On Down The Line

Notre Dame vs. Tulsa - Good, Bad & Ugly

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We, are at 'that' point


Is "at least we didn't get blown out" a proper rationalization after losing at home to an extremely middle of the road in Conference USA, Tulsa team?

No, not really.


Good

-After being thrust into a fairly difficult situation, Tommy Rees at the very least didn't look anywhere nearly as lost as he did in week 2 vs. Michigan.  He led four touchdown drives, had periods of impressive accuracy in those short, intermediate routes that you'd expect a QB to be accurate in, and never at any point made anyone say "Hey, let's give Nate Montana a whirl!"

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Sure, talk yourself into the idea that if this hadn't happened, ND would have beaten Tulsa....go ahead, no one's stopping you

-Bennet Jackson had a 41-yard kick return, and ran a fake punt reverse for 20 yards and a first down that finally featured him hurdling a tackler in a good situation.  Not bad for a freshman who looks a year or two away from seeing the field on offense

-Michael Floyd had 11 catches for 104 yards and 2 TDs.  Good spread offense numbers, and he was the best option Rees had all day.  He can probably escape this maelstrom for the NFL draft at the end of this year.

-Cierre Wood didn't run that well, but he ended up with with 115 total yards and 2 receiving TDs.  Maybe he's not an every-down player, but he's useful, unlike say....the entire O-line.

-Pass rush probably had their best game of the season, recording 6 sacks.  Where they were on 3rd & 26, is another matter.


Bad

-As has become usual, there's a question whether anything can be really quantified as bad, and not ugly.  But how about this, with a backup QB in, ND had as unbalanced of a game as ever, throwing 56 times and running 24 times, despite leading for most of the game.

-The 2nd leading receiver was Robby Toma....we need Riddick back

-Notre Dame was gashed by the Tulsa running game, as one might have expected, to the tune of 223 rushing yards for 5.7 a carry.  They seemed most effective when they stuck to option-based carries...which would seem to be building on a theme for the Irish.

-John Goodman blatantly dropped a fair catch for a turnover, dropped a couple passes, and generally upheld the rationale that if John Goodman is a starter for your team, you're not great.

-Manti Te'o missed a lot of tackles due to overpursuit.  For the best player on the defense, he can be spotted screwing up a lot

-With 8:47 left in the 3rd quarter, the Notre Dame offense scored to take a 27-18 lead on Tulsa, and appeared to be on the verge of taking complete control of the game.  Their drives from that point on:

Tulsa_Notre_Dame_Football.sff_51268_team.jpg

Rees was game, but he was also a freshman QB thrust into a crazy situation. Maybe a back-breaking mistake to lose it all shouldn't have thrown us for a loop

Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Interception

Against the worst pass defense in the nation, with Michael Floyd breaking wide open all day long.

Ehh, stuff just didn't work out, I guess.


Ugly

-Dayne Crist ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee on a run where the initial concern was whether a hard, high hit might've resulted in a head injury.  Now the rest of the season, which now wreaks of "bowl ineligibility", is thrown under the cloud of whether or not Rees is auditioning for the job in honest, or whether team is in neutral as far as progression waiting for Dayne to return.  For a player I complain about a lot, Dayne's injury really throws ND into a bad situation....like, 4-5 bad.

-Rees threw three interceptions, one was meaningless, one was extremely disastrous (pick-6) to the point where it might as well have counted for 2, and the other ended the game when ND was in game-winning field goal range.  Seeing as I was part of the 'go for the touchdown' crowd, I can't scream at Rees for firing it into the endzone, but as there is on any play, there's such a thing as too much aggression, and this clearly fit.

-Notre Dame's defense failed to stop Tulsa at 3rd & 26 late in the 4th on the winning drive, giving me a horrifying flashback to 2007 against Purdue....that's uncalled for.  No one should ever remind me of 2007.

-The University has managed to juxtapose itself as an institution extremely adept at transforming highly touted O-line recruits into passive, timid, and generally ineffective players.  They couldn't clear running lanes for Cierre Wood, or consistently protect the quarterback versus a heinously undersized Tulsa team.

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Some pictures say a 1000 words, some pictures just say 'regret'.

-Turns out Notre Dame was one of the best punt return coverage teams in the nation coming into this game, but the combination of three missed tackles and Ben Turk punting short and low for the entire season really came back to bite the Irish in the form of an inevitable punt return for a touchdown.

-Not to belabor the point, but David Ruffer is the best player on the team, and sat on the sideline as the Irish were in his range for the win.  The Irish threw an interception in the endzone when he could have won the game, and that just never is going to look good....ever.

-There's always a chance that a 20-year old student video assistant dying needlessly served as a bit of a distraction.  Multiple national outlets are calling for Brian Kelly's firing, and while I still say bad teams lose because they're bad teams, this would probably quantify as something that could sap away the focus of the Notre Dame players.

-For at least the 4th time, and possibly the 5th, another team got their signature win against a really quite crappy Notre Dame team.  I don't why as hell the Irish still register as a meaningful win for anyone, but for the 9th game of 9, they faced a supreme effort from their opponent.  It's hard to complain about this because it comes with the territory of being "Notre Dame", but perhaps it's time to accept that this team isn't going to be of the "Notre Dame" ideal any time soon.


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