Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Ugly Win is Still Good Enough for 7-0

One of Notre Dame's games that would be highlighted going into the season when the schedule came out was Oklahoma. Now if you told any Fighting Irish fan that they would be 7-0 going into that game, anybody would take it.  Well here they are 7-0 with a trip to Norman next weekend.

Having said that, Notre Dame played it's worse game of the year against BYU. I know many Irish fans will want to put it on Tommy Rees, but it is not on him. For the record, I was never one who was calling for him to start over Everett Golson. My previous write ups will show that. However, I also know that Rees has done a really good job this season in his new role.

Not only that he is now 14-4 in his career as a starter. That is often forgotten as many only want to point to turnovers. The interception today was not on him. It should have have caught by Davaris Daniels. His numbers weren't great (7-16 for 117 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT). However, he made some big throws early to All American Tyler Eifert who had 4 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.

Yes, he only had one completion in the second half, but it was a big one. He hit TJ Jones for 31 yards. That play started the winning touchdown drive.

Rees was not the main problem at all. The part of the game that was ugliest was honestly the defense in the second quarter. They gave up two touchdowns within about three minutes. That was after not giving up one since the Purdue game. The part that was most disturbing was that all year Notre Dame had been a good tackling team and didn't commit bad penalties. Unfortunately, those were huge problems in the second quarter and the result was two touchdowns.

The defense was much better in the second half as they did not surrender a point and tackled better. Kaeperon Lewis-Moore did have a facemask on a third and long, but it looked to be a hussle mistake rather than a mental one. We can live with that.

On a positive note, the Irish rushing attack was dominant in the second half. They totaled 270 yards on the ground. Theo Riddick had a career day rushing for 143 yards on 15 carries. His longest run of 55 yards was one where he should have been stopped for a loss on third down, but he showed his heart by staying up and breaking tackles. That play was arguably the one that brought life back to Notre Dame.

Cierre Wood also had a big day gaining 114 yards on 18 carries. George Atkinson didn't have a big day but he did get that big score on a reverse where Riddick was the decoy.

Here's the bottom line, Rees wasn't great but he got the win. There were plenty of other parts of the game that was uglier. Even still, Notre Dame is 7-0 heading into Oklahoma who is involved in a trap game of their own against our old friends Charlie Weis and Dayne Crist along with the rest of the Kansas Jayhawks.

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