Monday, January 3, 2011

Dear Diary...Notre Dame - Miami

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the final running diary of 2010! This one comes to you live from La Casa Del Blomstrom, the same location where we witnessed the Lane Kiffin Face in full effect as Notre Dame knocked off Southern Cal a little over a month ago. Adding to the fun will be the “No Country For Bold Men” game that is described in this link here.

As we covered in the pregame, I’m a bit worried about Miami’s talent and speed on defense and how Tommy Rees will handle it. That being said I’m pretty confident in Jacory Harris’s ability to keep us in the game with boneheaded decisions. If Tommy’s able to limit his mistakes and play more like the first two games of this three game streak then we should be in good position to win this game.

Let’s get to it!

2:08 Our first image of the El Paso area is one covered in snow. Snow?? I was under the impression that the one redeeming thing about going to a bowl in the El Paso area was the warm weather. I’m sure a lot of fans were thrilled when they checked the forecast after booking their flights. On the field this will have a much larger effect on Miami than the Irish.

2:10 Nice montage covering the old 80’s rivalry. Our friend Andrew asks, “why do they embrace the convicts moniker?”

My hypothesis is that much like Philadelphia sports fans love to embrace the “we’re tough, nasty fans to the opposition,” they embrace it only on their terms…but when someone else criticizes them for it they get very defensive (just listen to the responses on Philly Sports Talk Radio when a national talking head blasts Philly fans). Did you see the 30 for 30 on Miami? They loved calling themselves the bad boys, but as soon as they started talking about ND comments like “there were just as many convicts on their team” and “they started the fight in the tunnel, not us” flew around. The big, bad boys always have a sensitive underbelly.

2:12 The Canes come out arm in arm. They are not hard, tough “U” of old. Somewhere (probably in line at a soup kitchen), Randall “Thrill” Hill is watching and shaking his head in disgust.

2:15 Danielson spends the next couple minutes gushing about Tommy Rees and Jacory Harris. His big point on Tommy is that “stats don’t matter, he just wins.” I’d disagree—turnovers matter and if we want to win he’s got to make sure his throws end up in the right team’s hands. I don’t care if he throws for 300+ yards, we just need him to manage the game and not hand it over like he almost did against Southern Cal. Danielson ends his analysis of Harris by saying he’s prone to make some decisions that make you say, “come on Jacory, you’re better than that.” Let’s hope for lots of those throws!

2:17 It’s 36 degrees at kickoff, which is almost 20 degrees colder than the temperature in South Bend right now. Gross. The Irish will receive the opening kickoff.

2:18 GREAT RETURN by Austin Collinsworth gives ND some great field position out of the gate.

2:19 Tracy Wolfson delayed interview with Kelly…My former roommate Brad cracks his first terrible “where’s the rest of his hat?” visor joke of the day. It’s a joke older than Joe Paterno that lacks intentional or unintentional comedy.

2:20 False start on Dever. That’s a sign of how antsy he is about Miami’s speed on the edge.

2:21 Great third down pickup by Rees, hits Eifert for a great gain but it’s coming back thanks to a crappy and borderline inexplicable penalty for illegal player down field. ND has to burn a timeout prior to what’s now 3rd and 15. So far we’ve had three penalties called and a timeout—sharp is not a word that would describe either team at the moment.

2:25 CBS flashes a graphic for “Great moments at the Sun Bowl”…but it’s not old game highlights, it’s just a bunch of crazy people from both fan bases excited about being on TV. There seem to be an inordinate amount of people who dress like Sam Elliot. That was just a bizarre, from out of nowhere 20 seconds.

2:26 Michael Floyd catches a quick slant, breaks a tackle and rumbles for a big gain! First down Irish, a great block by Theo Riddick sprung him for an extra 10 yards.

2:27 Another target to Floyd draws a pass interference and ND is inside the 10. The offense is picking up some steam here.

2:29 TOUCHDOOOOOOOOWN IRISH!!!!!!!!!! MICHAEL FLOYD WITH A QUICK OUT AND THE IRISH STAKE AN EARLY LEAD FOUR MINUTES INTO THE GAME. Floyd is clearly here to dominate in what could be his last game in the blue and gold. Miami better make some significant and immediate adjustments.

2:33 The kick return goes nowhere and the returner gets shoved into a boom microphone which makes a loud noise. A Miami player (#84) is doing a lot of barking. Could we have a new brawl brewing? The entire room is on edge and rooting for some sparks to fly.

2:33 Good stick by Darrin Walls on the first play.

2:34 CBS rolls back some highlights of when Jacory Harris’s brain got packed in on a hit against Virginia. I watched that live and wondered whether he’d ever get up.

2:35 The Irish force a three and out. Great start on both sides of the ball.

2:39 Theo uncorks a great little 7-yard run out of the Wildcat. Another 7-yarder picks up a first down. He needs to get the ball in this capacity at least 5 times a game.

2:41 Robert Hughes busts a 15-yard run down the right side. Beautiful.


2:47 Bennett Jackson snuffs the return at the 14-yard line. Well one team showed up to play today—the Irish are FIRED UP.


2:53 Unfortunately the drive stalls and Ben Turk predictably unloads a crappy 29-yard punt. Miami will take over at their own 15-yard line.

2:56 Miami picks up a first down with back-to-back runs. It looks like they’re going to be able to run effectively off-tackle if they actually commit to doing it, which worries me a bit. Hopefully they try to unleash Air Jacory in an effort to catch up which will play right into our hand.

3:03 Miami is starting to find some rhythm on offense. Come on boys, stiffen up.

3:04 INTERCEPTION HARRISON SMITH!!!! JACORY FLOATS ONE AND HAYSEED COMES OVER THE TOP AND SNIPES IT. Tack on a 15-yard facemask and the Irish will take over at the Miami 39-yard line. STOMP THEM IRISH.

3:07 CBS puts up a nice little Jacory stat: three completions, two INT’s for Jacory. That’ll do Donkey, that’ll do.


3:14 ANOTHER INTERCEPTION HARRISON SMITH! This is so wonderful that my CAPS lock is getting fatigued, what a thing of beauty. Jacory Harris is playing even worse than we could have hoped. The Irish take over just short of midfield. Now let’s jam it down their throat and punch it over the goal line again. Don’t let up.

3:18 Three and out for Notre Dame. Miami muffs the punt but recovers because ND long snapper Jordan Cowart has a colossal brain fart. He was right there to make the play and the ball popped right into his hands, but for some reason he flinched backwards like he wasn’t supposed to touch it. It’s so much easier to let things like that slide when you’re up 21-0 though.

3:21 Jacory Harris has been yanked and Stephen Morris is in. He’s wearing a horrendous turtleneck that makes his neck look Dino Flintstone-esque long.

3:24 Miami is driving into Irish territory again.


3:30 Rees hits a wide-open Michael Floyd across the middle for a huge gain. Tack on another 15-yards for a late hit.

3:32 Robert Hughes bruises for another first down. Damnit, why did it take 3.5 years for his lightbulb to go on?

3:33 Rees delivers a great ball to Floyd deep for what should’ve been a touchdown, but Floyd only goes for it with one hand and he drops it. Come on Michael, no hot-dogging necessary right now.

3:35 Drive stalls, Ruffer comes out to rip yet another field goal through the uprights. Somehow he continues to overcome the statistic that flashes about him never missing a field goal every time he comes on to the field. Notre Dame 24, The U 0.

3:42 Miami’s drive stalls quickly and the punter shanks it, which means Notre Dame will have 1:49 to try to extend their lead before the half.

3:43 A Brian Kelly at Cincinnati reference means that in our No Country for Bold Men game, Paul has become the Chili Boy. He’s sporting a lovely sombrero and will no be in charge of getting us food/beverages until the next ‘Nati reference.

3:44 Hughes takes a draw up the middle for 9.9 yards on second down.

3:46 Another great draw play—this time Cierre Wood—nets 17 yards and Notre Dame is on the verge of field goal range with just under a minute left.

3:49 Drive stalls and Ruffer DRILLS a 50-yard field goal that would’ve been good from 65. Notre Dame is laying the smackdown on The U right now.

(Let me channel my inner James Lipton)


The bad news is that Tommy Rees is hurt and limping to the locker room. I’m not ready for Nate Montana to take the field again for ND, not one bit.

3:53 VERNE LAUGHS AND I HAVE SEIZED THE BOLD GRAND DAD TITLE (Refer back to the rules for how crucial this is)! Paul unbelievably finishes his entire bowl of beer with a spoon in less than a minute. Disappointing, but impressive nonetheless. I will embed the video once I get it off of my girlfriend's camera.

3:56 Miami sneaks into field goal range just before the half and gets on the board. Bummer. Notre Dame 27, Miami 3 at the midway point.

Could you have imagined a better start for the Irish? Notre Dame has completely dominated both sides of the ball, forced Miami to yank their quarterback, avoided mistakes, and beatdown the Canes with a well-balanced attack (113 Passing Yards, 116 Rushing Yards). I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit worried about the Nate Montana Experience that we appear destined to go through…but we’ve given him a huge cushion to play with.

What I’m looking for in the second half is a lot of the same on defense and a serious dose of bruising ground game. Miami is going to be in full-throttle attack mode on Nate and dare him to throw in the face of pressure. It’s going to get a bit bumpy if that’s the case; hopefully it doesn’t get to the point where we’re holding on for dear life.

Let’s make everyone feel better with a flashback…

That was great, I'm reenergized. On to the second half!

4:24 Well apparently Tommy Rees is going to play which is phenomenal news.

4:26 Ruffer crushes one through the endzone on the second half kickoff for a touchback. Wow. I’m used to our kickoffs landing around the 10 so when Ruffer beats it out of the endzone it’s borderline startling.

4:29 Miami goes three and out but the absolutely terrible news is that Manti Te’o is down and it looks bad. SHIT. My stomach just did a cartwheel. Please for the love of God be ok.

4:33 Huge run by Robert Hughes. He has the ball knocked out from behind but it ends up out of bounds, which means it’ll be spotted back where the fumble occurred. It’ll still go in the books as a 25 yard run and ND is over midfield at the Miami 40.

4:35 Another good 7-yard strong run by Cierre, very good blocking by the offensive line. This is a good sign for the second half. If we dominate the line like this then this will get ugly quick for Miami.

4:36 Gary Danielson goes on a rant about how Taylor Dever was highly touted and chose between Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Michigan…but in reality he’s given a description of the recruitment of Trevor Robinson. Get your head in the game Gary.

4:42 Michael Floyd catches a 10-yard pass for another first down. He’s now over 100 yards and ND is down to the Miami 16.

4:43 Theo fumbles out of the Wildcat but the Irish recover. Come on, can’t be that careless with the ball. Let’s get some points here.

4:44 Rees somehow gets the ball past a defender and into the arms of Tyler Eifert for a first down to the 3-yard line. Punch another one in Irish.

4:46 Hughes gets stoned three straight times and Notre Dame is going to have to settle for a field goal. Ruffer converts the chip shot and Notre Dame extends their lead. Man, this is ’08 Hawaii Bowl relaxing. Notre Dame 30, Miami 3.

4:53 Manti is on the sideline asking to get back in the game which is even better news than the fact that we’re beating the crap out of Miami. I am indescribably happy that his injury doesn’t appear to be serious. He better be growing roots on the sideline because there’s no reason for him to reenter the game at this juncture.

4:56 Notre Dame STUFFS Miami a fourth down attempt at midfield and will take over with 5:02 left in the third. Irish ball at the 50. This is glorious.

4:58 First play of the drive is a Theo Riddick reverse that goes for 18 yards. Miami looks about as interested in playing this game as a vegan at a Brazilian Steakhouse.

5:04 The drive stalls and Ruffer misses the first field goal of his career. Honestly I’m somewhat relieved. I’m a pretty superstitious fan and to say the constant statistics flashing about his streak wore thin would be a colossal understatement. I also feel like this will free him up a bit. It’s human nature for him to think about the streak as it’s in progress, almost like a bowler during a potential 300 game. Miami ball at the start of the 4th quarter.

5:10 Three and out for Miami. What a pitiful performance.

5:15 Three and out for Notre Dame. This is a pretty boring final half with Miami waving a giant white flag and the Irish concentrating on bleeding the clock.

5:19 Nice little Catholics vs Convicts video means I get to flex my Old Grand muscle and go Luther Campbell all over someone’s ass. Predictably I choose Paul (who is still the Chili Boy). This game is adding so much to the day, I love it.

5:21 Miami drives down the field and scores to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 20 points with 10:36 left in the game. Let’s respond with a solid, dominating drive here boys. Notre Dame 30, Miami 10.

5:27 Tommy Rees finds John Goodman dragging across the middle on third down and he streaks down the sideline for a 31-yard gain. Big pick-up, we don’t want do give them even a sliver of hope. Amazingly there has been no mention on the broadcast of The Bard of Bergen County—Duval Kamara—being absent for the game.

5:30 Well, the drive stalls again and ND has to punt. Good news is the idiot Miami returner attempts to bring it out from the 2-yard line and it leads to a -1 yard return. Only 99 yards to paydirt for The U.

5:35 “You have to be tough to play quarterback at Miami” – Gary Danielson. He proceeds to list everybody who used to play for Miami and talks about how tough they were, including (of course) Gina Torretta. Why was it tougher to play QB at Miami than other places? Was it the beautiful climate? The endless arsenal of talented weapons at their disposal? Was uber-dork and national championship winner Ken Dorsey tough? How did I never realize how terrible Danielson as a color guy? Perhaps he’s just completely phoning this one in.

5:36 My buddy Supercrombie sends me the following text: “Someone better get these announcers off the air before I stab myself in the eye with a #2 pencil.” Better yet, someone just stab Danielson in the eye with a #2 pencil.

5:36 Touchdown Miami on a deep 41-yard pass down the left side. Their quarterback Dino Flintstone is chirping at the Notre Dame sideline, which is ridiculous given how we’ve beaten their ass all day long, but whatever. Miami has cut it down to 30-17. This better all be window dressing.

5:39 Cierre Wood recovers a half-assed onsides kick and Notre Dame takes over with 3:59 left on the 35-yard line. Come on boys, ice this.

5:43 Tommy Rees picks up a huge first down with a throw to TJ Jones on the left sideline. That’s a dagger to the slim chances of a Miami comeback.

5:44 Cierre Wood rips off a 26-yard run. It looks like that previous first down conversion sucked the life out of the Canes. ND ball at the 21.

5:48 For whatever reason they trot out Nick Tausch for a field goal instead of Ruffer. SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MISS A FIELD GOAL DAVID???? I’m just joking, please come back next year. Tausch bangs it home and Notre Dame extends its lead. Notre Dame 33, Miami 17. Shut’em down and end this game Irish.

5:53 Gary Danielson is just raving about Miami’s effort as the drive down the field with only seconds remaining. He sounds like Andy Dick’s character in Old School. “Way to give it 110% Miami!”

5:55 The game ends with a Morris pass that leads his receiver straight into a concrete wall behind the endzone. He’s not seriously hurt—just his pride and ego—which makes it infinitely funnier. What a perfect ending.

This was a great way to end the year. Let’s highlight two big stats before we go:

Turnovers: Miami – 4, Notre Dame - 0

This game was over at halftime thanks to the turnovers. Jacory, way to come through for us buddy!

Time of Possession: ND – 37:11, Miami – 22:49

Wow. I’d love to see a stat that shows the most a BK team had possessed the ball in the last five years. What this tells me is that dominating out of the spread offense in the way many fans want to see (control the clock, balanced attack) is predicated largely by the defense’s ability to make stops and force turnovers. Kind of interesting.

Thanks for following along with the diaries all year and thanks to all that contributed texts/emails/commentary to make them more interesting. Maybe we’ll fire up a diary for one of the basketball games in Big East season.

Only nine months until the next kickoff…



  1. I looked up the rules for fumbling a fair catch after the broadcasters discussed it, and the rule is that the punting team can't touch the ball until it touches the ground on a fair catch, so Cowart actually made the correct decision letting the ball fall to the least if you believe Wikipedia:

  2. Wow, good pull ND Geek. You're could be the next Mike Pereira.

  3. One redeeming thing about El Paso? You are an ASS that just insulting thousands of Irish fans that live and love El Paso. I will put my El Paso against whatever hell hole you live in ANYDAY.

  4. Forgive me, I sounded as IGNORANT as you. I meant Insulted Thousands

  5. Easy there, Riccardino. A little tongue-in-cheek humor never hurt anybody

    -Buddy the Elf

  7. Settle down Riccardino. Jesus, someone popped one too many estrogen pills with their cheerios. Great work spice nugget, Go Irish! Let's land Huggins before signing day and make an honest run at the BCS...229 more days til kickoff!