Saturday, October 13, 2012
Defense is Once Again Dominant For Bowl Eligible Notre Dame Against Stanford
On a day that was wet and rainy, something happened after Everett Golson fumbled in the endzone. Stanford recovered the fumble and the Irish trailed for the first time all year. It was in the second quarter. Then Golson responded with a long drive that unfortunately ended in a fumble to Stanford. The Cardinal then drove the ball to end the half with a long field goal of 49 yards. Notre Dame trailed at halftime 10-3.
That didn't deter the defense at all who gave up about 19 yards in the third quarter. They also intercepted Josh Nunes twice. Stefan Taylor did run harder than any running back has all year against the Irish. He gained 102 yards on 28 carries. However, once again the Irish kept them out of the endzone.
There was no score in the third quarter but it ended during a really good Irish drive that finished in the opening minute of the 4th quarter with touchdown pass from Golson to All American Tyler Eifert.
That tied the game at 10 until Stanford answered with a long drive that ended in a short field goal.
Then something interesting happened. Notre Dame started a drive impressively, but looked as though it would be stalled as Golson threw an incompletion on 2nd and 19. But he was roughed and it led to an automatic first down instead of 3rd and 19. What was interesting was Golson was hurt after a blow to the head. So Tommy Rees came in to finish the drive.
That makes me wonder that while I know that coaches are very careful with concussions, but how much of it was he hurt and how much of it was a way to get the veteran quarterback in in a clutch situation? Only Kelly knows for sure. Regardless, Rees once again showed he is the best backup quarterback in the game as he led the Irish down to get an easy Kyle Brindza field goal.
Then in overtime Rees threw the ball well. He showed his experience by reading the defense well before he hit TJ Jones for a touchdown.
Then it was up to the defense who haven't given up a touchdown since the Purdue game. Stanford game close to snapping that as they had it 3rd and goal at the one. They had two plays to get one yard, but the Fighting Irish stuffed them.
Although this wasn't as pretty of win as some of their other games, it was nice to see this team handle adversity the way they did. I was particularly impressed with how Golson handled it. He responded to turning the ball over and getting behind with long drives.
Although no one running back shined, Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, and Golson all contributed and rushed for a total of 152 yards among the three of them.
The defense remains the teams strength and is arguably the nation's best. They have to be in that discussion when you go a month without giving up a touchdown.
With the win, Notre Dame improves to 6-0 and becomes bowl eligible. That is a key factor. I am one who believes that you don't discuss a national title until you are BCS eligible and you don't discuss that until you are bowl eligible and BCS is realistic. So now the BCS can be talked about but Notre Dame still needs to focus on the task at hand which is now BYU who has another tough defense.