7:58 Time for a quick temperature check from the ND faithful. First blast text goes out, game predictions come back:
The Guru: 31-17 Irish...CLoss: 24-17 Irish…Mr. Balls: 24-13 Irish…Panzer: “PAIN”…Reno: 33-24 Sparty (“reverse jinx” text follows seconds later)…John Ifky: 28-17 Irish…Dip: 34-31 Irish (after a 2 text long expression of anguish and concern)…Faust: 26-23 Irish…My girlfriend: “Oh I don’t know, I just want to win.”
8:02 First image from the booth is the Nessler-Blackledge combo. I’ve still yet to see Tom Hammond (for those new to the blog, he’s also known as the HD gremlin) this season. This is my last week without him so I suppose I should enjoy it and then start mentally preparing myself.
8:08 Every time that John Saunders speaks my skin crawls. I think most times we as fans blow out of proportion that announcers have biases against our teams, but there is just no denying that John Saunders does not like the Irish.
8:11 Oh great, Sparty is led out by a great story about someone coming back from a serious neck injury. Great for that kid, I’m genuinely happy for him as any human being with a would be, but last time they did that against ND was ’98 and MSU promptly jumped out to a 42-3 halftime lead.
8:13 ND wins the toss, takes the ball, and Cierre Wood takes the opening kickoff to the 24. Alright, HERE WE GO IRISH!
8:13 First play is a short catch across the middle to Theo Riddick. Not much of a gain but I’m glad to see him make a tough catch out of the gate. Crist lasers a pass on the run to TJ Jones on 2nd down to setup 3rd and short.
8:14 Armando picks up the first down easily. Solid push there by the offensive line.
8:15 Another first down for the Irish on a quick out to Theo Riddick. I like the rhythm early.
8:16 BK dials up a quarterback draw which goes for a short gain. After seeing with my own eyes what truly is behind Dayne on the QB depth chart last weekend my heart will stop beating every time he takes off.
8:17 Chris Stewart turns 3rd and 6-ish into 3rd and 22 following a stupid penalty after the play. Come on Chris, we can’t afford that kind of self-inflicted wound.
8:18 Ben Turk gets off a decent punt and Sparty will take over at the 16. Disappointing that we sabotaged a good drive like that. We can’t do that again this year.
8:19 A late prediction comes in from Kearney! “Kearney 1, Soberiety: 0.” Personally I’m glad he’s picking up the slack for all of us.
8:21 Edwin Baker is stuffed on Michigan State’s first play. The Irish are going to handle him better than people think, just watch. Denard was a different beast, we’ll be effective against a more conventional rushing attack.
8:22 Blackledge literally says exactly what I just typed. I like you Betty.
8:23 Great play on the ball by Gary Gray on a pass down the field on 3rd and 3 and it’s three and out for Sparty. A mediocre punt gives the Irish the ball at the 39.
8:25 GREAT RUN BY ARMANDO after a shovel pass from Crist on third down. That was set up beautifully and goes for 18. We’re into Spartan territory.
8:26 Blackledge makes a great point about how the no-huddle offense makes it difficult for the defense to sub guys in and out. Their defense is on their heels.
8:27 Floyd drops another pass on 3rd down. COME ON MICHAEL, GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME. Blackledge criticizes the effort, which he should.
8:27 Notre Dame is going to go for it…but a delay of game backs them up and we’re forced to punt. The short field should be fine for Ben Turk because he only kicks it 38 yards in the air anyway.
8:28 Well of course Ben gets off a terrible 20-yard punt that barely lands inside the 20. How in God’s name do we still not have a serviceable punter?!?!?!?!?
8:31 Zeke Motta gets burned in space on a quick pass to the right side of the field on the first play of the drive. The receiver scampers for 19 yards.
8:32 Great coverage again by Gary Gray on 3rd down and the Irish force another punt. Defense looks great early on. Michigan State booms a punt into the endzone. 62 yard punt. In other words, 1 yard farther than both of Ben Turk’s combined.
8:36 On first down Crist whips a laser to Floyd on a slant. He makes a great catch, goes to the ground and the ball pops loose. They correctly rule him down.
8:39 Riddick drops a pass in the flat. Not a good ball by Crist but it should’ve been caught.
8:39 Riddick gets a bubble screen on the opposite side, does a quick spin, and then jukes for 17 yards. That’s why we need to get him the ball in space, that’s the first time we’ve had a taste of it all year.
8:41 Bullet to Rudolph for 17 yards and a first down. Great throw by Dayne.
8:41 Timeout..The pan to Joe Montana in the crowd. All of Notre Dame Nation prays it’s the only time he’ll be on camera—the next time would be if Nate goes in the game. Nice Sketchers, Joe.
8:42 Dayne overthrows Rudolph down the field. He’s shown a tendency to get rid of the ball a little too quick; I can remember at least 4 or 5 times where the receiver hasn’t turned around yet and the ball has already passed him. Is that a product of being a little worried about getting hit or just the timing not being right yet? I’d love for someone to ask him.
8:43 Great throw to Rudolph dragging across the middle for a first down inside the 20. Tack on some more for a late hit and the Irish are inside the 10.
8:44 TOUCHDOWN IRISH, FADE TO MICHAEL FLOYD! WAY TO BOUNCE BACK MICHAEL!!!!!!!!! Nine plays, 80 yards in 2:24. Great drive by the Irish there, loving what I’m seeing. Dayne looks to be getting in rhythm.
8:46 David Ruffer bombs the kickoff into the endzone for a touchback! At least we have one maligned part of special teams fixed! I feel like touchback is almost as worthy of all caps as touchdown.
8:48 Cousins delivers a strike on third and short and the Spartans pick up a big first down. Their offense has been non-existent; we need to step on them. The quicker we get them off the field the higher percentage of plays we can keep our starting defensive line in the game. If you read the stats from the pregame post you understand why.
8:49 Big run by MSU to the right but it’s coming back thanks to a hold.
8:52 GREAT TACKLE in the open field by Gary Gray to stop what could have been a big play. He’s already having a great game with two great breakups.
8:53 Cousins picks up another 3rd down with a quick out to the sideline. MSU is now inside the Irish 40. The Spartans are moving the ball well; this is the defense’s first big test of the night. The quarter comes to a close which is great because it’ll give the d-line a blow.
8:57 Another great play by Gary Gray to keep a potentially big gain to a three yarder. He’s a fantastic tackler.
8:58 Mark Dell jukes Blanton on a drag across the middle and picks up a first down on 3rd and 4. Blanton gets burned again on the next play for 17 yards inside the 10 yard line. 1st and goal for Sparty. COME ON IRISH, STIFFEN UP HERE.
9:00 The Irish stone Caper on 1st down and then Te’o and Blanton team for great coverage on second down. There’s a holding call against MSU but Kelly declines it. That’s a tough choice…would you rather have them with 2nd and goal from the 18 or 3rd and goal from the 8. Is this the end of the half against Michigan all over again?
9:01 Dip chimes in: “Questionable decline.”
9:02 INTERCEPTION ZEKE MOTTA OFF A TIP BY BLANTON! TERRIBLE PASS BY COUSINS! HUGE MISTAKE BY SPARTY, BIG PLAY BY THE IRISH!!! 16 play drive goes up in smoke. Beautiful.
9:03 Dip: “NEVERMIND!”
9:04 First play is a bomb to Floyd down the right side. It’s incomplete but I’m glad to see we’re targeting him more. Give him a chance, he’s going to win more battles than he’ll lose.
9:05 Great run by Armando for 11 yards on second down. He’s running so hard and effectively this year. Is this the Armando we would’ve gotten his freshman year had he not gotten hurt?
9:07 The Irish take another delay of game penalty on 3rd down, pushing it back to 3rd and 14. Come on Dayne, no excuse for these sort of mistakes. Let’s hit up Floyd here.
9:08 Crist delivers a strike to Riddick for 15 yards and a first down. Great job by Theo to go down and get a low ball.
9:09 We try another quick screen to Riddick which goes through his hands. Blackledge talks about guiding the ball. He needs to learn that pass. Third and 3 at midfield.
9:09 Another great throw by Crist on 3rd down, this time to Floyd for 16 yards.
9:11 Jonas Gray is in the game, catches a little throw in the flat, and picks up 8 yards. Apparently Armando is hurt and Holly Rowe says he’s grabbing his hand, jumping up and down, and going “OW, OW, OW” on the sideline. If we only had Dr. Alex Flanagan on the sideline to diagnose what’s really the problem…
9:12 Confusion leads to the Irish burning their second timeout.
9:14 Jonas Gray goes for five yards on 3rd and short for a first down. I think he’s going to make an impact this year. He won’t be a star, but I can see him being a Robert Farmer type in terms of production if given the chance.
9:15 Armando is back in the game which is good, but he better not be trying to be a hero. If his hand is broken or something
9:15 Floyd makes a catch on the sideline and looks like he fumbles…but it’s ruled incomplete. The replay shows it’s a fumble. Please hurry up and snap the ball…
9:16 The play is under review. This one is going to be overturned. COME ON MICHAEL, FOCUS.
9:18 Officially overturned, Michigan State ball. Terrible. Our biggest redzone threat has sabotaged us the most in the three games. I feel like I’m in bizarre world.
9:19 Michigan State is stoned on first down. COME ON IRISH, THREE AND OUT HERE.
9:19 MANTI TE’O BUSTS THROUGH THE LINE AND STUFFS OUT A RUN IN THE BACKFIELD FOR A BIG LOSS. 3rd and 18 for Sparty, COME ON IRISH, BIG PLAY HERE!
9:20 Harrison Smith makes a great play to break-up a pass down the right sideline.
9:21 Terrible punt, Notre Dame gets it at the 32. Tack on a five yard penalty and we start the drive inside the 30. It’s like the fumble never happened. Let’s punch this sucker in and start to put some space between us.
9:22 Dayne throws an Interception on the first play. Bad decision. That’s a stupid, first time starter mistake. I know they’re bound to happen—I even said he’d make a couple bad mistakes in the preview—but it doesn’t make it any less maddening when it becomes reality. Kelly mouths “What were you thinking?!?” as Dayne approaches him on the sideline.
9:23 Big run by Baker to the right side, made even bigger by a horse collar penalty by Motta. Brian Smith got swallowed up on his side which gave Baker the lane.
9:24 Another big play from the Spartans, 27 yards down the left sideline and for the first time our defense looks like it’s on its heels.
9:27 Gaping hole down the throat of the defense for a big gain by Bell out of the TV timeout. Cwynar got flattened there and McDonald failed to plug the hole. The drop off from first to second string is huge in our front seven. Another big run and it’s another first down inside the 10. Our defense is reeling right now, they need to step up like the last redzone trip.
9:29 Two good stuffs sets up a 3rd and goal from the 6 with 2:26 left in the half. Michigan State calls a timeout to set up a play. This is huge here, come on Irish.
9:31 Touchdown Michigan State, wide open receiver in the back-middle of the endzone. Great 94-yard drive from the Spartans. We had two great opportunities to widen our lead and failed. This is nauseatingly reminiscent of last season.
9:32 They blare “Sweet Escape” by Gwen Stefani after touchdowns. They wonder why no traditional college football power takes them seriously. I guess the alternative is the “Go Green…Go White” cheer so it’s really pick your poison.
9:35 After two incompletions on shaky throws Dayne calls Notre Dame’s final timeout which sets up a big third down.
9:36 Pressure gets to Crist and he has to let go of it way before Rudolph turns around to look for the ball. Three and out and Spartan Stadium is rocking. Another punt <40>
9:37 First down is a huge gain. No one was even with 10 yards of the receiver on a quick pass to the flat. 15 yards and a first down.
9:38 Big hit by Te’o on 2nd down brings up a 3rd and short.
9:39 Anthony McDonald goes airborne and STONES Cousins on a QB sneak. This is going to be short!
9:39 They measure and it’s four inches short! What a great hit. Sparty’s going for it, 1:03 left. Timeout Michigan State—they’re going to challenge the spot. They’re going to be disappointed. They’re showing it over and over again and each time it’s the same beautiful hit short of the sticks. If they go for it
9:42 Challenge upheld. Do they go for it? If they do then ND has a chance to get some points on the board here. This is pretty huge. COME ON DEFENSE.
9:43 First down on a run over the right side for 12 yards down to the 34. Zeke had his ankles broken.
9:44 Two straight false start penalties and it’s back to 1st and 20. That was fun! A drop in the flat and it’s 2nd and 20 with 22 seconds.
9:45 Great coverage by Darrin Walls on a pass to the left sideline leads to an incompletion. Third and 20 coming up.
9:45 Incomplete pass down the right sideline which brings up 4th and a mile. Notre Dame dodged a pretty sizeable bullet there.
9:46 Sparty punts, Irish take a knee, and we’re headed to the half tied at 7.
Sloppy half from both sides. Notre Dame had an opportunity to really step on them twice and turned it over both times. Kelly needs to get in the locker room and refocus Dayne. He got in rhythm toward the middle of the half but after the interception the Spartans’ confidence went up as his went down. We also need to get a priest to exorcise whatever demon has taken over Michael Floyd’s body.
A quick look at the statsheet shows that again we’re getting smoked in time of possession (17:17 to 12:43), though we’ve run the same number of plays on offense (41). We’re not as balanced on offense as we have been, throwing the ball 28 times while calling only 13 runs. We’ve done a good job shutting down Baker, but Bell has 77 yards on just 11 carries.
Let’s see how much of an impact Kelly has had on the psyche of the team at this early point in the season. Can they shake the demons and put them away?
10:10 First play from scrimmage is a rope for 18 yards and a first down. Great throw by Cousins.
10:11 Touchdown Michigan State on a huge run by Edwin Baker right down the heart of the Notre Dame defense. 56 yards up the middle. Harrison Smith had a chance in the hole and didn’t even make an attempt. Michigan State 14, Notre Dame 7. Talk about a bad start.
10:13 Dayne does a great job dodging the rush but then bounces a ball to a wide open Armando Allen on first down.
10:14 Rudolph gets his first target in what seems like an eternity and rumbles for a first down. We need to start going to him more to get Dayne comfortable, he can pick them apart all day.
10:15 Quick throw in the flat to Riddick is right on the money and he takes off for a 24 yard gain. The Irish are marching over midfield.
10:16 GREAT ONE-HANDED CATCH BY THEO RIDDICK OVER THE MIDDLE TO THE 10! I’ve been questioning whether he has good hands all season. That snare may officially answer that question. I like that Kelly is getting Theo much more involved.
10:16 TOUCHDOWN IRISH!!!! GREAT AUDIBLE BY CRIST AND HE FINDS RUDOLPH OPEN IN THE RIGHT CORNER OF THE ENDZONE. TALK ABOUT A GREAT RESPONSE TO THE MICHIGAN STATE DRIVE! Irish 14, Sparty 14. Let’s go Irish, step up on defense.
10:21 It’s time for Todd’s taste of the town, my roommate CLoss’s least favorite 45 seconds of the week! His text is on the way without a doubt.
10:22 Without fail, CLoss: “And taste of the town still exists.”
10:22 My Dad points out that GO IRISH is etched in sidewalk chalk right outside the door. Great touch by whatever ND fan thought of that.
10:22 Great throw by Cousins on third down to Cunningham for a first down. They’ve got to be like 7 of 10 on third downs, it’s just so deflating.
10:25 The Spartans are marching. A pair of first downs has them down inside the 30. Sparty is winning the battle at the line of scrimmage right now. It’s been a quiet day for the entire ND defensive line.
10:27 False start on 3rd down makes it 3rd and 11 at the 28. They were actually lucky because Cousins sailed that ball out of bounds and it was a lateral.
10:28 Te’o misses a tackle on Bell that would’ve stopped the play for no gain and Bell rumbles for the first down. Floyd and Te’o are our two best players and both of them have made an entire slew of mental errors through 2+ games. No excuses, that was a simple play that Te’o just blew.
10:29 Touchdown Spartans. Another run right down the throat, 16 yards to the endzone. This looks a lot like last year’s inept defensive unit—giving up big chunks of yardage and terrible tackling. Michigan State 21, Notre Dame 14.
10:33 Notre Dame takes over at the 23…scratch that, the 18, after a false start penalty. Stupid.
10:34 First down to Theo Riddick over the middle. The kid is having himself a ballgame.
10:35 Another first down to Riddick on second down. He did a phenomenal job juking the defensive back and getting an extra eight yards.
10:36 Quick slant to Floyd for another first down. Crist is in rhythm. A dart on second down to Rudolph garners another first down. Notre Dame is down to the 30. Nine completions in a row for Dayne.
10:38 Michigan State All-American Greg Jones breaks through for the first sack of the day setting up 3rd and 16.
10:39 Defensive holding, automatic first down. Crist was looking at Floyd down the left sideline and the cornerback just got a little too much jersey. Floyd doesn’t even need to catch it to make an impact…frankly anything he does other than fumble and break his collarbone turns out good 99% of the time. Drive keeps on rolling.
10:42 LASER TO THEO RIDDICK ON A SLANT FOR AN IRISH TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!! WHAT A GREAT THROW, DAYNE JUST THREADED THE NEEDLE. IRISH 21, SPARTANS 21. COME ON BABY, LET’S GET A STOP ON DEFENSE.
10:46 Great coverage on the kickoff stuffs the Spartans at the 10. KLM STUFFS Baker on first down. COME ON IRISH, STEP UP AND GET YOUR DEFENSE OFF THE FIELD.
10:47 Eight yard run up the middle brings up yet another third and short. We need this stop in the worst way.
10:48 STUFFED ON THIRD DOWN, THREE AND OUT FOR THE SPARTANS. That is absolutely huge. The third quarter comes to a close and the momentum has officially swung back to the Irish. Now is the time to show we’ve grown up from last year. Seize the opportunity and STEP ON THEIR THROATS.
10:51 Booming punt, but Goodman returns it 10 yards and tack on another ten for a Michigan State hold. Irish ball on the 48.
10:53 Armando rips off an 8 yard rush and we’re into Spartan territory. Short run by #5 on second down picks up the first down.
10:54 Shovel pass to Armando picks up 17. Great vision by Armando to bounce it outside. The game seems to have slowed down for him this year because last year he would’ve run right up his blocker’s back.
10:55 TOUCHDOWNNNNNNN IRRRRRRRIIIIIISSSSSSHHHHHHHH!!!!!! MICHAEL FLOYD, WELCOME BACK TO THE PARTY! GREAT THROW, GREAT CATCH IN THE BACK OF THE ENDZONE. We’re watching the maturation of Dayne Crist before our very eyes. Great touch on that ball—he’d been sailing those throws out of the endzone the first couple weeks. He’s rollllllling this half. COME ON DEFENSE, LET’S BURY THEM, GET YOURSELF A TURNOVER HERE. NOTRE DAME 28, MICHIGAN STATE 21.
11:00 Big throw on first down on a flag route for 21 yards on first down. Dammit to hell.
11:02 HUGE SACK ON THIRD DOWN BY CARLO CALABRESE FORCES A PUNT!!!! GREAT STAND BY THE IRISH! HERE WE GO BABY!
11:03 Ethan Johnson is hurt. As the play was ending Fleming sailed helmet-first into his shin. We cannot afford to lose him for an extended period of time.
11:06 Good return by Goodman. Punt landed around the 6 yard line, he got it out to the 19. Here’s the chance to step on them—it’s time to put the pedal to the metal.
11:07 Crist goes deep to Floyd…incomplete, great coverage. Big third down coming up here.
11:08 Incomplete on a dangerous pass to TJ Jones. Holding was called on ND but Sparty declines and it’s time for a punt. Another wasted opportunity. This is a perfect example of how we always leave the door open, we still haven’t learned how to close. 37 yard punt by Turk and Sparty has it at their own 44.
11:09 Great read by Kerry Neal sniffs out a pass to the tight end
11:10 Pass interference in the endzone on a bomb by Motta. If Zeke turns around it’s an interception. First down Spartans at the 36. That’s followed by a 14 yard chunk down the left side. Zeke takes a terrible angle on the tackle. It’s becoming clearer and clearer how Slaughter beat him out. He’s a borderline disaster.
11:12 Touchdown Spartans. Cousins scrambles around for about 7 seconds and his a streaking Cunningham down the sideline. The replay shows that Cunningham ran out of bounds and then back in to catch the ball, which means the touchdown was an ILLEGAL TOUCH. Walls let him go when he stepped out of bounds which meant he was ineligible. Huge missed call.
11:16 Blackledge is analyzing how Cunninggam was forced out of bounds. HE WASN’T FORCED OUT OF BOUNDS, YOU ANALYZING THAT IS LIKE ANALYZING HOW PURPLE THE GRASS IS. ARE YOU EVEN LOOKING AT WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?!? YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR ELEMENT TODD. Blood pressure is starting to rise to low 2009-levels.
11:18 Notre Dame is stopped on 3rd and short. They’re going for it. Gigantic play here.
11:19 Crist scrambles and fumbles. MSU takes over at the Notre Dame 46 with six minutes left. $&#^%@)!!*#!
11:20 HUGE STOP BY TE’O ON FIRST DOWN FOR A SIX YARD LOSS. COME ON IRISH, GET A STOP HERE.
11:21 Dump pass goes for a one yard gain, bringing up a 3rd and 14. There was a hold on KLM that didn’t get called there.
11:22 Te’o drags down Bell on a screen to force a 3rd and 8. HUGE three and out there by the defense. Spartan punt drops down at the 9, Irish ball with 4:25 to go. Our destiny is in our hands. Last week against Michigan we responded with a 95 yard touchdown. LET’S DO IT AGAIN DAYNE-O.
11:25 Incomplete on first down. Dayne looks shaky again. Not good.
11:25 14 yard run misdirection run to the left by Armando. Great playcall, great blocking. First and 10. Come on baby…
11:26 Armando takes a swing pass for 12 yards and another first down. He fumbles but he was ruled down. I’m still nervous about him hanging on to the ball.
11:27 Quick slant to Theo Ridick brings up 3rd and 6. Huge play here, COME ON DAYNE.
11:28 Completion to TJ Jones comes up a yard short. Irish are forced to punt. DAMMIT. Ben Turk, if you shank this I’m going to shotput my laptop…39 yard punt with no return. My laptop is safe. MSU ball at the 14.
11:30 Two plays and a first down out to the 31, 1:30 and rolling.
11:30 SACK BY ABOUT FOUR NOTRE DAME DEFENDERS. GREAT PRESSURE RIGHT UP THE MIDDLE COLLAPSED THE POCKET. Eight yard loss forces the Spartans to burn a timeout. 2nd and 18 with 1:10 left.
11:31 McDonald whiffs on a tackle and a dump pass goes for nine yards…but BRING IT BACK, that’s a hold on the left tackle. 2nd and 28 and suddenly the plot has thickened. I’ve seen enough terrible, long passes go against Notre Dame in ND-MSU games (see: ’00, ’01, ’02) to feel good though. Notre Dame calls a timeout for some reason…WHY?!?!
11:34 STONED ON SECOND DOWN. Notre Dame calls their second timeout. 3rd and 27, 53 seconds left. To quote Dip’s text, NO DUMB PENALTIES.
11:35 Incomplete pass, plus a penalty for throwing it past the line of scrimmage. 44 seconds left, Sparty punts from the 11. COME ON IRISH.
11:37 GREAT FIELD POSITION IS ERASED BY A TERRIBLE BLOCK IN THE BACK CALL. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, WHAT A LOAD OF BULLSHIT. LO WOOD BARELY BREATHED ON THE GUY AND THE FLAG CAME IN 5 SECONDS AFTER THE ALLEGED BLOCK HAPPENED. TERRIBLE. ND Ball at the 27, 33 seconds left.
11:39 After Dayne almost gets picked off on first down BK decides to send it to overtime. Sweet baby 8lb 4oz Jesus, we’re up to 2009-levels of stress.
11:43 Sparty wins the toss and chooses to defend. Todd mentions the 2005 OT loss that I got to witness in person. Thanks, Todd.
11:44 Incompletion on first down is followed by a good run by Armando on second down gets seven and its 3rd and 3.
11:45 Rudolph is stuffed short of the 1st down. They sold out to stop Rudolph, Floyd was wide open. Ruffer trots out to kick a field goal. Come on David…
11:46 Field goal is good. I’m going to go get a baby aspirin.
11:47 Brian Smith STUFFS a misdirection pitch and it’s 2nd and 11. Great job by #58…COME ON IRISH, STEP UP!!!!
11:48 Cousins scrambles for a good gain inside the 20, bringing up 3rd and 5. I’ve seen this movie before, I don’t like the ending…PLEASE STOP THEM, PLEASE.
11:48 DARIUS FLEEEEMMMMMMMMMIIIIIINGGGGGGGGG BABYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SACK BACK AT THE 29!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 46 YARD FIELD GOAL TO TIE IT COMING UP…
11:49 Touchdown Michigan State on a fake field goal. Spartans win 34-31. I’m speechless.
11:52 I still can’t process what just happened.
11:53 Ignoring all phone calls.
11:55 Still nothing.
11:59 Most depressing text ever comes from friend of the family Mike Nolan: “There is no magic in the gold helmets.”
12:03 Mike takes the gold AND silver for depressing texts after sharing this fact: “Two losses when leading in the fourth quarter…Ara was 90-2 when leading in the 4th quarter.”
12:06 Went and got a bottle of NyQuil and a bottle of Woodford Reserve. Placed them both on the table in front of me. Flipping a coin to see which one I start chugging.
12:16 WHY DO WE HAVE THIS BLACK CLOUD HANGING OVER OUR FOOTBALL PROGRAM!?!?
12:26 Alright, piecing together five final thoughts:
- I think it’s time Brian Kelly re-evaluated how he calls games on offense. There needs to be more balance on offense, specifically because we can’t keep leaving our defense on the field for 9-10 minutes more than the opposition (ND lost the TOP battle 34:24 to 25:36). We don’t have the quality depth on the defensive line to make up for that.
- We still don’t have a killer instinct. We could’ve put them in a deep hole in the first half and let them crawl back thanks to two stupid turnovers. Twice we had a chance to march down the field and win the game in the fourth quarter and failed to get over midfield. This is what happens when you let teams hang around—they execute walk-off fake field goals to beat you.
- Dayne Crist is already evolving into a very, VERY good quarterback. When he gets in rhythm it’s a thing of beauty. We’ve got 2.5 years left with him. He’s going to be a great one by the time he leaves—if he can stay healthy, a bigger “if” than I care to admit.
- Welcome to the big boy table Theo Riddick. Tonight was a breakout game for the newly minted slot receiver, 10 catches for 128 yards and a TD. He adds a new, dangerous dimension to an already potent offense.
- What a crushing, devastating loss. I really have no idea how the team can get off the mat after a kick in the balls like this. We had some bad calls go against us (the no call on the illegal touch, the block in the back, and the fact that the play clock ran out on that fake field goal), but we have no one to blame but ourselves for not slamming the door shut when we had the opportunity. Devastating. Shock is turning to nausea.
12:57 I wrap up this devastating night with a quote from my roommate Chuck, a Clemson grad but a lifelong Notre Dame fan: “I need a Men in Black moment that’ll just erase the last 12 hours.”
Couldn’t have said it any better. Someone wake me up from this 17 year nightmare…