This college football preseason some publications had Notre Dame as a top ten team, contending for a BCS bowl. This week, they enter a tough match-up with the #16 Michigan State Spartans sporting a surprising 0-2 record, meaning it’s going to take an extremely unlikely running of the table (with a top ten team in Stanford still left on the schedule) to fulfill those expectations.
But don’t blame the Irish weapons on offense for the awful start. Tailback Cierre Wood ran for over a C-note in both games (versus USF, he became the first Irish runner to top 100 yards since Armando Allen in 2009) and he finished with 134 yards and a TD in the loss to Michigan.
Back up Jonas Gray also had a big day in Ann Arbor. As Coach Brian Kelly said post game, it was Gray’s best game of his career thus far.
“It’s only getting started, we’re still working things out right now, but that’s something we wanted to build on and we finally have that now,” Wood said in the loss.
“So we’re going to work on improving our run game even more.”
Of course, Wood would trade those numbers for Ws. And he articulated his disappointment with the Irish dropping their third straight versus Michigan; the first time that’s happened since 1908.
“At a certain point you have to say enough is enough, and we’ve reached that point and we’ve passed that point. So we need to come back Tuesday and keep working.”
Michael Floyd broke Jeff Samardzjia’s school record for career receiving in the season opening loss to South Florida. He had a big 100 yard day, but in a losing cause. He expressed his disappointment after losing in week one.
“Going through training camp, everyone doing what they need to do to make this a successful season, mistakes is what killed us today and we just need to go back to the drawing board, and make sure we don’t make these mistakes again.”
Against Michigan, Floyd caught a career high 13 (second most for a single game in school history) for 159, becoming the school’s all time receiving yards leader, passing up Golden Tate, and tying Tate for career 100 yard games.
Floyd again expressed the negative emotion he was feeling after the Michigan loss.
“It’s pretty hard, thinking you have the game in hand. But we fell short. And we can’t blame anybody for this loss, it was a team loss,” Floyd said.
“This is gonna hurt, but we need to maintain the leadership we have on this team and move forward and get a victory next week.”
The Irish offense can move the ball. They’ve put up big yardage numbers in both games, but have issues punching it in, and turning it over. They have nine turnovers after two games, 5 within the opponent’s ten yard line. MSU will be no easy task for the Irish, as ND is 1-3 in their last four versus State and 4-10 in the series since 1997.
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