department, and see the school nurse about your hurt butt.

      3. Says “Mr. Verbosity” “parts unknown” himself!

        The lady doth protest too much!

        You know, little man, you don’t need to respond to everything. It’s one thing to get “heat.” But at some point your schtick will just get stale.

        I get it that your lonely. Internet porn gets boring for you, I guess. Also, mommy doesn’t go down to the basement enough to bring your milk and cookies.

        Get a life, little “daivid”! Pithy enough for you?!

  7. BTW….if someone knows him, could you go do a welfare check on Irishman?
    Havern’t heard a peep since his last ‘SEC are all losers’ post…I’m concerned he might be laying catatonic on the floor, in a pool of Jameson’s-infused vomit.

    1. “Jameson infused Vomit” sounds like a great new ID for you david.

      Certainly drank away my fair share of sorrows after the ND loss.

      Probably not as much as your SEC loving self did when the amazing 10 win third in the conference Rebel Bear Sharks got utterly manhandled by Baylor in the sugar.

      Oh well, happy new year.

      1. The truth hurts.
        Don’t get mad, get even.
        Don’t shoot the messenger.
        Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

        …all that.

      2. @ “Irishman”,

        Did you see what just happened? “little david” called you out, because that’s his role on here (or he’s just a real loser with no life and nothing better to do!) and you took the “hook.”

        But good for you for punching back, “Irishman”. Either that or just ignore “little david” (which will force the powers-that -be on here to invent a new “heel”). Punch back or ignore? I’d say always punch back, since that heats up the site if “little david” is an “angle”, or if he’s really just a sad internet bully, that’s how you always deal with bullies (most of them are not really tough, and the ones on the internet are just little bitches in real life!).

        GO IRISH! Beat tOSU!

  8. Given the schedule, and the inability to beat either of the two decent teams on it, ND can not possibly end up ranked above any other team with 2 losses.
    And they should not be ranked above the teams with 3 losses who played more competitive schedules.

    So….low end of the Top 20 seems right.
    But not to worry….they’ll be slotted in at 11 or 12 at worst.
    And they’ll be Top 10 again by pre-season. Bank on it (..wink wink).

    1. With Notre Dame, all that matters is it’s Television ratings to maintain their multi million dollar contract with NBC for that afternoon Saturday slot every week. With millions of dollars to buy good players, their reserves are much better than a lot of team’s 1st string. So, they can surpass most teams in second half scoring to win the game. This past year’s schedule only had 4 teams with a winning record and they lost to one of them, Cincinati.

    2. Did you really need all these words and all your regurgitated posts to say this?!

      Brevity is much appreciated, thank you!

      See how easy it is to imitate your increasingly lame schtick, “little david”.

      Come back to play when you get an original idea or can stop yourself from personal attacks, the surest sign of a lack of creativity!

  9. ND couldn’t run block all year. How many of Kyren’s 1000+ yards were YAC?
    And that reality along with their lack of quality depth was made evident.
    ND could’ve wasted more downs by running the ball, but it wouldn’t have mattered.
    Here’s a stat for you. OK. St. had 13 third down plays and made four, starting out 0-6.
    They didn’t need to convert third downs because of their chunk plays on 1st and 2nd down.
    That, and the two turnovers against a better elite veteran D’ and a mobile QB throwing to wide open receivers were key. It looks like Freeman’s biggest mistakes were going with what got them there and, like most ND fans, were convinced it’d be good enough against a quality team. It was against Wisconsin, with a mediocre QB, but it wasn’t against Cincy (even with Hamilton and Williams) or Ok. St. with a mobile QB who could pass. OK. St. was the better team and the challenge for ND is to get some quality depth at OL, WR, DB, and LB and, if I’m forgiven for being a bit optimistic, Freeman and staff are well on their way to doing that. NDs epic weak schedule this year made many delusional about this team’s upside- breaking news- it wasn’t that high, especially without their best players on both offense and defense on a depleted roster. Just because most didn’t see that doesn’t make it less obvious after watching the game. I was disappointed about blowing such a lead, but knowing what ND had on the field and their opponent, I wasn’t that surprised.

  10. Clarence Lewis has been out on an island all season. Marcus Freeman has been stranded there with him.Clarence should not even be wearing our beloved Gold Helmet and be demoted to water boy. Total embarrassment. If Marcus could not develop and instill basic grade school tackling skills as or DC then it’s going to be more of the same losses as HC.
    Our Lady of Victory Pray for Us.

  11. The biggest reason for the collapse in MHO is conditioning. OSU played fast in the 2nd half. Sometimes even not changing personnel which meant ND would have to keep their defensive line in where they would normally rotate in and out. Fatigue leads to arm tackles and inability of DBs to keep up with receiving corps. But honestly there was too many reasons to choose from.

  12. “I’ll contrast this to the UVA game when Brian Kelly made a similar decision that didn’t bother me at the time…”
    Well, it sure as shit bothered me, and I said so at the time.

    Not having the instinct to win is ND’s terminal disease. A genetic flaw.
    You kill the enemy as soon as you can. Or he will kill you. And he’ll enjoy doing it.
    ND wakes up dead. Again.

  13. That’s a great videotape for recruiting young QBs….and quite damning for recruiting RBs.

    Someone on the messageboard “in the know” said just stop the run. Sanders couldn’t throw, and if forced to, the picks would come fast and furious.
    He must have worked real hard in the past month.

    The level of intensity shown by both ND coaches and players had “exhibition game” written all over it. For players so in love with the coach they got hired , and a team looking to expunge all kinds of bowl demons, that was pretty shitty.

    Two top 10 opponents, two losses. “ND is a Top 10 team” why ?

  14. Can’t dispute the analysis provided in the article. Was disappointed Tyree and Diggs could not be effective on the ground but the OL didn’t necessarily help either by assisting in providing the opportunities to make those runs more easily possible. Hopefully Freeman takes some learning lessons from this game and applies them in his own future HC’ing duties.

  15. Very good wrap up on a could have, should have, would have loss to a very good OK St team. Among the many thinks that contributed to the loss were, in my opinion, no running game and awful tacking.

  16. Tackling was a big part of the meltdown, but having to fix it, is a bigger problem. These guys have been taught how to tackle since grade school, and is a common fundamental part of the game. Hopefully next fall we line up defenders who can tackle, and don’t need hours, and hours of teaching technique, on ” how to tackle ”

    As far as the offense goes, Jack played well, but threw way to many air balls on key downs in the 2nd half. They were dropping 7 in coverage in the 2nd half, yet we didn’t take advantage of that by trying to run the ball, I have to question tommy’s reasoning there, as Jack had nobody really open downfield most of the 2nd half, so you run it, but that never happened.

    It was a total team loss, coaches included, sad, very disappointed, but optimistic for next year.

    Go Irish

  17. I think it’s imperative that the next DC has head coaching experience. Yesterday was a flawed game, but had to be expected with a coach that was making his debut in a NY6 bowl. ND was definitely the better team yesterday, but the lack of experience from the coaching staff really hurt. Only nit picky thing from the column was that Foskey didn’t bail out Freeman. The fumble happened prior to our going for it on fourth down inside the 20, three runs and timeouts later, OSU kicks the game clinching field goal.

    1. Re: ” .. coach that was making his debut in a NY6 bowl. ND was definitely the better team yesterday” Players make plays. Best team doesn’t go without scoring in the 2nd half until very late, against a “keep it in front of you” defense by OSU. Irish didn’t game plan for OSU’s up tempo offense after half time. ESPN’s Kris Budden reported that Irish defense was winded, out of gas on the sideline. That’s how OSU took charge and won.

    2. I definitely didn’t think they were the better team. The better team can run and pass. ND was one dimensional and it caught up to them. When you pass, the clock doesn’t move, giving the other team to catch up and adjust. I think the better team won.

    3. Good call, “NDfaninAR”! I sometimes wonder what game some people are watching. Then, to not bother to double-check and correct before publishing is even more egregious. The argument that the guys who run this site should be cut some slack because it’s a “labor of love” ended with the appearance of countless pop-up ads and a podcast on here.

      As for the game it was an embarrassment. Plain and simple. No need to sugar coat it or blow smoke up our butts. It was as gutless a performance as any of the bad blow out losses of the past!

      As things went south, MF looked a lot like the useless Mike Tomlin. That same helpless, clueless glance into the void. “What do I do now?”

      At least his post-game presser wasn’t replete with Tomlin-like platitudes and endless BS. I was actually more impressed by his demeanor at the press conference than in-game. So, there might be some hope here that ND has a good, young HC.

      GO IRISH! Beat tOSU!

      1. As a Stiller fan as well…Tomlin is insufferable. His little quotes of the standard being the standard etc is absolute horseshit. So obviously the standard is not winning playoff games. That organization needs to clean house….but I digress.
        Major thing that concerned me about Freeman yesterday was there was no fire from a 35 year old head coach on the sidelines. He questioned the officials but was way too nice about it. Like him or not Saban coaches with passion on that sideline.

    4. NDfaninAR, sounds like we’re simpatico on a lot concerning these two once proud franchises that are in the tank right now.

      Tomlin is going nowhere. He’ll throw Big Ben and his coordinators under the bus first. Sound familiar?! Tomlin was a “Rooney Rule” beneficiary from jump street!

      I hope MF isn’t a Mike Tomlin-redux. His CV is Tomlin-like. Young DC without a lot of experience. I gave Tomlin about a decade of benefit of a doubt. So I’m wiling to give Coach Freeman some latitude. But that was an embarrassment on all fronts, coaching, D, O, STs.

      Oh, well, another offseason of having to hear it from the ND haters!

  18. I agree with all of this. The biggest problem Notredame had this game and the Cincinnati game was they could not run the ball. If they could have run the ball they could have scored more, ate clock and given their defense rest and limited the number of offensive posessions Oklahoma State had.

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