Notre Dame Highlights: Irish Stay Unbeaten, Beat Northwestern

It wasn’t always pretty, but in the end, Notre Dame found a way to win again on Saturday in a 31-21 win over Northwestern.  The Irish opened the 4th quarter by taking a 17 point lead and looking like they were about to run away with it, before letting Northwestern back in the game and leading by just three.  A late Ian Book rushing touchdown, however, all but sealed the victory and pushed the Irish to 9-0 and one step closer to making the playoffs for the first time.

Ian Book had another 300+ yard effort with 343 on 22 of 43 passing with two touchdowns passing and a 3rd rushing.  Chase Claypool posted his firs t100 yard game of the season with 130 on 8 catches.  Tevon Coney and Daelin Hayes both posted 2.0 sacks (Hayes first two of the year) while Julian Okwara added a sack as well.

We’ll have more on this one though updates today may be delayed as UHND’s Frankie V is busy running the NYC Marathon this morning/afternoon.  We’ll have plenty to say on Notre Dame’s latest victory though.

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    1. Thanks! It was definitely humbling. My training runs went so, so much better than the race itself. But I finished it and have 2 NYC Marathons under my belt now. Next one is going to be a much flatter course. And one that does not require training during football season.

  1. 3 more games. You’d like to see a statement game in there. Syracuse is the one that matters given their ranking.
    Truly I’d like to see a two back set with Tony Jones JR and Dexter or Jafar. And I’d like to see Wimbush get some game reps.
    The defense is solid statistically but the pass rush is a little off.

    They need a good win to hold #3 in the CFP ranking.

  2. ST’s just is a mess. Other than usually making FG’s and usually having good punts (last night’s block notwithstanding) ST’s has been wildly inconsistent, sometimes OK and sometimes bad. I think back to things like that offsides call against Pitt that led to a TD drive that seemingly lasted most of the afternoon. Allowing kick-off returns for TD’s.

    ST’s aren’t always pretty. People tend to focus on offense and defense. But ST’s can make a huge different in a close game. Field positioning, getting the defense off the field, things like that.

    ST’s hasn’t really been dominant during BK’s entire tenure. We finally got a dedicated ST coach in Polian, but it’s still inconsistent. I’m reluctant to bag Polian altogether because he earns his money usually on recruiting. But I think some changes need to be made.

    Overall, I still think ND is outside looking in as far as being elite. Are they a top 10 team, definitely. But they are still well shy of being able to beat an Alabama or Clemson (or perhaps even Georgia–OK, their defense is not the best so I think that would give ND an advantage, Michigan is better than OK but ND beat them pretty handily and Book wasn’t even the starter QB). ND’s defense is good, even above average, but they are not quite as good as the 2012 defense (at least til Bama). They have some misses BUT they make the stops when the game is on the line. Offense has been up and down. They show flashes of greatness, then they seem to go out for lunch for a while before coming back to win the game.

  3. I hope Kelly was paying attention to how a blocked punt changed the course of the game. Four special teams gaffes last night.i just do not get his lack of attention to special my opinion, Polian must go. We do not even try to block punts or field goals. Very frustrating.

  4. Frank, thanks for your dedication! I’ve run the NYC marathon twice. What a great experience and you have the perfect day for it.

    Have a great race!

    Love your blog!

    1. Thanks Peter! Weather was indeed perfect. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions. Now if I could just sit down two days later without my quads being so sore.

  5. Watching college football all my life I’ve always noticed that the greatest coaches their teams always improved as the season goes along.I just hardly ever see this with Brian Kelly’s teams.Also when Lou and Ara coached at Notredame no matter who the opposing team or coach was you always felt Notredame had a 50 50 or better chance of winning.I don’t feel that way with Kelly. Is he a good coach? Yes you cannot have the coaching over the years record he has had by pure luck. He is just not great.Notre dame in their heyday could win a national championship with a good not great coach.For example Dan Devine.I think now they need a great coach to win it all. Hope I’m wrong.

  6. BGC, thanks for the short cameo. Your mindset makes it perfectly clear. Here I wanted to watch this game so bad short of going into dive sports bar. So, I just kept googling ND score and then hearing in game commentary on UHND. I would have loved to hear SFR’s commentary when the Titanic went down. The worse it looks for the Irish, I just know they are going to win. SFR is a great barometer. Enough cannot be said about Book. Here he is 9-0 just like Heisman trophy winner John Huarte and in a very similar situation having to close out regular season at the bedeviling Coliseum. The Irish had 17-0 halftime lead and everything was sailing right along then our season came to sorry end 20-17. Obviously I’m looking past Seminoles and Orange or whatever they are called now. Book can do this, He has the luck of the Irish and isn’t going down.

  7. I just have to make a cameo appearance as myself here.

    1. It’s time for Coach Kelly to take personal control of the “Special Ed” Teams, similar to LOU taking personal control of the defense before the Cheerios Bowl. In fact, it’s probably past time. Not trying to embarrass or hurt Polian, but excellence still must be the standard, as it was at QB, right?

    2. Some normally cogent guys are suggesting that “M” would beat ND if the game were played today, because “M” has improved. NEWS FLASH to all village IDIOTS: with Ian Book at QB, Notre Dame has improved MORE THAN ANY OTHER TEAM IN THE COUNTRY (except maybe Clemson)…and infinitely more than Michigan. WHAT A JOKE!

    We are banged up pretty good, but as DURANKO noted preseason, this year we have depth and we have handled injuries that would have sunk any previous KELLY team, and we will continue to do so.

    3. Assuming that BAMA does not lose a game it should win (as it usually does) the playoff teams will be:

    BAMA, CLEMSON, NOTRE DAME and probably MICHIGAN (assuming “M” wins out, which is highly likely).
    If BAMA loses to someone other than Auburn, the Big Ten probably gets shut out, a travesty that hopefully will result in the END of this asinine 4 team playoff system.

    4. Now Pete, for my “fantasy”:

    An Eight team playoff that starts with the five power five championships as play-ins. Round Two: played around the Winter Solstice…4 games, eight teams (Five are P-5 winners, one team from non- P-5 Conferences, two at-large teams).

    Round Three: As usual…two games, four teams, played around New Year’s Day.

    Championship: As usual…played a week or so later.

    It still isn’t perfect, but it would be close. This year, it would put Oklahoma in (if they win out), and the PAC 8 Champ, and UCF, if they win out, as well as the above four mentioned, and somebody else too! What’s so wrong with that!?!

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. THANKS for bringing some sanity back to this site B G C !! ALL great ideas especially KELLY taking a hands on approach with ST!! DOERR kicks off every time from the left hashmarks and it’s always a fight to keep it in bounds!! CAN someone please ( due to the hook on his kicks ) move him to the right hash mark and put an end to this weekly out of bounds kickoffs!!

    2. BGC,

      Thanks for agreeing with what I was arguing with SFR over with the Michigan nonsense. That was flat out ridiculous. My hope is SFR was just freaking out over giving up a 17 point lead to NW late and emotions were running high.

  8. My mom used to tell me I fantasized too much but here is my ultimate dream fantasy. The 4 playoff teams are Alabama Clemson Notredame and Michigan. Both ND and Michigan are huge underdogs to Clemson and Alabama. The lead up to the games is all about can Clemson hang with Alabama.But lo and behold Notredame and Michigan shock the world and beat Alabama and Clemson.Then all we here for a week is that there is no way Notredame can beat this Michigan team. Then Notredame curb stomps them again.I know the chance of all of this happening is about my odds of winning the mega millions lottery..

    1. A fantasy, that if it becomes reality, would be a script for the ages. I think the Irish need to not only win out but do so in a more convincing manner than what they did against, Ball St, Vandy, Pitt, and NW so the selection committee has no justification for jumping ND in the final four.

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