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Live Blog: Notre Dame vs. Pitt

Nov 9, 2013, 6:33 PM EDT

USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports

With the Irish sitting at 7-2 after nine games, a win against Pitt would guarantee Notre Dame four consecutive eight win seasons for the first time in 20 years. That’s a stat Irish fans should let sink in for a bit.

Twenty years.

After Lou Holtz won 40 games over the 1990-93 seasons, the Irish have failed to build any consistency, following up the 11 win ’93 campaign with a 6-5-1 season. Bob Davie rode the rollercoaster, shoe-horning in five win seasons between nine and ten win campaigns. Charlie Weis managed 19 victories in his first two seasons only to win 16 more in his next three years.

Nobody is setting the goal for the season at eight wins, but if the Irish get their tonight before a much-needed bye week, it’s a clear datapoint that head coach Brian Kelly has stabilized a program in desperate need of consistency.

Getting to eight wins still requires a little work. That means getting by Paul Chryst’s Pitt team that took the Irish to the brink last season.

As usual, we’re here with our friends from Irish Illustrated for the live blog. Let’s keep it clean, rational, and somewhat positive.

 

  1. cbusdomer - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    I can’t take it anymore!!! Jackson has the C on his chest and plays like mud while cole luke keeps improving every play he gets and get 3 to 8 plays a game, And Farley is by far the biggest imposter at safety I have ever seen. It’s time for Mad Max. The youth in southbend is as good if not better than any place in the nation. Time for BK to play the youngsters in real time not just special teams.

    • irishpuma - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      cbus could not agree more. Lets start working on next year. Get those boys reps!!

  2. returnofdamac - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    What Golson did absolutely killed the potential of this year, but can we please stop blaming him for the pathetic performance we see from this team week in and week out? His cheating incident happened months ago. That excuse has gotten old. This loss falls squarely on Tommy Rees’ shoulders. He was flat out awful tonight. I can’t wait for the inevitable Rees apologists vs. Rees haters showdown that will ensue.

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:56 AM

      Tommy’s to blame, but he’s not the only one to blame for this. The defense had trouble stopping Pitt. That says a lot.

    • c4evr - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:54 AM

      Unless Golson can keep other teams from scoring touchdowns, he wouldn’t have made this an appreciably better team this year…

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      You said it yourself: This loss falls squarely on Tommy’s shoulders. Well, how can I not blame Golson? Without his lame brained cheating, Tommy wouldn’t be behind center in the first place.

  3. irish9314 - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    This loss, along with the other two, fall on one person…

    - Thanks Golson – You better make up for it next year…

    • tedlinko - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:53 AM

      You clearly didn’t watch the game. While Rees made two terrible decisions, and was inconsistent on some other throws, the Irish couldnt’ run the ball again, the secondary blew a bunch of tackles, and the Irish made mental mistakes all over the place. Had the team overall played better, the game would never have come down to a couple of interceptions.

  4. irish4006 - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    I will be interested in seeing what bs excuse Keith and Tommy (getsome) come up with this time. Also, WTF is wrong with this defense? They can’t tackle anyone, can’t get off the field and when they finally make a play, they just stand there like clowns when a live ball lands in their lap.

  5. sdemp - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Do I even have to comment. . . it was nice to have the Reese c0ck suckers come out last week, but once again he has proven not to be a difference maker and an average QB at best.

    I may not be rich or live in Chicago, but I am Irish and Reese definitely does not represent the Fighting Irish.

    #he sucks

  6. irishpuma - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    I give it equal parts Kelly and Rees. 20 rush plays to Rb’s not counting 3 to TJ. against an avg, d line is inexcusable. Or our O line guys the softest 320 pounders in the nation? cuz the RB’s are not the problem.

    It does not take a scientist to figure out Rees’ balls were floating, late, and wobbly from the start. Should have pounded it out. Plus there is no urgency or enthusiasm or ball hunger on this team. The live ball fumble where we actually throw the ball away while trying to celebrate is the microcosm of this season.

    Defense is pretty bad, no rush…or at least results, no tackling anywhere on the field and DB’s who continue to prove they can not turn around. I would bench the next one that does not turn that simple. You know baseball players can sprint while turning around because they have to catch the ball. Get the ND baseball team out there to help the DB’s.

    In conclusion BK please play the freshman now. Cole, Max, folston, Baby Admiral, etc. Not on special teams and not for 5 plays. Let then get reps!!

    Upside we won’t have to worry about the NFL wooing BK this offseason.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      You call that an upside?

  7. dapperdanirish - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    Where to begin. As Keith said, the tone was unknowingly set by the very first offensive play with TJ dropping the screen. From the very beginning, due to whatever that stigma is that ND just can’t seem to get over, this game had “that feel” that it was just going to be close because ND refuses to go up two scores on anybody but academies and they let them hang around and hang around, and what do you know, it came back to bite them. I texted my brother today before the game to say “if we don’t turn it over, we win”. I think it’s pretty obvious that’s how they lost. (besides the incredibly poor tackling, execution, lack of running game, refs) Just unbelievable. I’m trying to remain rational and remember the success we’ve had, but an ugly ugly loss like this is just a dagger and a really tough pill to swallow. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Pitt lose the rest of their remaining games.

    Tuitt play – this targeting crap is ridiculous. I understand the motivation behind it and applaud the effort for safety. However, that was one of the most unbelievable calls I’ve ever seen, and the fact that it was upheld it mind boggling. Definitely big as we had trouble stopping the run after that.

    Tommy – what more can be said. I actually commented to my wife at halftime how poor his completion percentage was. Then, he caught fire in the 3rd quarter. Then, well…we all know what happened from there. This is feeling like a good time to wish for the season to hurry to a close.

    Farley – please tackle. That looked ridiculous.

    Bennett Jackson – at times, doing his best Gary Gray senior year impersonation. PLEASE turn your head and look.

    Lastly, (and I’ve been a supporter of Cam), it really seemed Cam had very little vision and cutting ability tonight. Straight up the gut, down right away. Which then leads me to…WHERE was Folston? Obviously the most talented and natural runner.

    I really thought losses like this were gone after the ridiculous 2011 season. Wow…I was brought back to earth. Humbling. Irritating. Embarrassing. Now to chew on this for 2 weeks.

  8. yllibnosredna - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    Where is dickasman? EL STINKO, BABY!!! EL STINKO!

    At the end of the day, this loss–although agonizing to watch–means very little. We just got confirmation of what we knew deep down all along: This team was nowhere near good enough to be a legit BCS Bowl contender. It will be utter demolition in Palo Alto. And Senior Day against BYU is liable to yield another disappointing outcome. Let’s hope for the Poinsettia Bowl…Yay!

    I am still in shock at how many bodies are dropping in the front seven. As disappointed as I am with the play of this team tonight, it’s amazing we can even field a defense at this point. I cannot recall such massive attrition suffered by one single team to so many vital players in key positions. Not even Saban would be able to coach through such hardship. And the one healthy dominant guy we have on the D Line is inexplicably booted out of the game for merely being involved in a rough play. Perhaps one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in CFB. Last time I checked, this is and always has been a pretty violent sport. Does this targeting rule genuinely decrease the level of violence in this sport? It’s one of the most ineffectual preemptive measures I can imagine the NCAA could take to deal with head injuries, and it seems to just diminish the overall quality of the game.

    Absolutely unbelievably bad officiating in the first three quarters. Refs did everything they could to give the game to Pitt. And when the refs stop giving the game away to Pitt, Tommy was happy to finish the job. This game has Rees’ fingerprints all over it. Plays really well in spurts and then reverts back to the awful decision-making that has plagued his entire career in South Bend. The guy has been the epitome of mediocrity, and he NEVER EVER seems to learn from his mistakes. You get a chance to regain control of the game and you throw back-to-back picks in the worst part of the field… multiple mistakes that would be unacceptable for a true freshman quarterback to make. Although he’s not the total liability many ( myself included at times) have made him out to be, it’s hard to view him as an asset either. I can’t say I won’t be relieved to see his clock completely wind down at ND in the ensuing weeks. Everett’s return will be more redemptive and heartening than that of the prodigal son.

    That being said, this team has got way more (and worse) problems than Tommy Rees. How Matthias Farley still finds himself in the starting line-up is beyond me. Sheldon Day, WTF? How can you not play through the whistle?! How?!?!

    And finally, I seriously doubt ND will ever be a legit Championship contender because it appears as if there will never be a true commitment to the run game. Although Kelly has done a really good job (last year was nothing short of magnificent), this appears to be the one thing that keeps him a notch below Holtz in my mind. The guy just doesn’t have it in him to build and stay committed to a championship level running game–the hallmark of the last (who knows how many?) National Championship offenses. If I were a high profile RB recruit (a la Elijah Hood) and BK and co. tried to sell me on the belief that I would be the featured cog–as a “running” back not a hybrid slot back–consistently in his offense, I’d have a hard time keeping a straight face.

    Anyways once again, it’s (in the words of Mr. Asman) EL STINKO time in the Bend baby!

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      I’m not ready to give up on Kelly. But I will say this: Holtz came to Notre Dame after coaching at Minnesota. Perhaps, Jerry Kill would has well. His offense is a thing of beauty.

    • rossumnminor - Nov 10, 2013 at 2:46 AM

      Funny and accurate diagnose of season and game.

  9. returnofdamac - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    Folston 4 carries for 13 yards…Are you kidding me? This kid singlehandedly beat Navy last week. Cam got 9 carries for 22 yards. Yes, that’s 2.4 ypc… oh and TJ Jones, a receiver, had 1 less carry than Folston.

    • irishpuma - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:37 AM

      not to mention GA3. I know everyone hates him but he is averaging 6 per carry on the season and last week 10.5 and this week 9.5 and only got 13 total carries the last 2 weeks. It will limit and impact recruiting as BK does not know how to handle RB’s and really Qb’s either. I predict a RB defection is coming soon.

  10. viktory2013 - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    Tommy Rees is not the most inept qb ever, but he’s pretty close. He hasn’t improved one iota since his freshman year, and all three losses were directly attributable to his mind boggling pics.
    PLEASE DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES FOR THIS CLOWN.
    Farley, Jackson, Fox and Calabrese are so bad that it gives you stomach cramps to watch them whiff and stumble all night long.
    Atkinson and Carlisle are useless.
    Never thought I would say it but Pitt controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

    Guys it’s time to sit these dudes down and play some of those kids who will at the very least get their uniforms dirty.

  11. ndgoldandblue - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    5 things.
    1. Wish I didn’t see that one coming. BK, stop telling your players that it’s going to be a tough game. Whenever you do that, they play like it. It’s this maddening self-fulfilling prophecy. “Well, coach said that it’s going to be a tough game. No way we’re going to blow this team out.” Talk about playing down to your opponent. Comedy of errors on both sides on the ball. On that topic…

    2. Sheldon Day is still unsure about what to do when there’s a fumble. He should put that one on his college highlight reel.

    3. The Irish would probably lose to Minnesota. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth. The Gophers are a bunch of two-star and unranked guys out of high school who play incredibly disciplined football in college. That’s player development. Jerry Kill, a guy dealing with epileptic seizures, gets gold out of a bunch of nothing. The Irish have three-, four-, and five-star guys who play like what we saw tonight. And I thought Kelly’s thing was player development.

    You might be thinking “ndgoldandblue, the Irish are decimated with injuries.” Okay, I’ll bite.

    4. I’ll agree. The Irish are decimated with injuries this year. But when you lose commitments from guys like Darby, Anzalone, and Vanderdoes, and guys like Lynch and Shephard transfer, you need to replace them with someone on that side of the ball. Anyone. The entire Notre Dame secondary is a bunch of converted offensive players. Not an easy position to pick up and excel at. It’s time to make the scholarships count. If we bring in Kizer, the coaches should say so long to Hendrix and Massa.

    5. I think Bennett Jackson wears contacts with magnets that are attracted to some kind of metal underneath the jerseys of the opposition. That has to be the reason why he doesn’t turn and look for the ball…ever. Or, he called Gary Gray and asked him for some sound advice.

  12. fnc111 - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    Only way for me to cope with tonight? Two shots of vodka and two beers in 20 minutes.

  13. 25kgold - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    Stanford is our BCS game now. -_-

    • irishpuma - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:34 AM

      Stanford will be our waterloo if French, desert storm if Iraqi, Hitler’s russian campaign, Miley’s VMA performance, Britney’s head shaving etc etc.

  14. fnc111 - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    Check that. Three shots of vodka. The lord is good when he allows such a drink to dull the pain.

  15. fnc111 - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Thank god for alcohol

  16. c4evr - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    So what does this datapoint clearly indicate??

  17. savejimmyjohnsonsassforme - Nov 10, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    Guys who have earned a cut in playing time:

    Mathias Farley….does anyone recall this guy actually MAKING a tackle this year?
    George Atkinson…he’s just not a football player…mind-boggling considering his pedigree!
    Ishaq Williams…one of those guys who will forever have potential(yes I know he’s hurt)
    Bennett Jackson….precipitous decline is tough to comprehend….and IMPOSSIBLE to watch
    Amir Carlisle….I guess he’ll always have the first carry of his ND career against Temple….was that really this year?
    Austin Collinsworth…best in the Country at chasing opponents into the end-zone….on a positive note, he appears on a lot of highlight reels
    – Guys who just missed the cut-
    Davaris Daniels…for crissakes, can you please compete for the ball!?!?
    Tommy Rees….don’t wanna kill the kid ’cause there’s truly no alternative and we’d obviously be nowhere without him, but just another brutal performance, this time against a clearly inferior opponent….thought we moved past the losses to bad teams…oh well

    Guys who I’d love to see more of:

    Eilar Hardy….a seek and destroy type among a gang of hesitant read-and-reactors…..and ya gotta love a guy with a sleeve of ND tattoos
    Elijah Shumate…don’t see any reason this guy (yes I know he’s been hurt) should ever come out of the game
    Kendall Moore….plays with fire and delivers blows to the opponent, a rarity on this D
    Tarean Folston….’kids on a whole ‘nother level than the other backs
    Any of the Frosh receivers…..all look like big-time future contributors, all are exciting to watch NOW
    Romeo Okwara….just oozes talent & potential, and he makes some plays….the “big-athlete” this staff supposedly craves, apparently so they can see over the crowd from the bench

    Guys I’d love, but for some reason we are not allowed, to see:

    Max Redfield:…I’m really starting to worry that he’s not any good, ’cause I just can’t comprehend how he could possibly be worse than Farley or Collinsworth
    C.J. Prosise…AT SAFETY….a 220 lb safety with speed might look pretty good stepping into the box
    The entire offensive line….given an opportunity to impose their will for a full 60 minutes
    A kick returner other than GAIII….maybe he would pick a lane and hit top-speed immediately
    A referee with decent eyesight and a reasonable grasp & interpretation of the rule book….horrific officiating…AGAIN!!
    A coaching staff with a sack….for the love of God, can we stop playing not to lose and for once take it to the other team and PLAY TO WIN?

    IMO…of course

    • mcirish27 - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:03 AM

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

      Notre Dame and Florida are having the same season. Florida just happens to play much better opponents.

  18. irishdrg1 - Nov 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    Keith thanks again for all that you do. Where do we go from here, and why would a RB even consider ND after the way Kelly treated Floston. I will be surprised if GB and TF come back next year. Do I see Kelly trying to really proved what a coach he is be playing Hendrix next year. Is he really that bad of a coach, that he cannot developed any back up other coaches play fr. or is Malik not smart enough like Andrew?????

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