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Five things we learned: Notre Dame vs. Washington State

Oct 31, 2009, 11:55 PM EST

As the Irish ran into the locker room at halftime, still celebrating the incredible Hail Mary grab Golden Tate made over three Washington State defenders, it was clear that tonight’s game wasn’t going to be like the rest of them. The Irish slogged their way through the second half, cruising comfortably to a 40-14 victory over the inexperienced and over-matched Cougars.

Over 53,000 fans came out to the first of the highly publicized (and scrutinized) neutral site home games, and most of the fans in the Alamodome didn’t leave disappointed. While nobody will mistake San Antonio and the fast field turf for South Bend and the slow natural turf, the Irish offense and defense looked at home surrounded by Irish fans, and much quicker and physical superior to their counterparts.

Here’s what we learned on this Halloween night:

1) Golden Tate is a man possessed.

Tate’s catch on the last-second, first-half Hail Mary shows just how confident the junior wide receiver is on the football field. Tate skied over three Cougars, pried the ball away from them, and simply willed the ball away from everyone. We’ve come to expect heroics and excitement from Tate, but the 5-foot-11 receiver leaping over three defenders in a single bound? Apparently #23 dressed up as Superman for Halloween, writing another chapter in this storybook season. If Tate was sixth in the straw poll among Heisman voters, he’s got to have moved up a few more spots after his performance tonight. While he still hasn’t been able to make a big play as a punt returner, Tate was electric will the ball in his hands tonight as a runner from the Wildcat and as a receiver getting constant double coverage. With Michael Floyd most likely returning next week, the Irish offense could reach a new stratosphere.

2) Injuries will stay a part of the story.

Charlie Weis kept Armando Allen out of uniform and Robby Parris off the field as both were one good week of rest away from being fully healthy. Yet the Irish had three significant injuries today. Jimmy Clausen aggravated his turf toe, and while Weis said after the game that Clausen could have come back in if it was needed, he still hobbled off the field before he was quite ready to go. The injury to starting right guard Trevor Robinson looked more serious. Robinson was in street clothes and on crutches in the second half, and while he looked in good spirits, you never like seeing something like that. The worst of the night, was the injury to backup quarterback Dayne Crist. It looked very ugly as the sophomore quarterback was tackled awkwardly and had his leg buckle twice as he went down. Crist fumbled the ball as he fell in obvious agony, and was escorted into the locker room right after he left the field. He’ll have an MRI Monday on his left knee.

3) The defense earned some much deserved confidence.

Nobody should be happier than Jon Tenuta and Corwin Brown. Questioned for the last several weeks for the weak play of the defense and secondary, the Irish turned in an impressive performance shutting down the passing game of Washington State, which actually was coming off a decent performance. Freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel looked very much the part of a deer in headlights, running for his life, getting hit early and often, and throwing for a poor completion percentage, only 4.5 yards per attempt, and two interceptions. Tuel was sacked five times, Ethan Johnson, Darius Fleming, and Steve Filer all contributed big plays in the Cougars back field, and the coverage was much better. Obviously, Washington State is one of the worst offenses in Division I football, but it’s a step in the right direction.

4) Eric Maust should be punting next week.

Ben Turk seems like a good kid, but he can’t be the punter for Notre Dame next week. Even after booming a 49-yard punt that rolled out of bounds at the 2 yard-line, Turk still averaged 33 yards a kick, shanking an 11-yarder and moon-shotting a 19-yarder in his five attempts. Regardless of what happens during the midweek competition, Weis needs to go to Maust, because Turk is clearly battling the demons of punting with the stadium lights on. With Maust you’ve got a two-sport athlete that has been in big games before as a punter and a pitcher, and on his 14 kicks this season he’s averaging a shade under 40 yards, a significant improvement on the 35.7 that Turk is averaging on his 13 punts.

5) The Irish need to win out.

If Notre Dame has any illusions of a big-time bowl game, they need to win out. Notre Dame’s two losses this season just got significantly uglier, with Michigan getting stomped by a down-trodden Illinois team, and USC losing by 27 points and getting embarrassed by Oregon in Autzen Stadium. Yet all the statistical regressions run won’t matter at all if the Irish take care of business and win the month of November. Notre Dame’s four games — against Navy, at Pitt, UConn, and at Stanford — will give the Irish the opportunity to be one of the hottest teams going into bowl season. Tonight’s victory should give the Irish confidence going into the stretch run, and with teams like Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, and South Carolina losing, should bump Notre Dame into a spot where a five game winning streak will have them looking very attractive to a BCS selection committee, especially with the return of Notre Dame’s other All-American wide receiver Michael Floyd.   

  1. robertg - Nov 1, 2009 at 1:36 AM

    keith,
    1. golden certainly is golden and charlie and his staff and notre dame’s student athletes are also golden, in addition to being awesome and righteous.
    2. despite all of the vicious attacks in certain media and the dishonest officiating and rules enforcement at the conference and ncaa levels and at certain athletic departments, such as usc’s and michigan’s and alabama’s and florida’s, notre dame and charlie and his staff and notre dame’s student athletes have brought notre dame football back for good with honesty and integrity.
    3. new pac 10 commissioner larry scott has asserted personal control over pac 10 officiating and made every pac 10 official personnally accountable to him. both muldoon and cutaia are rapidly on their ways out, along with those like them at the other conferences and at the ncaa.
    4. we could not be more proud of notre dame, of charlie an d his staff and of notre dame’s student athletes.
    5. we never wanted victories or national championships obtained by cheating and neither did notre dame.
    6. there will be plenty of national championships for notre dame and the other honest football programs coming now that we are getting results in flushing the corruption out of college football and college sports.
    GO IRISH!!

  2. robertg - Nov 1, 2009 at 2:54 AM

    keith,
    1. lest there be any confusion, we are fully aware that the game officials at the washington state/ notre dame game were from the big east conference.
    2. although the big east crew did not do any favors for notre dame and got a number of calls wrong against notre dame, as we reported, the big east conference appears to have received the message about dishonest officiating, which is evidenced by the big east crew not interfering with south florida’s win over highly ranked west virgina and in other big east games this week.
    3. the news from the acc conference is mixed with the acc crew not interfering to save highly ranked virginia tech from a loss( the presence of a butch davis north carolina team on the other side does not inspire any real confidence), and with another acc crew stepping in to steal a win from wake forest over miami.
    4. for the second week in a row, a dishonest big 10 crew stepped in to steal a win for undefeated and highly ranked iowa over indiana( last week the victim was michigan state).
    5. in the sec, commisioner mike slive and his conference staff and their dishonest sec officiating crews have blatantly continued to force feed undefeated florida and alabama teams into an sec playoff and then into the bcs title game and another bcs game. since sec coaches have been going public about dishonest officiating, slive has gone public with his statements of no more warning letters, but immediate sanctions and suspensions for any sec coach who speaks out again.
    6. slive and his sec conference associates have chosen to go down in economic flames in the civil courts and we will be happy to oblige them in the civil courts pronto, along with delany and carollo of the big 10 and dave parry of the ncaa level college football officiating llc( hear for yourselves what happens when you call the telephone number listed at the website of college football officiating llc and you ask for dave parry).
    7. we were amazed at how rapidly new pac 10 commissioner larry scott has been able to cut through all the red tape and corruption within the pac 10 conference, along with long term pac 10 con artists jim muldoon and dave cutaia, make a personal appearance at the oregon/usc game to make certain that that game was honestly officiated, which it was.
    8. while charlie and his staff and notre dame’s student athletes have to focus only on navy now, we can hammar away at getting notre dame’s 2 stolen wins(usc and michigan) reversed in the civil courts before the end of this season.
    GO IRISH!!!

  3. robertg - Nov 1, 2009 at 8:22 AM

    1. we did not forget about the status report for the big 12 conference.
    2. the big 12 conference has always been operated to favor the winner and the loser of the oklahoma/texas game. just ask the coaches of texas tech and oklahoma state.
    3. just like the acc, the big 12 currently has 2 divisions, the winners of which play in the conference championship game.
    4. for the past several years, both the big 12 and the acc have effectively been reduced to one bcs viable division each.
    5. with oklahoma out of the picture in the big 12, along with the usual suspects for a second bcs game slot for the acc, you can count on the acc officials to deliver a one loss georgia tech team to their bcs slot, although a second out of the acc conference loss for georgia tech to instate sec rival georgia is quite possible, but would not deprive georgia tech of the acc’s one automatic bcs bid.
    6. in the case of the big 12, you can count on the big 12 conference officials to deliver an undefeated texas team to the bcs national title game to play the winner of the alabama/florida sec playoff game, even though both florida and alabama both already have 2 phony wins on their paper resumes.
    7. putting aside reversals of phony paper wins in the civil courts before the 2009 season is over, that is how the bcs national title game participants are already locked in behind closed doors at dave parry’s ncaa level college football officiating llc.
    8. of course, the jokers in those stacked decks are our abilities to get phony paper wins reversed in the civil courts very quickly, something which would put notre dame in the bcs national championship bcs game for 2009 against a texas team that this notre dame team could beat handily.
    9. if that does not happen in 2009, then notre dame and every other school will be operating under new high tech officiating, rules enforcement, and ranking systems in 2010 since we have the same cram down power over the bcs system as we do over the ncaa, the conferences, and the coaches and athletic departments that cheat.
    10. notre dame will end up with another top 5 recruiting class for 2010 and for every forseeable future recruiting cycle without changing notre dame’s high academic and character standards.
    11. notre dame loses only a few regular starters at a very few positions for the 2010 season with only paul duncan, sam young, eric olsen having exhausted their elibility in 2009 on offense, each with talented and experienced backups to take their places. the same is true on defense with notre dame losing only captain clutch kyle mccarthy, who leaves his talented brother behind, sergio brown,mo richardson, john ryan,raeshon mcneil, and scott smith.
    12. while nore dame will miss each one of these fine student athletes, the tireless work of charlie and his staff on the recruiting trail, with great assists from notre dame’s student athletes every season, has eliminated those talent and experience and depth gaps and the dead recruiting network which existed for notre dame when charlie took on the job.
    13. watching 6’5” 250 lb te mike ragone( a real 4’5 40, run down a very fast washington state player in the open field to stop the 2 point conversion after the blocked extra point was juust a glimpe of ragone untapped potential.
    14. and , because ragone missed one year of playing time because of a medical procedure, ragone has 2 years of eligibility left after 2009.
    15. neither jimmy clausen or golden tate will leave notre dame for the nfl early, both because of their love for notre dame and because testing the nfl waters without hiring agents will qualfy them both for large insurance possibilities to cover the risks of career ending injuries next season, along with the loans to pay the premiums.
    16. along the d line, especially at nt and dt, the recruiting and depth gap is being sloved by coasch hart and by notre dame’s own bryant young, who will be an assistant coach next season and able to hit the recruiting trails, with his full notre dame and very recent nfl experience and success making it very difficult for any other school to compete.
    17. coaches hart and bryant young make an outstanding knockout punch for notre dame on the dline.
    GO IRISH!!!

  4. HotRod - Nov 1, 2009 at 2:26 PM

    Is it me or does robertg seem to have a lot of time on his hands?

  5. ND BRIAN - Nov 1, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    Keith,
    Let’s not boast too much about the IRISH D…Only a shutout would have been worth complimenting…In addition, I hope Coach Weis can get his offense to start playing more consistently, especially in the red zone. He’s done a nice job this year, but I feel that they are underachieving a TAD bit…G O I R E E S S H !!

  6. leomcm - Nov 1, 2009 at 7:15 PM

    4 words. “This team has heart.” 4 more words “What a run down.” Who was that guy who chased that man down after the blocked field goal. Was it Mike Ragone? That spoke volumes about what the coaches have instilled in this team. Hope they’re here for many years.

  7. robertg - Nov 2, 2009 at 2:24 AM

    1. we have worked very hard for years to clear our calendars so that we could give the task of cleaning the corruption out of college football and college sports.
    2. while our many other busineses are mature enough to operate on their own and while we have deferred taking on many other offers, right now, cleaning the corruption out of college football and college sports has our full attention and will until those tasks are all done.
    3. when we were working on the enron and mci worldcom civil rico cases, did those cases require our full attention? yes, they did and they got our full attention until we had cleaned out all of the rats in those nests.
    4. even our families and children are giving these same matters their full attentions, with the exception of academic obligations.
    5. bringing our complete attention into focus on one problem at a time is our most deadly weapon.
    GO IRISH!!!

  8. robertg - Nov 2, 2009 at 4:37 AM

    1. if anyone wants to see one example of such complete focus of attention, try visiting und.com on a regular basis.
    2. by sunday morning, charlie and his staff and notre dame’s student athletes( with allowances for their very real academic obligations)had their full attention focused on the navy game, along with the asumption that they would have to defeat both a fine navy football team which always looks upon their annual game with notre dame as the most important game of their season, ranking right up there with the air force and army games.
    3. if charlie and his staff and notre dame’s student athletes did not give the navy game their full attentions, navy would defeat even this notre dame team.
    4. a portion of what we are doing now involves a seamless transition from the current rankings systems to a fair and fully transparent computer ranking system, recogizing that perfection is not possible in such areas, but always striving to get as close as possible.
    5. since we own a number of high tech research companies which are very profitable in solving computer hardware and software companies, we have had crews assigned to evaluating the current computer rankings systems which factor into the bcs rankings.
    6. none of these systems has even received a passing grade. if anyone who has the ability looks beneath the surface and looks at the backgrounds of the individuals and companies that wrote the software, anyone would find buried in the software and the the data selected for input the very personal prejudices of the software authors.
    7. key factors completely left our of every currently used computer ranking system are graduation rates and evaluations of the academic content of courses listed on the transcript of every student athlete at every school.
    8. this is called college football and leaving out such factors is a fraud upon the public.
    9. but for the fact that we can use economic violence in the civil courts to shove our high tech rankings system down the throats of all persons and entities involved, it would be useless for us to undertake this software project.
    10.people who understand business litigation look at the results in the enron and mci worldcom civil rico cases and are stunned not only by the amounts we recovered, but at how deep into the infrastructures we went and collected.
    10. sure, we took down the companies and everyone who did not settle and cooperate very realy on in the process.
    11. we got the huge cpa firms that signed off on the cooked books(no longer in business) and the personal assets of every single partner.
    12. the same applied to every huge law firm that was involved in the scams and to every partner at each such law firm.
    13. we got the investment banking firms and the brokerage firms and the stock brokers who peddled the shares to the public when they knew better( if their functions remind you of the functions currently being performed by certain self proclaimed experts in college football at certain media outlets who shill for college football programs which they full well know to be crooked, you would be absolutely correct).
    14. we even got 20% of the material assets of henry kissinger and the dean of georgetown university law school. what did they do? they took the usual $100,000 fees for agreeing to sit on the boards of directors of these companies as”outside” directors on the boards of these companies and failed to follow up on information made available to them that something was very wrong at enron and mci worldcom.
    15. will this project be our last such project? absolutely no!!! wee take them on in certain orders based on the facts and circumstances which are consistently changing.
    16. however, we never allow our focuses to be shifted from the task at hand.
    17. yes, particuar individuals do have to bow out for periods of time because of personal problems.
    18. however, in the wars that we choose to fight, we always make certain that we have enough individuals and financial resources lined up in advance so that such departures from our ranks will not slow down the projects at all.
    19. would getting rid of me change the inevitable outcomes? absolutely no!!!
    GO IRISH!!!

  9. goirish20 - Nov 2, 2009 at 9:54 AM

    Who is Robertg? Do you head a big legal firm? Keep fighting the fight. Go IRISH

  10. Art Vandelay - Nov 2, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    Message taken for robertg:
    Pharmacy called. Thorazine ready.

  11. DocHR - Nov 3, 2009 at 12:10 AM

    Art: keep ‘em coming. I’m now going to this board just to read robertg’s posts and your reply. the pressures on, don’t fail us now!!

  12. kanjr - Nov 3, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    I also visit this board only for the robertg posts. There needs to be a website dedicated to these posts to give them the attention they deserve. He is the Riley Martin of college football.

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