Initial Impressions – Washington at Notre Dame

Jimmy Clausen engineered another fourth quarter comeback on Saturday as the Irish improved to 4-1 with a 37-30 overtime win over Washington.

After making the long trip home from South Bend and rewatching the game, here are my initial impressions from Notre Dame’s latest last minute victory.

  • All three of the goal line stands were remarkable.  The double goal line stand was unbelievable.  After the roughing the snapper penalty it would have been pretty easy for them to go back out on the field deflated, but they rallied and saved the game.
  • Not sure what superlatives to use for Jimmy Clausen anymore.  He’s the real deal and has reached the point where everyone just expects him to lead the team for the go ahead score with the game on the line.  Four fourth quarter go ahead drives in four straight weeks is pretty incredible.
  • Robert Hughes ran very well again this weekend.  With Allen banged up, Hughes filled in great with 70 carries on 8 carries to go along with the critical two point conversion and then go ahead score.   Hughes was a nice weapon out of the backfield too.
  • Weis did a great job moving Golden Tate around.  Tate was all over the field so that Washington couldn’t just key on him like defenses did last year when Michael Floyd was hurt.
  • Speaking of Tate, I think the best way to describe his play is WOW.  Tate really stepped up his game this week and set a career high with 244 yards and a touchdown.  Tate got the ball in space more often than he has in the past and he made a lot happen after the catch.
  • It was nice to see Shaquelle Evans getting worked into the offense.  He only had 4 catches, but it looks like the staff is working him into the #2 receiver roll.
  • It was even nicer to see a kicker connect on all 5 of his field goal attempts.  Only one attempt was from 40 yards or more, but every one was right between the uprights and it wasn’t ad adventure to watch Nick Tausch kick.  Throw in a sloppy field because of all of the rain and it was an even more impressive performance from a true freshman.
  • Kickoffs were a little bit disappointing this week though.  After really improving last week, Tausch’s kicks didn’t get too deep this week.
  • Ethan Johnson, Kerry Neal, and Kapron Lewis-Moore all came to play Saturday.  All three continued the improvement we’ve been seeing out of them the past few weeks.  The defensive line was seen as a liability at the start of the season, but this unit is really progressing.
  • Tackling was really poor.  Tenuta, Brown, and Hart need to come up with some way to improve tackling during the bye week because USC’s running backs are a lot better than Washington’s.
  • The secondary was really disappointing.  The corners had a lot of chances for picks on passes that Locker just floated up to his receivers but they never looked for the ball and let Washington convert third and long after third and long.   It wasn’t surprising to see Gary Gray and Raeshon McNeil getting more reps in the second half.  It also wouldn’t be surprising if some starters got seriously pushed in practice over the next two weeks.
  • The pass rush was improved and got to Locker three times – Kapron Lewis-Moore, Ethan Johnson, and Kerry Neal.
  • Zeke Motta looks great on kick/punt coverage.  He only had one tackle, but it might have been one of the nicest tackles in the game.
  • Manti Te’o was all over the field.  The freshman linebacker had 10 tackles and was in the mix on almost every play it seemed.  He still needs work in pass coverage, but he looks like the real deal.
  • It was nice to see Steve Filer get some playing time with Darius Fleming out.  Filer looked good filling and turned in 4 tackles.
  • The middle of the field was WIDE open all day.  If Clausen had a little more time to pass throughout the game, his numbers could have been better (which is a scary thought since he threw for 422 yards).
  • Red zone offense was disappointing to say the least.  If tackling is the one thing for the defense to work on during the bye week, red zone offense should be the one thing the offense works on this week.  This game could have been over much sooner than overtime if the offense could have converted some of the red zone attempts into touchdowns.
  • Kyle Rudolph should be a major part of the plan to improve the red zone offense.  He’s a huge target, but needs to be given the ball more than on just a fade route.   His go ahead touchdown was an excellent play, but the Irish won’t be able to live on that play all season in the red zone.
  • I was glad, however, to see Weis take the field goal each time the offense couldn’t reach the end zone.  Having a kicker capable of going 5 for 5 probably made the decision easier for him.
  • This team fights till the end and doesn’t give up.
  • There were a lot of mistakes out there again this week, but those mistakes are much easier to take after escaping with the win.
  • Did Notre Dame beat the team that beat USC and fought LSU or the team that got run over by Stanford?  No one knows and likely won’t until we see how the Irish play against the Trojans in two weeks.
  • Bottom line is this team still has a long way to go before it reaches its full potential, but there are a lot of other teams that would like to be sitting at 4-1 heading into their bye week with two weeks to prepare for their toughest game of the season.
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  1. Tom 10 years ago


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  2. JDH 10 years ago

    Bob C,
    It never ceases to amaze me how gay one must be to perform a “talk smack and then run” routine on someone else’s blog/thread. Priorities and common sense are elusive to you. USC may win Saturday; they may lose. Either way, I’ll be comforted by the fact that I have never / will never surf other teams’ sites to throw rocks and then run. Mark May and Pat Forde hold eachother, crying in the dark. A knock on their door from you would make their night complete. Just wow.

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    1. Shazamrock 10 years ago

      You are one streight up fan who enjoys sharing game facts and stratigies with anyone. But it never fails when some no class team comes calling so do their low life fans. Believe it or not Pete Carroll is under fire from these same fans for continully loosing year after year to teams that he is supposed to beat by 4 TD’s.
      When he isn’t lying to his recruits, he is sticking his head in the sand when they get in trouble. Ever notice the guy always has something to say about everything, until one of his player gets caught cheating, then it’s “no comment” or calls placed to his office were “not returned.”
      Not only is USC going to loose this Saturday. They are going to loose to Oregon and Stanford as well!

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      1. JDH 10 years ago

        I hear you man. Coaches should not cover for their players wrongdoing at all costs. Tressel does the exact same thing at Ohio State.

        People who ding-dong-ditch other fan sites amaze me. (such as BobC)

        It’s gonna be cold in South Bend on Saturday! Bring your UnderArmor, Trojans!

        Catholics vs. Condoms 2009.

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  3. bobc 10 years ago

    Jack… the USC Florida game is what everyone in the country would like to see, including me. We are trying to schedule SEC schools but it is not as easy as it seems. Most don’t want to travel to the W. coast and seem to like the patsy out of conference games they play now. We played Auburn a few years ago and won a couple but no one else seems interested. So they play Ohio State and Virginia Tech and Florida State… all strong programs. We trying to get Texas set up for 2016 as we speak.

    And of course were cursed by playing in a conference that is not as good across the board as the SEC, so the voters and computers don’t always give us the love and votes we need to get to play these SEC teams.

    I guess we will just have to let Boise State continue to beat up on your all powerful Alabama’s until we get the votes. Oh, that UF/LSU game last night was like watching grass grow… yawn! Were is the offense? LSU was rated number 3 and could not score a TD… That’s pathetic.
    Have some catfish and chill out!

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  4. Jack 10 years ago

    By the way your great coach lost another came to an inferior PAC 10 member. Your league is weak that is why you should not loose in it.

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  5. Jack 10 years ago

    Hey Bob C if you are living in the present and rate your program by national championships how many do you have in the past decade. Thats right just one. Now I am not saying that ND is the best and should be winning NC, but if you are going to talk trash beat Florida or an SEC school in the national championship game. By the way why are you on this site, don’t you have a life.

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  6. C-Dog 10 years ago

    Cuff Barkley like the boys did to Marinovich

    Play Like an ATF Cop Today!!!

    Go Irish!!

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