Thursday, November 7, 2013
It Doesn't Have To Be Pretty, Just Get A Win
There are two teams that Notre Dame annually plays that always make me nervous because it seems no matter what their record is they seem to play the Irish tough. They are Purdue and Pittsburgh. We all remember what happened last year and this year should be no different. While the panthers are only 4-4, they do have a quarterback in Tom Savage who has thrown for 1779 yards with 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and a running back in Isaac Bennett who has rushed for 543 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Granted six of Savage's touchdowns came in one game, but that one game was Duke who is better than they normally are. Also, 240 of Bennett's yards came against Old Dominion. But having said that, the Irish defense is banged up after two straight weeks of service academies. The cut blocking that goes on in those games takes it's toll and Notre Dame should think about whether it is in their best interests to keep playing them. They have to play Navy, but no reason to ever play Air Force or Army again.
Among the wounded for the Irish are Ishaq Williams and Kona Schwenke who are out. Sheldon Day is questionable. Ben Councell was lost for the year against Navy. The good news is that Louis Nix is returning this week. The defense needs is thin though and guys like Stephon Tuitt and Jalen Smith need to continue to play big as they have.
The good news is that the offense is not only healthy but got a real spark last week with freshman runner Tarean Folston. I am so excited to see what he can do for a follow up this week, but if las game was any indication he and Cam McDaniel can be a great 1-2 punch. This can only help Tommy Rees as TJ Jones, Troy Niklas, and company will be more open. This is a Pittsburgh defense that is giving up an average of 26.75 points a game and it is really against soft opponents other than Florida State and Duke. Expect Rees and company to have another big game.
But again, on paper this appears to be a big win for the Irish. However, this does have the makings of a trap game. Notre Dame has a bye with two weeks to prepare for BYU and Stanford. With all the injuries the Irish have, I say it doesn't have to be pretty. Just get a win.