I’m not sure if Notre Dame follows a set script every week, or if they feel the need to keep their NBC ratings at a premium, but every game the Irish have played in so far has been just shy of epic.
Love or hate how the Fighting Irish are winning, they’re doing exactly that; winning. When the players, coaches and fans check the box score the day after a game, all that’s next to Notre Dame's name is a big, shiny “W.” And that’s what matters in this league.
How’d they fare? Let’s check out the report card:
Offense: I’m going to run some numbers by you real quick: 422 passing yards, 108 rushing yards (added together to produce 530 total yards) and 37 points. If you’re an offensive coordinator, you’re out-of-your-mind thrilled with those statistics. But (and this is a really big BUT), the Irish failed to connect in the red zone on four different occasions, which almost cost them the game. And I thought their run game would’ve been a lot more effective than it was. So, I guess give Washington’s defense some credit there, even though I think it was mostly on the sputtering Irish.
Nevertheless, I have to mention tight end Kyle Rudolph, who once again had the game changing touchdown catch with just over a minute remaining, which caused severe pandemonium amongst the 80,000 plus in attendance. Oh and one more thing; everyday before you go to bed or when you arise in the morning, say a prayer and thank God for putting Golden Tate in a Notre Dame uniform. That guy is unreal (275 all purpose yards and a touchdown). Grade: B+
Defense: Another game, another poor showing from the defense. At least they’re consistently mediocre. They let the freshman Chris Polk run wild on them for 136 yards on 22 carries (6.2 per) and couldn’t really contain Jake Locker. But, (and this is another big BUT), they came through with the game on the line, again.
Holding an opponent scoreless in overtime is like solving a Rubik’s Cube with a blind fold on. They’re already in field goal range, so the only thing that will keep points off the board is a sack or a turnover. The Irish were just short of doing both. It’s pretty incredible how they step up when it really matters. We can curse them all night for letting up big chunks of yardage but when push comes to shove, they’re a bunch of winners.
Also, the Irish defense had a huge goal line stand early in the fourth quarter. It seemed they stopped the Huskies 20 times from the 1-yard-line. That was an outstanding effort. Grade: B
Special Teams: Freshman Nick Tausch’s stat line; 5-for-5 on field goal attempts (with a long of 40 yards), 2-for-2 on extra points, for a grand total of…17 points. What a job by the young placekicker. He was reliable in terrible kicking conditions and led the Irish in total points; an impressive feat (especially with Jimmy Clausen as your quarterback).
I’m still waiting for Theo Riddick to break a kick return, though. I know I keep saying it but it’s coming soon, I can feel it. Grade: A
Overall: A week of rest is needed more in South Bend than gold paint. It will give Clausen time to stay off of his foot and time for coach Weis to develop a game plan to beat the Trojans. This was another amazing nail-biting win for Notre Dame, and something that the entire Irish nation should be very proud of.
And even though I’ve used about 10 praising adjectives to describe their performance, the Irish still won’t receive an A. Grade: B+