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The good, the bad, the ugly: Notre Dame vs. Michigan State

Sep 16, 2012, 11:39 PM EST

Stephon Tuitt

A big win for Notre Dame doesn’t mean they’re back. But the dominating victory sure does propel them into the conversation. An exciting weekend of college football combined with a terrific defensive performance pushed the Irish up to No. 11 in the country, the highest ranking for Notre Dame since the end of the 2006 season, as they prepare to battle Michigan this weekend.

A funny thing happens each football season. Team’s are forced to play games, and either live up or fall short of the expectations the media set for them. It takes actual football to reveal the inadequacies of a squad that might be hidden (or ignored) — flaws that have exposed teams like Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and even USC — in the season’s first quarter.

That’s part of the big reason why Brian Kelly isn’t getting caught up in the Irish’s jump up the rankings.

“Don’t get infected with success,” Kelly said. “It’s easy to forget how you got here. It’s easy to listen to how great you are. We’ve got to avoid the noise and stay disciplined on the process. If we do that, we’ll be pretty good in November.”

Solid advice as the Irish prepare to vanquish an opponent that has haunted Notre Dame the past few seasons.

With that, let’s take one more look back at Notre Dame’s 20-3 victory over No. 10 Michigan State.

THE GOOD

The Run Defense. It was a great overall performance for Bob Diaco’s troops, who played tremendous fundamental football and shut down the Spartans’ best offensive player in Le’Veon Bell.

After running the ball at a 55 percent clip through two games, the Spartans all but abandoned the run in the second half, handing Bell the ball only four times and throwing the ball on 65 percent of their snaps.

Michigan State averaged only 2.0 yards a carry. It was their worst performance on the ground since running for just 1.3 yards a carry last season against Notre Dame.

The Special Teams. I may hammer Ben Turk for his inconsistency, but on Saturday night he played a tremendous role in the Irish’s success, continually helping the Irish control the field position battle. Turk’s eight punts averaged 42.4 yards — a nice number, but nothing incredible — but he pinned the Spartans inside their 20 yard line four times, with the Spartans starting on average at their own 20-yard line compared to Notre Dame starting at the 33. Turk even drew a personal foul on a roughing the punter for good measure.

“Our special teams played a large role in flipping the field,” Kelly said. “That was absolutely crucial to the success we had. I think you need all three phases if you’re going to win a game on the road against Michigan State.”

Just as important was kicker Kyle Brindza, who looked rock solid in his second start for Nick Tausch. Brindza nailed both of his field goal attempts and had four of his five kickoffs go for touchbacks.

A nice performance for a unit that looked shaky earlier in the season.

The Offensive Line. The numbers may not look that impressive, but that’s a heck of a performance by Harry Hiestand’s unit after playing subpar against Purdue. The Spartans’ pass rush was held in check, with the only sack of Everett Golson coming from cornerback Johnny Adams inside the Spartans’ five-yard line.

Take out the four kneel downs the Irish had at the end of the game and Notre Dame ran for a respectable 4.5 yards a carry. More impressive was the fourth quarter drive that took 6:35 off the clock and marched the Irish from their own four-yard line for a game-clinching field goal.

Notre Dame held onto the ball for 18:32 of the second half, winning the game the old fashioned way. There may have been missed blocks and negative plays, but when it counted, the offensive line got it done.

Manti Te’o. We already covered Te’o’s heroics yesterday where he performed his best despite facing personal tragedy. Bob Diaco awarded Te’o the defense’s golden ball after the game, and Te’o had only one thing to say after, telling his teammates that he loved them.

It was pretty easy for Brian Kelly to expound on what he thought of his star inside linebacker.

“At Notre Dame, you get a chance to coach a kid like this,” Kelly said. “It might be once in a lifetime. That’s the kind of kid he is.”

Cierre Wood (and the running backs). With the game on the line, the Irish offense turned to its best runner and Wood rewarded them, running for 45 yards on five carries on the game’s biggest series. A week after struggling to find touches for his talented running backs, Kelly got 30 touches for Wood, George Atkinson and Theo Riddick. (The exact number one idiot blogger was asking for on Saturday.)

It wasn’t necessarily a dominant performance, but the Irish got exactly what they needed out of everybody. Atkinson delivered his long run on a beautifully designed counter draw we hadn’t seen yet this season. Wood iced the game. And while Riddick couldn’t break loose, he had a 15-yard run and pitched in three catches.

The pass Defense. It was a brutally tough game for the Spartans passing attack. When Andrew Maxwell wasn’t getting harassed by Prince Shembo, Stephon Tuitt and company, he was forced to check down and settle for nothing but short throws. Against a youthful secondary getting valuable experience by the game, the Irish defensive played terrific team defense, allowing only one big play on a quick strike to tight end Dion Sims.

Freshmen KeiVarae Russell and Elijah Shumate both made big plays batting down passes. As did Matthias Farley and Bennett Jackson. More impressively, Bob Diaco’s inside linebackers played tight coverage, with Dan Fox and Manti Te’o contributing three pass break-ups, the best big game performance by the linebackers in the Kelly era.

“We really emphasize to get on body,” Kelly said of the game plan. “Coach Diaco really emphasized this week getting on body, in other words, getting hands on receivers and being more aggressive with them. I thought it paid off on a number of instances, in particular our will linebacker.”

Game Management. Another game, another victory in turnover margin. That’s three in a row for the Irish, who only won that all-important stat three times last season. The Irish are +5 this season, good for a tie for 9th in the country.

Brian Kelly > Mark Dantonio. It’s worth mentioning that since “Little Giants,” Brian Kelly’s Irish have outscored Dantonio’s Spartans 53-16, in two games where the Spartans were favored and ranked 15th and 10th.

THE BAD

Third Downs. The Irish somehow won this football game convincingly while going 1 of 14 on third down conversions. That’s a troubling statistic and one that’ll need to be fixed moving forward, as the Notre Dame offense needs to get more efficient in what it’s trying to do.

“We had too many opportunities to put points on the board and to get the kind of production we need,” Kelly said. “A lot of it is in the quarterback’s development. Again, he did some really good things. But we’ve got a long way to go. He needs to continue to stay on task, Everett, and continue to develop each and every week.

“We are so far from where we need to be offensively. I think a lot of it is just in the stuff that we’re doing right now. We don’t need to extend the playbook any deeper.”

Golson’s inefficiency on third down likely had something to do with the defense he was facing, but it also is a product of the Irish coaches ingraining the belief that zero is okay on a play. While the young quarterback is a long way away from mastering this offense, he’s made solid decisions while learning on the fly, something not many first-time starters do.

Deep Passes. There’s no doubt Golson throws the best deep balls on the team (though we haven’t seen Gunner Kiel’s yet). But a year after Tommy Rees was maligned because he missed too many vertical throws, Golson missed his share of open receivers. It didn’t matter on Saturday night, but as the Irish continue to play high-caliber opponents, they’ll need to get more efficient in those situations, giving youngster Chris Brown a chance to utilize the speed that had him breaking open against two very good Big Ten cornerbacks.

Jamoris Slaughter. It’s a heart-breaking loss for the Irish in the secondary, losing a team leader from a position group that desperately counted on the fifth-year senior’s leadership. Kelly awarded Slaughter the game ball in the hard fought victory, a game that might be the final one for Slaughter in an Irish uniform.

THE UGLY

This space stays clear after the Irish delivered one of their most impressive victories in recent memory.

(Of course, it could be dedicated to the early season woes of the Big Ten, who have looked pretty dreadful this season, starting with Alabama’s dismantling of Michigan and continuing through Saturday.)

  1. ndfanwabashman - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    The Ugly: As always, Michigan State fans for heckling Turk after their team clearly roughed him.

    I’m glad Manti can take the high road and thank them. I didn’t make the trip this year because I was treated so poorly the last two times I went to East Lansing. This is the most satisfying win in years from my eyes.

    • tedlinko - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:46 AM

      No comment on the MSU fans but I will say that, during the postgame handshakes, the TV followed Teo and multiple MSU players sought him out – told him they were praying for him or otherwise offered their condolences. It was a classy display by a group of guys who probably wanted nothing more than to get into the locker room as quickly as possible. Classy isn’t a way I’ve always described the MSU team but those guys were last night.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      A cheerful saturday, I was grinning and enjoying each cold beer with extreme delight. We must all be modest, many of us knew the MSU 2 wins weren’t impressive and knew Maxwell wasn’t good at all …. We all saw a win coming …. its done move on.

      MICH is not good on defense at all … Golson should have a great day BUT Denard Robinson is a video game type of player … our defense is amazing but Denard is a special speedster in contrast to a thumping Bell from MSU. Containment and controlled pursuit is important, Denard makes atkinson look slow.

      Kill the head and the team dies …. Teo’s final chance to wack denard a good one.

      ND 27 mich 20

      • 808raiderinparadise - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        Another note …. Golson has a humorus type of confidence … he seems like he really can win over a locker room and also thats why he isn’t phased by Kelly’s screaming ….. He stays cool/calm and learns.

        I always felt Rees would crumble after his 1st scolding on the sidelines from Kelly.

        I remember when Golson committed I said he would be Kelly’s 1st great QB …. I remember the thumbs down posts …. laughable now.

        I said in college football you need a playmaking QB, Golson makes the plays, maybe not all the throws, but he makes the plays you need when things break down.

      • dmac4real - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        One nitpick:

        Its hard to call our defense “amazing.” Very good? Certainly. But as you said, beating up on Maxwell does not make a defense amazing.

      • zorichmidriff - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        Robinson is a “video game” type player, but he’s made of glass, and loves to play the martyr writhing on the field after a hit. We pressure him and get him to the ground—as we did with Maxwell—and there’s no way he makes it to the fourth quarter.

      • 808raiderinparadise - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        True DMAC i certainly seemed hypocrital there, BUT I still stand by that our defense is amazing, Shumate can cover, he is a crazy talented true freshmen, A lot of young speed that we never could recruit before on the back end, and with a great front and backers, that allows them to get better every game.

        I’m not scared to say it, our D is elite in college football this year. Look how many points other teams give up in the top 10?

        Ignore Alabama LOL they are just too good.

      • ndfaithful - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM

        Hey Raider,

        Nice post. Just for reference – Alabama currently at 3rd best for points allowed per gam (4.7). ND is currently at 8th (10.0). Alabama is nasty so far and they’ve also done a great job stopping drives with turnovers (12 already).

        I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m persoanally amazed at what the Irish D has done so far. I expected good and have seen great so far.

  2. NotreDan - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Solid win. Satisfying win. The most satisfying part is all the sparty talking heads having to choke it down.

    To go 2-0 in Michigan? That would be an early Christmas.

    GO IRISH!. Beat Michigan.

    • irishbornraised - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:25 AM

      I’d prefer my present after Christmas. Actually, after New Year’s to be exact!

  3. nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    “But a year after Tommy Rees was maligned because he missed too many vertical throws … ”

    No … was maligned because he was an interception/fumble machine and cost them several games

    Sorry, couldn’t let that one slide

    • irishbornraised - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:24 AM

      But also maligned because of the vertical
      By none other than you

      • bernhtp - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        The difference is that Golson missed them long and Rees often missed them short. A miss is not a miss.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM

        So true bern!

        I remember a Fat Tuesday in New Orleans just a few years ago. I was buying young lady mint juleps by the fist full and keeping up with Captain Morgan…..long story short….

        some times a miss is a Mr.

      • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        Technicality there irishborn
        I maligned him over absolutely everything

    • jrct2450yahoo - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      Nude, enough is enough on Rees. We all know of your feelings but this is really getting old.

      • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM

        Then skip my posts

      • jomilly - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        First of all without Rees we may not of beat Purdue, who knows, so seriously nude move on. Secondly Golson, is extrememly inaccurate. He needs to get better. I do love how our lines dominated, it makes me feel great about this week. Also, lets not put the cart in front of the horse. Its only 3 games. But…Ill admit it feels good!!!!

      • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        Before Saturday night Golson was over 63% completion rate. So calling him “inaccurate” is senseless and not backed up by facts.

        He had a poor completion % vs. MSU, but that was against a very good defense of the #10 team in the nation, on the road. For the year he is 44-81. That’s 54% with 1 INT.

        I’ll take that from a rookie QB, especially after what we’ve been through the last couple years.

        He missed a couple deep throws, most notably the ball to Brown. But as another poster said, he missed it long, where Brown was the only person in East Lansing who had a chance to catch it.

        On the pass to Goodman (a fabulous catch), he showed a tremendous natural feel for the position, rolling out right, looking down field and finding Goodman in the end zone.

        If I was grading EG at this point in the season:
        Mobility: A+
        Play Calling/Pace of Game: C-
        Arm Strength: A-
        Accuracy: B+
        Taking care of the ball: A+ (By this time last year ND had 6-7 INTs; this year: 1)
        Overall: A-

      • irish4006 - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        @jomilly, I have seen Golson’s high school tapes, I don’t think the kid is inaccurate. He definitely needs more time to show what he has got due to the nature of the college game – a considerably faster and way more complicated game; but “extremely inaccurate”, even based on what we saw this year, he is not.

      • jomilly - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        nude your such a doof. He was pretty bad throwing to open receivers, his deep throws were under thrown, and the receivers made plays on them. Pull your head up. I like the kid, he needs to get better. Im not a tommy fan either, but your constanly attacking is old. Hes a good guy that does the best he can. Hate to tell you he is 2 on the depth chart. Deal with that, he must do something right. Im sure you cant say anything good about his drive against purdue, except he sucked last year. Just for the record, not sure if you know, but you dont have to respond to everything, your opinion isnt the end all. Im pretty sure you have some people that read your crap cuz it can be entertaining, but I would also assume lots are like me. Sick of hearing that damn same old record going on and on and on. Please take a week off from responding!!!!!

      • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        jomilly
        “please take a week off from responding”

        Request denied
        Sorry

      • bernhtp - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:09 PM

        re: “If I was grading EG at this point in the season:
        Mobility: A+
        Play Calling/Pace of Game: C-
        Arm Strength: A-
        Accuracy: B+
        Taking care of the ball: A+ (By this time last year ND had 6-7 INTs; this year: 1)
        Overall: A-”

        Mobility: only Denard gets an A+. I give Everett an A or A-.

        Play calling/pace: I give him a B (not counting first play). Much better than Purdue game.

        Arm strength: solid A. For grins, I re-watched his TD pass to Goodman and calculated its in-air distance to be over 63 yards. (thrown from 43, 6 yards into the endzone, 40 yards cross-field, sqrt(49^2 + 40^2) = 63.25). This is an elite throw, especially to a spot.

        Accuracy: B+ is about right. He would have hit one of the bombs to Brown or Jones were Kelly’s voice not booming in his head “protect the ball,” which caused him to err on the overthrow. I could argue for an A-. He was very good.

        Taking care of ball: A+ – yea!!

        Overall: A- – I agree. He was great and will get better.

      • jimpy49 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:55 PM

        Jomilly,

        Rees is a “good guy?” Gets drunk, fights and knees a cop? WTF? Is this Miami??

      • jimpy49 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:59 PM

        Jomilly,

        Rees is a “good guy?” Gets drunk, fights and knees a cop? WTF? Is this Miami?? Hope he’s a better guy than that…..

  4. papadec - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    Just watched a replay of the game on espn. I enjoyed (again) Kirk Herbstreet falling all over himself, at the end of the game, saying how critical he has been of ND the past 10-15 years, but that ND is relevant again. And, Brent Musberger telling Herb that ND is ALWAYS relevant. Funny how going 3-0 gets the critics to change their tune. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll collect on my annual Vegas wager that ND will win the BCS Championship – this year. At 18-1 that will probably cover me beyond my remaining years.

    • ndfaithful - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      That was good. I enjoyed the end of the game too. I honestly never thought I’d hear Herby say that. Brent folllowed up his comment about ND always being relevant, but frequently just not being very good. It didn’t sound critical when he said it. He’s got a good point.

      But Herbstreet actually sounded like he saw the light. It was kind of cool. I don’t think it’s just 3-0. I think we actually saw them playing solid football, not beating themselves, and playing with legitimate speed.

  5. bigboi30 - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Thank God the only thing that came out good this win is your ranking. That will help boost Michigan next week when we make it 2-0 under the lights. Michigan> irish. Always have been always will be.

    • mcirish27 - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:04 AM

      I’m glad we only get the best and brightest from our opposing fans. Yikes….

  6. sinister23 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    ABOUT BAMA….how well do u think ND would have done??? EXACTLY!! Just wait till SHOELACE RUNS ALL OVER U CHUMPS!!!!!! Your all gassed up….ND WILL NEVER BE RELEVANT.

    • irish4006 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:46 AM

      Thank you for the valuable contribution to this board!

      Now, go back to your room, it’s past your bedtime, little one.

      • c4evr - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        Irish4006,

        You have it all wrong. It should be viewed as the ultimate compliment that new trolls are showing up here. It’s a true sign of recovery for the program. We just need to let them know they need to be more pithy with their witticisms : )

    • zorichmidriff - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:52 AM

      How do you think Shoelace is going to do against Messrs Tuitt, Lewis-Moore, Nix, etc? EXACTLY. He won’t make it to the half. Hope you’ve got a backup plan.

    • ndbcs2013 - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Could not do worse than UM did against Bama. Literally. Embarrassed your entire conference in front of the whole nation!

      And this is your POINT to us on this board?? That is just awesome.

    • mtb1996 - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      @sinister23… It just makes me smile and laugh when opposing fans come to a blog about ND and post in shouty capitals saying, “ND WILL NEVER BE RELEVANT.” If we are so damned irrelevant, then what are you doing on our blog about ND football? I can only assume that you are here posting on this site because you got your panties handed to you on Saturday night and you came here to piss, pout, and moan like the sore loser you are.

    • c4evr - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      Note to sinister… our ‘irrelevant’ team converts 1 of 14 3rd down conversions and STILL hammers your alleged elite team of the Big 10, please advise the powers that be to avoid all encounters with SEC schools hence forth.

      PS – also check to see if you can still collect bowl money even if you forfeit game.

  7. irish4006 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Great win for the team, congratulations Irish! Thank you for the nice write-up, Keith; looking forward to the follow ups on UM…

  8. seadomer - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    haha … welcome bb30 and sin23, you are the first 2 UM trolls. We are wrapping up Mich State, kindly wait a day or two, we’ll get to you

    • mimefrog - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:22 AM

      Lol. Nice.

  9. jerseyshorendfan1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Keith, you are the journalist and we are the idiot bloggers. Don’t blur the line there.

  10. rrussellndfan - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    I love Michigan fans. I mean come on you’ve had one good game against a chump team, maybe the worst team in division 1 football. If Michigan loses this game kiss your BCS dreams goodbye.

  11. ndirish32 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    I like that Keith never refers to ND as “we.” One of my biggest pet peeves. Too many people like to call their team “we” when things are good, and “they” when things are not good.

  12. nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Somewhere in Florida there is a 19 year old married man who used to play football for ND. I hope he was watching the game Saturday and had a “WTF was I thinking?” moment.

    Here is a great video clip of Kelly before, during and after the MSU game.

    • irish4006 - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      Give it a rest, nude, please. The ‘young man’ has his reasons. Right or wrong, we need to respect that and move on. Bringing him up every now and then is embarrassing.

      • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        irish4006
        Until you publish your posting guidelines, we don’t “need” to do anything.

        I didn’t call him names or deride him in any way
        Just hope he wishes deep down he was still at ND. That’s a bad thing?

        Loosen up dogg

      • irish4006 - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Hey, I am not one who will even vote for a posting guideline, much less publish one. I just feel that the kid deserves a break, esp. since a lot more have come out on why he left the school. It was, after all, his life and his decision; can we show a little more class and leave him alone?

        You have your opinions (most of which I find very insightful) and I have mine. We don’t “need” to agree on this issue.

    • fentocamarillo - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Nude-Squirrel

      You are incapable of giving ANYTHING a rest. But wait, there is still hope…at least you didn’t mention TR in the last post…you must be slipping. TR as closer =2-0. Go Irish.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        Ha TR 2-0 as a closer!! love it!

        Best bet is to just ignore the repetition, scroll to more substantive posts other than:

        TR sucks
        Goodman sucks
        Motta sucks
        Lynch is jealous, having transfer remorse
        Keith = man love for TR, host familty reunions/tailgates…

        Can’t win the comment battle against someone who hits refresh on the same post 1000 times per day per post

        much easier to just keep on scrolling down…

      • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        Goat
        Where is UAW 1136?

    • zorichmidriff - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      How in the hell can anyone watch that vid and think, “Kelly’s the wrong guy for us.” There is no one out there more right for us.

    • NotreDan - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      Nude Bro. Could not agree more.

      IMHO, one of the best “what comes around goes around” moments I’ve seen in a long time.

      The rest of you goofs that defend Lynch…. well, I’m sure you can go watch his private workouts at his old high school. You and his GF.

      • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        notredan
        Seriously … how many times have I read here and on other boards “someday soon there is going to be a signature win, and Aaron Lynch will be watching, feeling lonely, blah blah … ”

        So it happens and now some of the clowns say we should be more respectful

        Go figure

      • jimpy49 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM

        Come on guys, he’s 19 and in love. Give him a break. It’s probably more complicated then we bloggers think. Next Man In!!!!!!!

  13. FreQaZoiD - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    UGLY: Sheldon Day tweaking his knee while over-celebrating his tipped pass to the flat.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      Watch a ND youtube video once in a while…the “knee tweak” was a deep bruise and it happened a few drives before the celebration.

  14. yaketyyacc - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    USC ranked no1 or two. already ordered their rings and Barkley had his Heismann speech ready: now,no 13. MSU ranked no 10, read how good their defense was; now, no 21. Michigan ranked 8, humiliated by Alabama, scared by the Air Force, embarassed by an overwhelming defeat of a powderpuff; now no 19. Notre Dame no 11; after MIchigan; now no ?
    What better way to return to gaining respect and ranking then to beat no 11, a no 11 who happens to be Notre Dame, a no 11 who happens to be Notre Dame in the Notre Dame stadium, the house that Rockne built.
    OK Notre Dame, you got the picture. Explode out of the tunnel, run MIchigan off the field, off our campuss and back to MIchigan in time for their morning milk from their agricultural college Moo U., better known as MSU.
    HOW? As John Wayne said to admiral Spruance in the Battle of Midway: “Send them to Hell!”.

    • nudeman - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:13 PM

      Well said yak
      But I am leery about crowing over early season rankings.
      Who remembers who was #1 or #5 or #10 last year after 3 games?

      To borrow a tired phrase, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
      We just passed mile 4

      • mattnef - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        In this analogy, we technically just passed mile 6. I know. I’m a nerd.

    • 9irish - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      I think that was from “The Longest Day”, to the paratroopers before D-Day…but this isn’t a John Wayne trivia blog, so point well taken!

  15. seamus0317 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    This is a solid start but let’s how we do against Michigan before you start making BCS reservations.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      Those aren’t the reservations i’m worried about…my wife and my mom are busting my balls about skipping a wedding this coming weekend to watch the ND/Michigan game.

      Any ideas on how to delicately slip out of this prior engagement? I can DVR it, but i just KNOW some giant bag of douche will send me a spoiler text before i ever get to the DVR.

      • dmac4real - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        Turn off your phone?

      • 9irish - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:30 PM

        Have a cardboard cutout of yourself made!

      • ndfaithful - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM

        C’mon Ratherbe,

        It’s time to turn over a new leaf, respect the more important things in life – PEOPLE, and decide to go to the wedding. Seriously dude. It’s time to grow up. Mature.

        Once mature, you can get the worst flu and headache on Saturday morning. I’m so sorry you won’t make that wedding Ratherbe. You were making so much progress…

  16. jrct2450yahoo - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    I’m curious about something… If Golson is the second coming of Tony Rice and the QB of the next three years, where does that leave Keil and company?

    • zorichmidriff - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      A: Wearing red caps and signalling.

      OK, how about this: Michigan gave up 259 yards rushing to UMASS with over 3.1 yards per rush. Where does that leave Wood and Co?

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        Ole Charlie Molnar’s offense cranking things up against Michigan? Good stat zorichmidriff.

        On a side note, I just noticed that your screen name is zorichmidriff. So, i gotta ask which one you are…

        A. You have a man crush
        B. You are a woman
        C. You are batting from the other side of the plate

        Don’t much care which one you are. I’d respect any of those three answers. Just curious

      • zorichmidriff - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        @idratherbeinsouthbend:

        None of the above. Just an old fan of The Lady and a nose tackle named Zorich and his style of jersey.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        duly noted

      • ndfaithful - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:42 PM

        You know what else came out of the UMass / Michigan game? Apparently Deion Walker (former Irish WR recruit) looked really good and impressed people enough to say he’ll be a future NFL player.

        Hopefully that means the guys on the squad at ND will make an even better impression.

    • irish4006 - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Kiel will be fine… How many years did Leinert, Booty and Sanchez start before getting there NFL deals. If Golson plays for 2 more years, Kiel will have 2 years of eligibility left. A lot can and will change between now and then, patience is the name of the game.

      Brady Quinn got to play 4 years, but only did well in the last 2. No one should come to college expecting to start the freshman year, that should be more of an exception than the norm.

  17. runners00 - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    The most important thing about the next three days: let’s not get cocky. We haven’t won anything yet. We beat a decent Michigan State team, but one that is clearly overrated. I mean, on offense they were inept. Now, for sure, our defensive front-seven drove them nuts, but Michigan State could not move the ball.

    Michigan is much different, with a seasoned quarterback who is quick and fairly difficult to tackle. And, yes, Alabama exposed Michigan in a very major way but we shouldn’t think that Michigan is somehow going to play the same game against us that they played against Alabama.

    It was nice, however, to see/hear Herbstreit make a few favorable comments about Notre Dame. It’s been a long time since we heard this. I don’t particularly care too much about what Herbie says, but he influences a lot of college football journalists and broadcasters. And these people all vote. And, hey, the guy sees a lot of games, so if he thinks we’re all right, we’re probably all right. But it was one game and one game alone. The Michigan State win won’t matter too much if we play poorly against Michigan. We have to come out and control the line, again, and force Michigan to make mistakes much the way that we did against MSU.

    Go IRISH!

    • dmac4real - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Im just gonna say this:

      Last year we killed MSU and everyone said the same thing: “They were overrated.” Well they ended 11-2 with a win over a quality SEC team in a bowl. Make no mistake, they’ve got a good thing going up in East Lansing, and that was a quality, quality win.

      That said, we still got a lot of work to do.

      • runners00 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM

        Fair enough. But we still can’t think we are where we need to be. We have to get better every week

  18. idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Keith,

    Any word on who the next man in will be after Farley? Chris Badger, Prosise, Salvi? Who’s got the edge? Anybody know?

  19. mtflsmitty - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Zorichmidriff…The funniest name on here by far.

    CZ was a great player. Honorable guy off the field as well who has done a lot for the community and shown great courage..

    • ndfaithful - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:47 PM

      Zorich was a beast on the field. It seemed like he blocked guys all the way to the field goal post. Seems like things may not be going so well for him lately. Anyone seen the news about him lately?

      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-21/news/ct-met-zorich-resolution-20120821_1_chris-zorich-charitable-foundation-troubled-charity-charity-funds

      • 9irish - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:20 AM

        Wow…that sucks. He didn’t play long in the NFL did he? Injuries…I hadn’t heard about that one.

  20. mtflsmitty - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Anyone notice that moron fnc has been very quiet of late? And since one of you enterprising lads outed the angry PSU fan, we haven’t had to hear from him either. It’s been nice around here.

  21. irishirish777 - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Irish fans, hold it down. I’m big on Irish as well but too many times we have spoken too soon. IF we win this Saturday, I would be super excited and believe ND will go 7-0 until they face the next big challenge. Let’s hope we stay healthy and smart this Saturday. Looking forward to it, go Irish!!!

  22. cpfirish - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I know I am jumping ahead here. So what if EG and ND can pull out a ten win season where does that leave Gunner for next year? Where does it leave EG? Will we have another QB change or does EG continue to be the ND starting QB?? Also Zaire?? Interesting…

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      The first QB move will be AH to a different position. Maybe TE, maybe Safety? As smart as he is, he could probably pick up a new position through osmosis while he sleeps.

      TR still has a year left, right? Zaire will get a red shirt as soon as he crosses into the state of Indiana. Gunner and EG will battle for the starting job, unless EG flies through this season with the ten wins that you talk about.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tommy Rees around this program for a long time…grad assistant, low level assistant, etc., etc.

      He’s a lot like Oklahoma’s Josh Heupel…none of the physical tools that make an NFL scout take notice, but lots of smarts and coaching in his DNA.

  23. cpfirish - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    I am not putting TR down cause I don’t mind him in the sideline calling plays. I just don’t want him in the game playing QB for many reasons and we all know why… So moving forward. Somebody did mention on here that the QB battle will be between EG and GK and I think you are right! I really do think that EG will get ten wins this year and makes me wonder that he is going to be the QB at ND for a few years.. I have not one problem with that. Regardless we have some VERY good talent and the QB spot and they are young.

    • seadomer - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Again … too soon.

  24. dickasman - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    I thought play calling could’ve benn better between 2nd and 3rd quarter. Coaches weren’t helping golson out much by depending too much on him when he clearly had lost his rhythm. Thought they could’ve run the ball couple more times.

    I’d like to see couple more passes thrown to Daniel smith. I think he caught only one but I had to do a double take. I thought we brought back Derek brown. I’d like to see more downfield passes thrown his way see what he can do.

    • c4evr - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      I’m glad dick said that so I didn’t catch grief for it. Man, I can’t figure Kelly out. He changed his game plan like that in the FSU game to disastrous results. Why would he throw his young QB’s rhythm off like that? Sure the defense was in lock down mode, but does anybody remember Michigan last year? Same thing… defense played a whale of a game for 59 minutes and 30 seconds. Kelly already established himself as a gunslinger his first year as coach. Why unleash your guy who’s still building confidence only to rein him him and stall the offense later in the game? It would have made more sense to let TR take over in the second half if the intent was to play to not lose the game.

  25. upthera44 - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    I don’t remember hearing Ishaq Williams’ name called in that game — how did he do? Maybe he wasn’t playing much since Shembo was playing like a man possessed. Also, has anyone really looked closely at why Eifert was neutralized? Were they really double-teaming him or was it a failure to design plays for him?

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