Notre Dame’s Three Keys to Victory

Saturday’s game against the Washington Huskies provides the Fighting Irish with a unique opportunity to finally get a quality win against a previously ranked opponent, one who miraculously upset the mighty Trojans.  Washington (2-2, 4th in Pac-10) is coming off a close loss to Stanford, and will be looking to pull off the upset on the road against the Irish. For the Irish to beat the Huskies, I believe they will need to do three things well.

  • First, Notre Dame’s defensive line will need to play big. Lead by Ethan Johnson, this unit will need to put consistent pressure on Washington’s dual threat quarterback, Jake Locker. Forcing Locker to make rushed throws to young receivers will be key because in the past three games, the Irish have been passed all over by inferior quarterbacks.  Also, pressuring Locker will be crucial, as he is one of the premier running quarterbacks in the nation. Young linemen such as Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ian Williams will need to step up in the spotlight and rush Locker. Putting pressure on the quarterback has been a problem this season and has allowed opposing quarterbacks too much time in the pocket down the stretch
  • The second key to a victory this Saturday is penalties. This season, Notre Dame has had costly penalties in key points of the game that has taken all the wind out of productive drives. Last week against Purdue, Golden Tate caught a touchdown because of a magnificent throw, all to be called back by a penalty, forcing the Irish to settle for a field goal. The most highlighted penalties have been by experienced players such as Sam Young, Harrison Smith and Duval Kamara. Notre Dame will need to play smart, and cannot afford to beat themselves against a quality team like the Huskies.
  • The last key to the game is the young special teams. Coach Weis announced this week that Ben Turk will be taking over for the inconsistent Eric Maust at punter.  Turk will need to pin the Huskies deep into their own territory in order for Tenuta to bring the blitz against Locker. A name that was highly publicized last year was Rudy-like figure, Mike Anello, and although he has played well so far, I am waiting for his break out game this season.  There is no reason it can’t happen Saturday.  The return game has been solid for the Irish so far, but freshman Theo Riddick will need solid returns to give Clausen and the offense a strong opportunity to succeed. On punt returns, Tate has been effective, but the Irish will need good blocking for him to have a chance to take one back.

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  1. ron airz 8 years ago

    “Washington coming off its close loss to Stanfor”


    Huh? They were completely barried by Stanford for almost the entire game.

    If close loss is 34-14, what’s a 24-21 game score?

    Let’s get Bill O’Reilly on here for some spin control.


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  2. The leprechaun 8 years ago

    They know how to put on a show!

    -The Leprechaun

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    1. Shazamrock 8 years ago

      Little Green dude, I love your movies. My favorite is Leprechaun in the hood. Your web-site rocks too.
      There’s just one thing. I looked and Looked
      but couldn’t find where you keep your Limericks.
      I had a good one for our next game that I thought you might like. It goes something like this:
      Little coach Pete come smell our feet
      we’re playin this game on grass
      When Jimmy calls hike, and Tate scores with a spike
      You loose, so now you can kiss our ass

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    2. Shazamrock 8 years ago

      Didn’t like that one?
      OK here’s another for USC.

      Their teanm is named after rubbers
      They’re all a bunch of bar hoppin clubbers
      From within these sacred walls, and also our hallowed halls
      they’ll be facing 3rd and long, you’ll hear our fight song, and know that you’ve been kicked in the balls

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  3. Shazamrock 8 years ago

    For all you ND “fans” that think we should beat every team by 4 TD’s. Remember how it felt to loose to Michigan on basiclly the last play?
    I find it quite enjoyable when ND cuts the heart out of their opponent at the end of the game. Just when Mich ST, or Purdue, or Washington, starts smiling and jumping around thinking they have the game won, up jumps the Irish to steal victory. Actually, if you think of it,it’s kind of cruel and inhumane. I guess I’m just one sick and twisted individual who gets his kicks at some poor saps dismay. I like winning ugily. If you think the ND haters’ were bad before, just keep this up for the rest of the year!
    Did you see Rupolph make that twisting jump catch in O.T.? Did you see the look on the faces on the Washington side line? Their coaches , and players? Priceless!
    Ha,ha, huh,huh,huh,huh, ha, ho, ho, ha, ha.
    That just made my week.
    Am I a bad sport? Michigan fans seemed to enjoy our fate. As far as I’m concerned USC, BC, Pitt, are next in line for some payback. I hope we beat each one on the last play of the game. Maybe triple OT. Wouldn’t that be fun?

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  4. Irisheye62 8 years ago

    Clausen over 400 yards in one game!!]
    That THAT is Unreal!!!!
    ( Really glad that this team has a bye this week.
    Clausen’s health, the come from behind victories-and one loss in 4 straight weeks is enough to make any team take a breath -be ready-get through mid term exams and breathe and do the best we can. THAT could be better than anyone expects-especially USC)

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  5. cousinnap 8 years ago


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  6. svenghatli 8 years ago

    Golden Tate: 9 catches, 244 yds


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  7. Irisheye62 8 years ago

    I too hate Mark May -but he hates nearly everything but himself with his cocky conceit.
    The defense grew up today!
    Goal line stands.
    The penalties against ND were interesting and some just full of it.
    I can’t believe some of the calls.
    On ABC they were touting the remarkable performance of Washington’s OB and NOTHING about ND. Didn’t Clausen throw for some 400 yards?
    Didn’t ND Defense have goal line stands which won the game?
    Didn’t ND not quit and BEAT Washington ( again)?
    The defense needs to stop the pass more -and not allow HUGE plays on 3rd down.
    Charlie is not going for it every time –and that is not a bad thing.
    Points are points–and today it added up.
    How about that? Did he visit Hentrich of the 90’s recently?
    Still-I wish we could just BURY A TEAM -and put them AWAY!!!
    I REALLY don’t care if it is unsportsmanlike to run up the score.
    It will be healthier for all of us here and the ND fan base around the world-including those on Mt. Everest.
    I am STILL as of 1:02 a.m. trying to calm down—it is time for a LONG walk. Four weeks in a row! A win is a win–but OT has not been in ND’s favor veyr much to my knowledge. ( What IS the record for ND in OT? All I could think of was an Air Force repeat in the 90’s -20-17–I still have nightmares from that! I know -let it go. )
    ND has the talent on offense but they not only play the opponet but the refs as well. Special, isn’t it?
    Washington is on target to be THE most improved program in the NCAA–as I said last June that they would be.
    ND needs a break –and so do the operators from the 911 calls for potential cardiac arrests.
    ( I am Serious here–not sarcastic—but I don’t think Weiss looks very well these days. I am concerned–as I would be for anyone.)

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  8. bleednd82 8 years ago

    I hate Mark May and I am done.

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    1. Scav 8 years ago

      I agree with you. Mark May is the biggest cry baby on ESPN. He says that ND hasn’t beaten anyone with a winning record, which is true, but isn’t this the same Washington team that beat his beloved Trojans? He actually said the only reason ND won was because of a blown call by the refs. I thought he was a a professional, not a middle school kid.

      This team has comeback late in the 4th quarter to take the lead for games in a row. Isn’t it time to give this team a little credit. Also, he said there is no way ND beats USC in 2 weeks. I would like to hear what his lame excuses will be if we do beat them.

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      1. Irisheye62 8 years ago

        Mark May really wants a Sunday job and is doing his best to kiss butt to the California faithful.
        He HATES everything about ND -past, present and future.
        What the s.o.b. failed to mention was the bogus calls on ND these past weeks.
        I don’t think the refs GAVE the opponet the games–but they sure helped at key times.
        Every time ND intercepts or tackles, I hold my breath for “holding” -only to see it done a few plays later by the opponet –which may or may nor be called.
        ND is definitely the cardiac
        team. Mark May will NOT give credit to anyone but himself and what is “cool” for the day. Lou, on the other hand sees the game for what it is from the coach’s point of view and he knows the entire science of the game.
        USC has feet of clay–and so does Mark May. He just does not know it yet.
        As for teams with “records” the season is still early-Michigan State is just a few plays from being 4-1 or undefeated. Did they NOT beat Michigan in the same kind of game we are seeing week after week at ND? May would lose credit in his feeble mind if he considered that.
        Again, Lou is a Man -mark is a boy-the school yard type with a chip on his shoulder.
        He can’t give credit due to ND when it is due.
        AND we have problems –but we DO deserve credit for the never say die attitude and to find a way to WIN!
        As for Markie, arrogance and
        Pride cometh before a fall.

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  9. bleednd82 8 years ago

    THREE GOAL LINE STANDS Three! Are you kidding me

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    1. Irisheye62 8 years ago

      Against the team that beat the MIGHTY TROJANS NO LESS!!!
      THREE Goal Line stands—
      in the analysis of the entire game,that WON the game
      along with the INCREDIBLE two point conversion where the Huskies took a ride to the endzone with us to see ND get 2 points!! Oh yeah!!
      THREE goal line stands!
      ( Good thing I am not into pro-football–I could not take
      this ALL weekend long.) LOL

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  10. Cliff 8 years ago

    Hopefully this imressed Barr, Gaston, and Pullard…sure would like to get all these three Commited.

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  11. Ben 8 years ago

    We have 2 glaring issues that impact our defense in 2 key areas. If we fix them we are a Top 10 team.

    Safety – Harrison Smith cannot make a play. Too slow, too afraid and his inability to see plays and react. Sub please!

    Sergio Brown – stinks at a nickle back. Maybe moving him to safety (replace 22) might make him see the field better. He is not a coverage back but can react when the play is in front of him.

    CW – I call your plays out sitting on my couch here in L.A. If I can do that than the Defense can do it to. Keep running the ball when inside the 10 yard line. You have great backs… use them.


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  12. bleednd82 8 years ago

    Did you see the last hit in person? I did and Kyle Mcarthy layed that B*tch out. He was DONE!!!! Thats the pain I like to see. LAID OUT in OT.


    GO Irish baby.

    PS. Jimmy Clausen is really really good.

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    1. Cliff 8 years ago

      That dude was stiff as a board…glad to hear he is ok…so I can celebrate the hit….

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      1. bleednd82 8 years ago

        Celebrate a hit like that. That was amazing. Golden got JACKED up earlier and he bounced back. We deserved that W. Jimmy Clausen baby. He is amazing. Charlie and ND haters go drink you own “KooLaid”.

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  13. Cliff 8 years ago

    What I lernered today about ND football:
    These kids never gave up
    Manti is the real deal
    Filer had a key play
    Robert Hughes is solid
    Our DBs need to get there head around for the ball
    Shaq is coming around
    Sergio Brown is a liability
    Taush is impressive
    Golden is Golden
    I aged 5 years!

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  14. Jack 8 years ago

    I can’t take much more of this and my wife can’t either. I screaming at the tv, pacing back and forth. I had to go for a 4.5 mile run after the came because I would not have slept tonight. Can this team just blow some people out. Hopefully our defense gets some confidence and starts to play better so we can beat USC in two weeks.

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    1. Cliff 8 years ago

      I went for a 4.5 mile drive…;)

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  15. Cliff 8 years ago

    Still can’t get over Robert Hughes…wow…the difference in the game is his 2 point conversion…what strength…there is no doubt RH and AA should be co starters…and Jonas should not see the field as much…

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  16. Cliff 8 years ago

    Im with you Chitowncopper…

    Were are damn lucky to win this game…did you see the guy McCarthy hit? He was knocked out cold..his arms were in the air because he had nothing from the brain…good hit…however I hope the young man is ok…

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  17. Chitowncopper 8 years ago

    Of all the sass-ages and Italian beefs i’ve consumed on the beat, never have i come closer to a heart attack than in witnessing the final of this game. I almost had to take the squad car lights and sirens into the Mt Sinai cardiac unit. A win is a win and im proud to be a Notre Dame fan but it shouldnt have been this close. Thank God we recruited a kicker. Kyle McCarthy please run for Mayor.

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  18. Jake W 8 years ago

    Man… I can’t take much more of a season like this… Unreal… Anyway, our D backs would have 3 picks/game if they would turn and see the ball when it’s in the air. Also, golden ALWAYS calls fair catches on punts.. It’s good that he’s not making mistakes, but he’s gotta look to make a play on special teams.. Ahhh… I need a drink.

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    1. JP 8 years ago

      Jake…I completely understand where you’re coming from but the last person I’m going to question is Tate…he’s a beast and has stepped up big time…it’s such a shame Floyd is out…Go Irish!!!!

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  19. Cliff 8 years ago

    Im a grown man…and I want to CRY! My heart cant take this…LMAO!

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  20. Cliff 8 years ago

    OT…we got the ball first….lets go JC!

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  21. SteelFanRob 8 years ago


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  22. Cliff 8 years ago

    What a gutsy performace by the D…wow…think my heart has stopped!

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    1. SteelFanRob 8 years ago

      You spoke too soon, Cliff!!!

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  23. SteelFanRob 8 years ago

    BS call by refs again! ND needs to look into this situation with pro-opposition refs. We need 7!

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    1. Cliff 8 years ago

      How many flipping calls against us this year…wth!

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  24. Cliff 8 years ago

    THE REFS are out of control!!!!!

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  25. JP 8 years ago

    Penalties are the reason ND is going to lose this game…bonehead plays!!!

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  26. SteelFanRob 8 years ago

    So much for dreams! Gutless!!!

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    1. Irisheye62 8 years ago

      What “dreams” do you speak of?
      Never close the book until it is finished. NEver.
      Never Ever.
      ( and I saw PLENTY of guts by a defnese that still has problems but grew up a lot today!)
      Read the whole book
      (you must be talking about the field goal to make it 22-24 instead of “going for it”
      if that is the case-damned if you do-and damned if you don’t- )
      Final Page-Chapter 8
      Series Irish 8
      Huskies in Purple 0
      The End.
      Good Night.

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  27. Cliff 8 years ago


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  28. Cliff 8 years ago

    Big 4th down…come on D!

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    1. SteelFanRob 8 years ago

      We can always dream, Cliff!

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  29. Nate 8 years ago

    you kidding me…..5 yard loss turns into a gain….i’m out…

    Go Irish

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  30. Nate 8 years ago

    3rd and 11 gotta happen RIGHT NOW

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  31. Nate 8 years ago

    I just am at a total loss for words at how we are not up 31-(less than 15) right now. We just are not finishing. Ive never seen a notre dame team move so easily between the 20’s, but struggle so much in the redzone. It’s hard to watch. O line has got to find some heart and move the line of scrimmage. No reason this is a game right now.

    Another big gain as i right this….no tackles….I am desperate to see some serious toughness out of this defense and our O line. We should still win this game by 10 points.

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  32. SteelFanRob 8 years ago

    Gutless!!! How many points have been left off the scoreboard today (this entire season)? Add a defensive TD against ND, too. Typical of why this team will not put anyone away.

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  33. SteelFanRob 8 years ago

    This is looking like it’s going to be another game at home like the many we’ve had since losing to BC on a last second field goal all those years ago!

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  34. Cliff 8 years ago

    Thoughts on first half:
    Another TD called back by the refs
    JC made a freshman mistake with the lateral, and then luckly got away with another
    D looks solid, except for S Brown(31)
    Manti looks solid- KEEP HIM IN
    We are dominating, however down by one…what the heck
    Ethan showed up today…been waiting for this day
    If AA catches that ball he is still running

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  35. Nate 8 years ago

    I’d agree with Drew. I think that Clausens toe is a much bigger deal than most are admitting. I’ve seen NBA players miss entire seasons with turf toe. This kid has a lot of guts. Hopefully he can remain effective without his plant foot being 100% for the year. He looks great so far.

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  36. Nate 8 years ago

    Gotta score on those big breakaway runs. It’s not so simple int he redzone anymore without Floyd. Can’t squander opportunities anymore and just rely on the lob to the corner endzone.

    Glad to see we’re not blitzing every down and making this kid actually read some coverage.

    Love our new kicker.

    Think we’re going to breakout for two TD’s this quarter. We’re really really close.

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  37. tikitonga 8 years ago

    Typical ND defense. No pass rush, letting offense chewing up yards.

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  38. Drew S 8 years ago

    I’d argue that Clausen’s health is just as big of a key as any of those points. Not that you could go wrong with any of the 4

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    1. tom 8 years ago

      Also along with penalties, you could add Tackling…

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  39. upthera44 8 years ago

    You call the Washington loss to Stanford (34-14 and Stanford winning comfortably throughout) a “close loss”?

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    1. ron airz 8 years ago

      I agree…..How on earth could he write that?

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  40. trobro 8 years ago

    good article…i agree with all three points–if nd is able to succeed in all three of these important areas, they will come out with a victory against a pesky udub squad

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