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Opposition round-up: Week five

Sep 30, 2012, 4:34 PM EDT

North Carolina State v Miami Getty Images

With the Irish taking the weekend off and members of the team getting a chance to return home or step away from football, many of Notre Dame’s opponents took the field this weekend.

Let’s take a run through the schedule and see how Notre Dame’s opponents did yesterday.

NAVY — After getting back on track against VMI, Navy lost an ugly game at home to San Jose State, getting blanked 12-0. That’s a 1-3 start for the Midshipmen, but it’s also a 4-1 start for San Jose State, whose only loss is a 20-17 defeat at the hands of Stanford. It was a horrible performance by the Navy offense, gaining only 144 yards, the worst total for the Midshipmen since 2002.

Trending: Backwards. It always looked like a rebuilding project for Ken Niumatalolo, but even with the defense keeping the opponents out of the end zone, another putrid offensive performance means it could get ugly this year in Annapolis.

PURDUE — The Boilermakers are off to a 3-1 start after surviving a barnburner against Marshall. Caleb TerBush led Purdue with four touchdown passes and outscored the Thundering Herd 51-41. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato threw the ball an astounding 68 times, completing 45 passes for 439 yards as Marshall put up 534 yards of total offense. Purdue was up 42-14 at halftime before Marshall roared back.

Trending: Purdue has scored 153 points in their three other games of the season. They may have taken their foot off the gas, but they might just be in the drivers seat of a very confusing divisional race to the Big Ten championship game.

MICHIGAN STATE — The Spartans lost the biggest game of Saturday 17-16 to Ohio State, unable to stop Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes’ one-man army. Le’Veon Bell was shutdown on the ground, limited to just 45 yards and forced to be Andrew Maxwell’s primary target. In a grind it out Big Ten match-up, the Spartans couldn’t do enough to pull out the victory.

Trending: A step backwards for a team that thought itself a top ten team, but the Spartans are still in the thick of a mediocre Big Ten race.

MICHIGAN — The Wolverines took the weekend off. They’ve got an interesting match-up next week with a Purdue team that has their offense rolling and a defensive front that should match-up well with the Michigan front line.

Trending: We’ll see if the Wolverines are the upper-echelon team many predicted in the preseason in the next few weeks.

MIAMI — In one of Saturday’s most exciting games, Miami won another offensive battle, this time against North Carolina State. Quarterback Stephen Morris set an ACC record with 566 yards passing, including a 62-yard bomb to Phillip Dorsett with just 19 seconds left to seal the victory. The Hurricanes defense gave up 664 yards, but still managed to win thanks to six Wolfpack turnovers, including four fumbles on five possessions.

Trending: There were worries that Miami’s offense didn’t have the playmakers you’d expect from a Hurricanes squad. But the offense has looked impressive so far this season, with the defense struggling. At 4-1, this looks like a very interesting test for Notre Dame.

No. 18 STANFORD — After vaulting into the top ten with a victory over USC, the Cardinal crashed back to earth in Seattle, getting upset by Washington on Thursday night. All the preseason worries there were about the Stanford offense after Andrew Luck manifested themselves, with Josh Nunes only completing 18 of 37 for 170 yards and an interception. The Stanford defense battering Huskies quarterback Keith Price all evening long, but Washington broke two huge plays — a fourth-and-one run for a 61-yard touchdown, and a game-clinching 35 yard screen pass to Kasen Williams — to win the game. Stanford only gained 235 yards of total offense.

Trending: It’s a step backwards for Stanford, but probably more of a leveling out. The Cardinal defense looked very impressive, but the offense is still finding its way.

BYU — The Cougars got healthy thanks to Norm Chow’s rebuilding Hawaii team, barreling through the Rainbows 47-0 on Friday night. It was an offensive explosion for BYU after struggling to do much of anything the past two weeks. Starting in place of injured quarterback Riley Nelson, freshman Taysom Hill looked solid throwing the ball while also running for 144 yards and running back Jamaal Williams ran for 155 as BYU rolled. The Cougars defense held Hawaii to just 149 yards and nine first downs.

Trending: A nice rebound by BYU, which looks to have a pretty solid defense coming together, and an interesting dual-threat wildcard quarterback in Hill.

No. 17 OKLAHOMA — The Sooners had the week off after losing a crusher to Kansas State last week. They’ll play Texas Tech before heading into the Red River Shootout.

Trending: I fully expect the Sooners to be 5-1 when they welcome Notre Dame to Norman.

PITTSBURGH — The Panthers also had the week off after leveling their record to 2-2 with a patsy victory over Garner-Webb. It was a welcome win after losing to Youngstown State, another game most Pitt fans expected to roll in.

Trending: With a big victory over Virginia Tech (who just lost to Cincinnati on Saturday), we’ll get a progress report on Paul Chryst’s squad when they play at Syracuse on Friday night.

BOSTON COLLEGE — The Eagles led Clemson at half, but they couldn’t hold on in the second half as quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins connected 11 times for 197 yards. Chase Rettig threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. The Eagles running game couldn’t get started and the Eagles needed to play near perfect to beat Clemson, who played without All-American wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

Trending: A 1-3 start isn’t a good sign for Frank Spaziani, who started the season on one of the country’s hottest seats.

WAKE FOREST — The Demon Deacons got beat by Duke and back-up quarterback Anthony Boone on Saturday, falling to 3-2 on the year and 1-2 in ACC play. Tanner Price completed 19 of 38 for 230 yards, but threw two interceptions as Wake Forest turned the ball over four times. Perhaps bigger than the lost game was an injury to wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who broke his right hand in the second quarter and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

Trending: Without Campanaro, Wake Forest loses its best offensive weapon, and a team that didn’t have much artillery, now must navigate the meat of their conference schedule without him. They’re also missing standout defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock, their top interior player.

No. 13 USC  – The Trojans also had Saturday off, resting before facing the bulk of their Pac-12 schedule.

Trending: It’s hard to lose ground when you don’t play, but it wasn’t a very impressive week for USC opponents. Hawaii got smoked by BYU. Syracuse lost last week to Minnesota, and Stanford’s defeat to Washington exposed the Cardinal a bit. Add in Cal’s loss to Arizona State and we’ll see if USC is a legit national title contender or another paper tiger.

  1. papadec - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    usc will have 2 or 3 losses before they lose to undefeated ND.

    • rico75 - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM

      Agree.

    • alsatiannd - Oct 1, 2012 at 6:39 AM

      Hope

    • 808raiderinparadise - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      ND will not go undefeated if they can’t score more points,

      and MIA is a team that will score with big plays. You can’t win everygame 17-6 with a QB throwing you 5 easy picks and a fumble. BE REAL (michigan game)

      Our offense needs a more consistent run game and screen game, Eifert needs 4-7 touches targets a game. and The passing game needs a lot fo work.

      I’m excited as all of you are BUT ND needs an offense, the defense eventually will have a tough game and the offense will have to win it. Right now I have very little faith in winning any sort of shoot-out.

  2. c4evr - Sep 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I don’t know if it’s the third year charm thing or the galactic alignment, but with all the upsets, ND is positioned to make a legitimate run at this thing. They still have a long way to go, but outside of Oregon, LSU, and ‘Bama, all the other teams look like they are playing to lose. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Irish vs. Tide bowl game for the NC like in the ’73 season. And BTW, ‘Bama is a big O-pher (0-2) against ND in bowl games… classic!

    • c4evr - Sep 30, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      correction – only OU and Alabama are playing lights out. LSU almost choked it away against 1-3 Auburn. FSU might sneak into the picture since they have a relatively light schedule the rest of the way. Here’s to hoping the Irish offense finds a way to be a little less, well, offensive.

      • chisports14 - Sep 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        I think a 1 loss Alabama squad would still get in over an undefeated FSU. FSU is going to get murdered in the computer polls because of their ridiculously easy schedule.

      • andy44teg - Sep 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

        correction – it’s U of O…not OU

      • papadec - Sep 30, 2012 at 6:51 PM

        c4 – yeah – FSU has a relatively light schedule – but they still have to play Miami & FLA. Those instate games could be tough. It would be nice if ND beat Miami, who then beat FSU.

  3. idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 30, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I agree with almost all of the above optimism, but i think we all realize that this is really only about ONE team….ND taking care of business!

    That’s one of the things that i like about CFB, you always control your own destiny unless (1) you play in a non-BCS conference or (2) you lose one game

    The only thing that i have to disagree with is the FSU comment…if they are undefeated, they’ll be ranked higher than any one-loss team. And as it stands right now, here are the potential undefeateds…

    ACC – Florida State
    Big 12 – One of the following -WV, Tex, Texas Tech, KState, TCU
    Big East – One of the following – Rutgers, Cincy, Louisville
    Big Ten – Northwestern
    MAC – Ohio
    PAC12 – Either Oregon or Oregon State
    SEC – One of the following – Georgia, SC, Florida, ‘Bama, LSU, Mississippi State
    WAC – Either UT-San Antonio or Louisiana Tech
    Indy – NOTRE DAME

    That’s a potential 9 teams, but realistically, only 5 undefeateds could probably rank high enough to play in the NC game (SEC Champ, PAC12 Champ, Florida State, Big12, or Notre Dame)

    Sorry Northwestern and Rutgers, even if you run the table, you won’t be invited to the NC. And if you’re a non-BCS forget about it without TWO losses from most of the teams listed above.

  4. bernhtp - Sep 30, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Who would have thought a month ago that among Notre Dame and all of its opponents, we would be the only undefeated team right now. I hope that’s true next Sunday (and beyond). It is truly remarkable – something that no one would have thought.

    • papadec - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:13 AM

      bern – good point. I figured ND to be undefeated. BUT gave no thought to where the others would be. It just makes me feel more optimistic about ND going undefeated.

  5. seadomer - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Miami: Other than Fla State, ND’s got a big target on its back.

    Stanford: In a way, we are looking a lot like them. The only difference being our defence is a little better (smirking a little)

    BYU: This team worries me, they looked really decent this week plus if we take care of prev 2, this will be BYU’s bowl game, no matter how they end this season, they probably cannot get a better opponent then ND.

    • ndgoldandblue - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:43 PM

      Why are so many posters expressing angst over BYU? seadomer, you are just one of many posters that I have read on this blog fret the BYU game. I don’t know; I just don’t get it. I saw them play Boise State, and BYU looked awful in that game. And Notre Dame is a better team than Boise State this year. The player development mantra is really taking shape. On both sides of the ball, our players appear bigger, stronger and faster than the Boise St. players, so our performance against the Cougars should be better than that of Boise. It’ll be dogfight going into the fourth quarter but a dogfight I fully expect the Irish to win.

      As for Miami, I’m just not buying them either. Maybe I’m crazy not to be angst-ridden over their offense, but I’m not all that impressed with the defenses that they have gone up against. Frankly, the only defense they have faced that seems to have a pulse is Kansas State’s, and the Wildcats held them to 13 points, all while dropping 52 on them. Even if Miami manages to put together a decent offensive performance (which is possible), I don’t expect their defense to stop even the most dysfunctional offense (which ours could be classified as). Do I expect Miami to do better offensively against us than Michigan State or Michigan? Yes, but I also expect our offense to figure some things out and put up a decent number. Will their offense be good enough to compensate for their bad defense? Not against our front seven and athletic secondary. 28-21 Irish over Hurricanes.

      • ndfaithful - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:02 PM

        I’m with ya man!
        (see, i’m not always on your case)

        Although I’m feeling a score more like 17-10 Irish. I’d love to see us put up 28. Maybe the D-boys can run one back.

        GO IRISH!

      • seadomer - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:58 PM

        ndgb,
        I fully expect ND to prevail too, just my gut feeling when watching as many opponents’ games as I can re:BYU. As you know everyone wants to beat ND during their college career. ND is the highlight and our ranking will give the incentive.

        Here is how I think (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being toughest).
        Say all of us think BYU is only a 6 while say USC is a 9.
        I tend to think factoring BYU’s schedule and their chance to show themselves, they will come in fierce more like an 8.

      • alsatiannd - Oct 1, 2012 at 6:47 AM

        BYU is on the worry side of the coin flip. Inconsistent, but can put a complete game together. An independent with nothing to play for except beating the Other Big Religious Independent.

        On the other hand, did anyone else see the size of Hawaii’s defensive 11? It was a bunch of Tomas zipping around. Toma’s a sneaky and reliable receiver, but he wouldn’t measure up as a linebacker.

  6. ndfaithful - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    I’m not sure how to feel about this season’s opponents losing. On one hand, I’m glad to see that they’re all beatable. On the other hand, I wanted as many giants to sleigh as possible to help our rankings.

    It’s always one week at a time though! We’ve always had a path to the NC game, as long as we WIN each week.

    Speaking of ‘each week’ – Miami is looking a little scary. I think we’re ready for the game and will play well. But I hope our defense keeps it from turning into an offensive shootout. We don’t have all guns firing on offense yet. I think the Irish will roll, but the agressive, pass happy offense has always been a challenge for the Irish. Let’s hope they’re eating wheaties and practicing hard.

    GO IRISH!

    • ndgoldandblue - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      Agreed. I actually like to see our opponents lose a game or two simply because (as you said) it shows that they’re beatable. Plus, it gives the Irish a way to attack them (whatever it may be). With Miami, it’s gotta be their defense and inconsistency on offense. They have looked like world beaters at times on offense, but other times, they have looked very pedestrian. It’s weird how they can go to the extremes of hot to cold so quickly.

      The one thing that remains consistent for them is their defense. They just haven’t shown that they stop anybody. Granted, our O has looked pretty average the last couple of weeks, but a week off to fix some things and an opposing defense that makes average offenses look great should result in solid numbers for Notre Dame.

      I will say this. The only thing that scares me about this game is the possibility of the D having an off day. Even the best defenses have bad days from time to time, and an inexperienced secondary is more prone to such an anomaly. That being said, one of Miami’s starting offensive lineman sustained an injury in the NC State game and won’t be available for the game this weekend. That should open up the pass rush even more. Just get their offense to punt every once in a while, or at least, give up more field goals than touchdowns, and we should be all right.

    • irish4006 - Oct 1, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Not sure how to feel about the opponents losing a few? feel good about it, at least until they have played us. Ranking should be the least of our worries. If we keep on winning, everything else should/will take care of themselves. Regardless of how poorly the big 10 is doing, they are still all legit teams. I was really happy about the Stanford loss. They are a good team , the last thing i wanted was for them to come into South Bend undefeated and super confident. Now we know that everyone is beatable, we just need to focus on playing our own game.

    • papadec - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:44 PM

      ndfaith – on the one hand, I’m glad to see that they are beatable – on the other hand, I’m glad to see that we have beaten them (so far).

  7. yaketyyacc - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    in a prior post, I said Miami is the most dangerous team we will face up to now, and that we will need to put up 30 points. and that our best defense would be a good offense, considering our young secondary.
    now, it is apparant from their 566 yard performance, that we will have to have the ball for 30 of the sixty minutes. However our offense has been labeled “vanilla”, it is more like melted vanilla because of the play calling.
    I humbly suggest that whoever calls the plays, will undergo complete maturation by the miami game to allow our talented offensive players a chance to display their ability. a balanced attack ,,using several receivers and backs, or the headlines will read no. 9 Notre Dame topples from top 10.

  8. sinister23 - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    ND will NO DOUBT lose to Stanford, O of U, and USC….and to be honest i see Miami winning next week. Miami is full of athletes, ND….not so much…but i cant wait for a loss so the ND faithful can drop this insain NC talk.

    • seadomer - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      Sorry, no O of U,

      http://espn.go.com/college-football/bowls/projections

      Now that’s “insane” !!!!

      • papadec - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:37 AM

        Week 5 Projections of Bowl Games is a bit premature – in my opinion.

    • dickasman - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:55 AM

      Sinister, I disagree. Miami is like the gangster disciples, they’ve gone downhill. Sure they’ve got some brothas that can run but as long as running from police ain’t no class 1 felony, they always will have them.

      ND should dispatch of them similar to navy if they continue to play as they have. Hopefully couple of UM players will get arrested in chicago attending the gd faction meetings.

    • andy44teg - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      Who is this O of U you speak of? Oniversity of Uklahoma??? I also can’t ever recall seeing the word “insain” Ohhhhh…did you mean “insane”? yeah…probably. Fracking Idiot!!! Did mommy forget to make you breakfast this morning? Poor little sinister. Someday you’ll move out of the basement. Keep your chin up, ya fat little ‘tard from Ohio.

    • mtb1996 - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      sinister… Who are you? What is your deal? I am confounded by your constant trolling of this site when you so obviously hate Notre Dame. I mean I really feel sorry for you. It’s really quite pathetic and down right embarrassing.

  9. dickasman - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Catholics kick @ss!

  10. sinister23 - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    @dickasman….are all ND fans as racist as you are? “Hes black, so hes a thug?” Cmon man, its not the 90s no more…we are all the same people, color aside, we are humans. You should be ashamed of yourself. And OKLAHOMA…fyi

  11. seadomer - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Off topic:

    Guys, I’ve spent sometime reading lots of articles regarding our opponents (without posting), seems to be that SEC fans really love their conference. I get that they have much recent success but what’s this devotion to conferences? I have nothing against any individual SEC school but can one be an SEC fan? Pls help, its pissing me off.

    • joeschu - Oct 1, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      I remember in the 90′s when Tennessee came to South Bend, their fans were chanting “SEC – SEC – SEC,” and I remember thinking it was so odd. It does seem to be a strange devotion they have to the conference vs. solely their individual team.

      • c4evr - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:26 PM

        It’s a Civil War thang…

    • runners00 - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      Big Ten is the same way. Are you kidding me? They all cheer for one another and against one’s opponent. All the time. This is the problem with joining a conference. The loyalty is to the conference.

      That said, how many SEC schools are scheduling Florida Atlantic or some other FCS school this year? Seems like a lot. Imagine the number 1 team in the country playing a FCS school. Nuts.

      • papadec - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:51 PM

        runner – that’s different – that’s all about the money.

    • papadec - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:48 PM

      seadomer – it’s the nascar thing.

  12. gotampabay52 - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    ND would beat The U in south bend, being at Wrigley I like our chances. Is touchdown Jesus portable? Can’t wait to cling some gold helmets. Bring Dame going to be fun. GO CANES

    • bernhtp - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      It won’t be at Wrigley and the helmets won’t be (all) gold. However, sources tell me that Jesus will make an appearance, which is generally bad news for the Canes.

  13. dbldmr - Oct 1, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    I guarantee the Irish won’t score a point at Wrigley. Fortunately the game is being played at Soldier Field.

  14. loadofwash - Oct 1, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    I think it’s odd that Irish fans think this team is any good? What gives?

    • oldestguard - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      Sorry load…if you had even an ounce of intelligence, you’d know what gives.

      Glad to see your sticking around for the ride, though.

      It’s a real bitch when you realize you can’t quit us…huh ?

  15. runners00 - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I’m worried. Very. Every time, since about 1993, I have felt optimistic about the program, there have been massive letdowns. We were not lucky to have beaten MIchigan, Michigan State, Navy and Purdue. We were better. We moved those teams around the field and that is why we won those games. And maybe in recent years we’ve been lucky and that’s why we lost in October. No idea.

    But Miami looks pretty, well, offensive. Sure they lost to K-State, but K-State is good. They have some dynamic playmakers and put up a lot of points. We shouldn’t be looking down the road. The next team is good.

  16. oldestguard - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Nothing wrong with a little bit of worry to sharpen the focus.

    I know Kelly is not looking ahead and I trust the players won’t be allowed to either.

    This should be a good game for Golson to work out his rough edges.

    If he doesn’t take advantage of this D, then we worry some more.

    But I see the Irish having their way with this Miami team.

  17. loadofwash - Oct 2, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Over rated

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