First things first.
Now is not the time to fret or pout about Notre Dame’s first loss of the season. All it does is end their bid for a perfect season, which most fans didn’t (at least I hope) think was going to happen to begin with.
Secondly, if everyone wants to suggest a firm boot to coach Weis, then I’d suggest you stop watching the Irish this season. He’s not going anywhere, not after the second game of the season. Please remain civilized.
Let’s get to the grades:
Offense: Aside from their last drive, the Irish offense moved the ball as planned against the Charmin-soft Michigan defense. Armando Allen Jr. had a fantastic day running the football (139 yards and a touchdown) and Clausen got the ball to his two biggest playmakers, Tate and Floyd, in clutch situations. They rallied back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter and rung up 490 yards of total offense. Grade: A-
Defense: This is why we needed another week to see what the Irish D was made of. They gave up a lot of big plays (17 plays of 10 or more yards, to be exact), but a lot of credit goes to Michigan’s stud freshman quarterback Tate Forcier for making 'em. I had the biggest problem with the field goal they let up right before halftime, which stole the momentum back for Michigan. And I can’t forget about the last drive. That one hurt. Bad.
Special Teams: Rough day for this unit. Placekicker Nick Tausch started things off by shanking a 28-yard FG attempt on the opening drive. A few possessions later, the Irish kickoff team let Michigan return one 94-yards for a touchdown. And the cherry: Eric Maust’s 29-yard punt with less than three minutes remaining. It gave Michigan terrific field position to start their final drive.
Coaching: I decided to blame the 110,278 people who were in attendance, rather than the coaches. They get enough heat as it is and I refuse to add fuel to the fire. At least for now. Grade: B-
Overall: They could’ve won the game, but didn’t. That was two days ago though, so get over it. There is some good that comes from this; they play Michigan State on Saturday. Grade: B
USS Michael Murphy, named after Irish American Navy SEAL hero, heading toward Korea