Win over Pitt should be wakeup call
Notre Dame survived an upset bid by Pittsburgh last week, winning 29-26 in triple overtime, to remain unbeaten at 9-0. The win kept ND in the top five in the nation but it also showed that the Irish have some issues to resolve on offense and that the potent defense showed some cracks for the first time this year. Hopefully, it was a wakeup call of the Irish.
Everett Golson was headed as the goat of the game but rallied the team back and became the hero. His overall play had to be rated "poor" for the entire game, but his gutty performance in the fourth quarter and the overtimes saved the day.
If one just looked at the total game statistics without knowing the score, you would believe that ND had won by a wide margin, not winning in overtime. But the Irish offense had issues in the game. Pushing the ball all over the field but not finishing Pitt off by failing to cash in on many opportunties.
The Irish have won this year because their turnover ratio is way down from a year ago. When the Irish turn the ball over they struggle. They turned the ball over against Pitt twice in the red zone and that kept the Panthers in the game.
Head coach Brian Kelly and staff must address the inconsistency of the offense. Entering the 10th game of the season, this problem should be solved by now. You can't keep using the inexperience of Golson any more as an excuse. He has weathered nine tough games now so inexperience can't be an excuse any more.
More on the game later.
Today the Irish face an old nemesis in Boston College. The Eagles enter the game with a very unimpressive 2-7 record. But BC having a poor record entering a game against the Irish means little. The Eagles play the Notre Dame game like its a bowl game. In fact, from 2001 to 2008 the Eagles racked up six straight wins over the Irish. And in the past the Eagles have cost the Irish a shot at the national championship.
BC's two wins have been over Maine, 34-3, and Maryland, 20-17. The losses have been to Miami, 41-32; Northwestern, 22-13; Clemson, 45-31; Army, 34-31; Florida State, 51-7; Georgia Tech, 37-17; and last week Wake Forest, 28-14.
The Eagles offense is led by Quarterback Chase Rettig, who has compelted 197 of 349 passes for 16 touchdowns, but has eight interceptions. Rushing is led by Andres Williams, who has rushed for 635 yards on 130 carries and four TDs. Top receivers are Alex Amidon, 1,073 yards on 67 receptions with six TDs, and Johnathan Coleman, 434 yards on 29 catches and four TDs.
ND leads the series, 12-9, and has won the last three. The Irish won in 2009, 20-16; 2010, 31-13; and last year, 16-14. It has never been easy for the Irish to beat BC.
The game will be televised nationally by ABC-TV with an 8:10 p.m. kickoff.
IRISH NOTES:This series is another that will not continue on a regular basis due to the Irish entering the ACC. ND will play BC, as the Eagles are members of the ACC, but not on a yearly basis....Some Pitt stats. Golson finished 23 of 42 passing for 227 yards with two TDs, and one interception, in the endzone. Tommy Rees was six of 11 for 64 yards and an interception. He was not as sharp as other relief appearances. Theo Riddick rushed 22 times for 75 yards. Golson 15 for 74 and a score, and Cierre Wood 13 for 70, but had that big fumble at the goal line in the second overtime period....Receiving, DaVaris Daniels had seven catches for 86 yards, Tyler Eifert six for 62, TJ Jones five for 53 and a score, and Riddick, four for 35 and a score. Defensively Dan Fox led in tackels with nine, followed by Prince Shembo with eight. Manti Te'o had seven. Kyle Brindza hit three of four fields goals and missed a key extra point. Still not consistent enough for me....The flu bug continues to hit the team. This week several more players have missed practice or have felt the affects of the bug....Kelly is now 24-3 in his last 27 games in November/December regular season dating back to the 2005 season at Central Michigan....ND dropped in the BCS standings from third to fourth. Irish fans should not worry about the BCS standings and the national title. If the Irish get there they have to depend on two things, keep winning and hope Alabama, Oregon, or Kansas State lose. ND can't decide its own fate....NBC cointinues to be happy with the ratings ND has been providing. The Pitt game drew a 4.3 rating making it the most watched game on NBC this season....The rally from 14 down Saturday is believed to be the largest comeback by an Irish team in the 82-year history of ND stadium. It matched a 14 point rally in 1999 against USC....Ten of the 11 turnovers ND has committed this year have been at home....The USC game will have a 8 p.m. start and televised nationally by ABC-TV....Two red zone turnovers last week caused the Irish to drop to 89th nationally among 120 FBS teams....Tyler Eifert needs 11 receptions to pass former All-American Ken MacAfee, who has 128, and become ND's all-time career leader in receptions by a tight end....Bovada.Iv, which rates the odds of a team winning the national title, has put ND's chances at 15-2. Alabama is rated first at 2-3 and Oregon second, 3-1....ND continues to lead the nation in the fewest rushing touchdowns allowed, despite giving up one last week against Pitt. ND's has given up two....I hope last week's close game is a wakeup call for the Irish, who may have started reading their own headlines about the great season they are having. The defense showed cracks and the offense turned the ball over at critical times and the penalties were up. Tonight the Irish must be ready because Boston College has spoiled ND runs for a national title in the past. The Eagles consider this their redemption game for a dismal year so far. In my preseason picks I had the Irish winning this one. As 19 point favorites they should. They also should be focused strictly on the Eagles, remembering what happened last week.