It’s a hard knock life.
I never imagined after sitting in Notre Dame Stadium for a very cold Notre Dame – Northwestern football game that I would walk out of there having witnessed a Notre Dame loss. I still have no words, no rational explanation for what happened on Saturday, so let’s get right to it. How did our defense look on Saturday?
Notre Dame now has at least one interception in each of its last 13 games. This is the second-longest active streak in the FBS behind only Ole Miss’ 15 game streak.
Niles Morgan and Sheldon Day each had 10 tackles, followed closely by Issac Rochell with nine, and Cole Luke, Drue Tranquill, and Jarron Jones with seven each .
The Notre Dame defense held Northwestern to converting only 8 of 20 third downs (0.400), and only 1 of 3 fourth downs (0.333)
Isaac Rochell had his first career solo sack in the third quarter. He had two pass breakups on Saturday and entered the game with only one pass breakup over his 20-game Irish career. His nine tackles represented a career high for Rochell.
Matthias Farley made his career-high fourth interception of the season during the second quarter. Last week at No. 11 Arizona State Farley also intercepted a pass, marking the first time in his career that he had consecutive games with an interception.
Cole Luke made his fourth interception of both the season and his career in the fourth quarter Saturday to tie Farley for the team lead.
In his first game back since his injury on Oct. 11 against North Carolina, Austin Collinsworth scored on a 32-yard fumble return for a touchdown on his first play from scrimmage. Notre Dame’s last fumble return for a touchdown was against Navy on Sept. 1, 2012, when Stephon Tuitt returned a fumble 77 yards for a score in Dublin, Ireland.
Sheldon Day recorded his first sack of the season, for a 10-yard loss, on a third and goal play on the opening drive of the second half.
The fumble recovery by Drue Tranquill in the third quarter marked his first Notre Dame turnover.
This first one kills me the most:
Going for 2 there, what was the thought process on that?
Coach Kelly: Going for 2. At that point, it was a coin toss of 1 or 2. So we decided to go for 2.
Really? Is that how we’re coaching these days?
Brian, you said at the coin toss you’re up 11. What is conventional wisdom say at that point and what persuaded you to actually do what you did?
Coach Kelly: Our chart tells us in that situation to go for 1 but we were up I think 11 at the time and we felt like given the circumstances, our kicking game situation, that we were going to try to extend it with a 2 point play.
Did you feel at all this week there was a residual effect from the Arizona State?
Coach Kelly: No, absolutely not. Arizona State had nothing to do with the way these guys played today.
Brian, just your emotions right now.
Coach Kelly: Well, I mean, you know, so many, so many things happened in that game that it’s hard to put them all in perspective as I’m standing here right now. I think the thing that stands out is we have the game pretty much in our hands and we turn the ball over. Seems to be, you know, probably the thing that sticks out the most as well as, you know, our inability to, you know, kick the football and take care of the football, you know. Those are the things that stand out. You know, we’ve had too many opportunities to score points that, you know, fumbled it on the goal line, fumble it on the 7-yard line, turn it over when you’re trying to close out the game. Those are critical errors. So that’s what I’m feeling.
I just can’t even.
The more I read the post game interview the more sick I feel.
I wish I could put my finger on what is wrong with this team, because all-in-all, the defense looks pretty good. It is very dangerous to continually rely on your defense to win games for you when your offense is making turnover after turnover. The talent seems to be there, but coaching miscues, sophomoric mistakes, and just a general feeling that this team not only has no clear leader but just isn’t gelling is holding them back from their true potential. I wish I had a magic fix for this, and I wish I felt confident that Kelly can right this ship moving forward, but I just have a very uneasy feeling about the rest of the season.
So, what say you?
Cheers & GO IRISH!