Posted by BrianBoru at 9/19/2009 5:44 PM EDT
Where shall I begin...?
Let's talk about the first quarter: the Playstation offense appeared to be clicking early, with Clausen connecting on a big 58-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph. Running back Armando Allen capped the drive as he took the snap out of the Wildcat formation.
Following the ensuing Spartans drive which resulted in a field goal, the Irish quickly answered as super sophomore Mike Floyd abused yet another defensive back, leading to a 13-3 ND lead.
Freshman kicker Nick Tausch then shanked the extra point. Yep, the Irish simply cannot find a quality kicker. It seems like John Carney was the last reliable kicker.
With the Irish leading 13-3, Charlie Weis decided to get cute, and the Spartans finally made him pay. Sending a rush up the middle, the Michigan State defenders managed to get to quarterback Jimmy Clausen as the Irish's best player landed awkwardly on his right ankle.
Immediately I noticed the panicked expression on Charlie's face, realizing that without his quarterback his offense is exposed as ineffective. Weis's offense relies too much on the pass.
Without having the numbers in front of me, I would say Notre Dame ran the ball fewer than four times in the first half. You simply cannot win with that kind of one-dimensional offense.
Finally, and most importantly, Notre Dame absolutely must do something about the Big Ten officials. There is no reason that the Irish must be forced to play under such a competitive disadvantage. It is a conflict of interest for Big Ten officials to work the games involving Notre Dame and its Big Ten opponents.
This illustrates an even larger problem than Charlie Weis: an incompetent organization (ND) that would permit Big Ten officials to officiate games against their most important commodity.
Anyhow, second half is ready to get underway....I will have more following the game.