Will Fuller, Nick VanHoose

The good, the bad, the ugly: Notre Dame vs. Northwestern


A little less than 48 hours after Notre Dame’s loss to Northwestern, it doesn’t seem like too many people are over it. So let’s dispense with the introductions and pull the band-aid.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly from Saturday’s disastrous 43-40 loss to the Wildcats.



Will Fuller. Right now, Notre Dame’s sophomore wide receiver has 13 touchdowns, tied for the lead in the NCAA, and on pace to break Golden Tate’s record of 15 scores in his Biletnikoff Award-winning junior season.

Once again, Fuller had a monster day, scoring three times on his nine catches for 159 yards. He beat a good Northwestern secondary on deep routes, screen routes and everything in between. He also dropped two or three balls, reminding you that Fuller is still a work-in-progress, an exciting proposition as we look to the future.


Tarean Folston. The sophomore running back bounced back, running for 106 yards on 20 carries Saturday. He scored a nifty touchdown on a spin move at the goal line, and also showed the type of vision and patience that’s become a staple of his game.

While it feels like we saw too much of Cam McDaniel or grumbled every time Folston wasn’t in the backfield, he had five times as many rushing opportunities as McDaniel, who gained 12 yards on his four runs — including the game-turning fumble when the Irish were trying to run out the clock.


Matthias Farley. Another game, another really big play for Farley, who is turning into one of the lone bright spots on a defense that’ll be discussed for much of the “Bad” section. The senior (with a fifth-year available) stepped in front of a pass near the Irish goal line and returned it 39 yards.

Farley is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. His 6.5 tackles-for-loss are also tied for the team lead. It’s been a nice bounce-back season for the veteran who struggled last year at safety.


Forcing Turnovers. Notre Dame forced four of them. (And nearly a fifth that would’ve iced the game if it didn’t bounce from the arms of two diving defenders and squirt out of bounds.)

And Austin Collinsworth’s scoop and score was the defense’s first touchdown after Max Redfield’s block on Devin Gardner nullified Elijah Shumate’s pick six.



The Defense. So it’s gotten ugly. Really ugly. Just how ugly? Historically ugly.

This five-game run is the worst in the history of Notre Dame football for allowing points. Per BlueandGold’s Lou Somogyi, the doldrums of 2007 saw the Irish give up 166 points to open the 2007 season. This five-game streak has seen the Irish give up 211.

To keep everything under this one stench-filled lid, let’s go through the bullet points.

  • Tackling. Boy, it got comical for a bit out there. For as nice of a season as Cole Luke has had, I think he’s still trying to drag down a receiver while futilely punching at the football. That’s not to say Luke was alone, as it was a group fail out there, as the Irish turned the least explosive offense in power-five football into a group of worldbeaters.
  • The First Half. Lord only knows how many more points Northwestern would’ve scored had they not gotten hit with a rash of the drops. But the Irish’s first-half effort against the Wildcats’ version of hurry-up was likely (hopefully) rock bottom for this group.Having rewatched the game twice over the weekend, I’ll spare the gory details. But the ground game had major breaches, the pass defense allowed the chains to move early and often (Northwestern converted just 8 of 20 third downs, but it sure felt like a lot more), and the situational awareness of this group continues to be really distressing.
  •  Injuries. I’m listing this third for those of you who like to take to the comments and accuse me of being too kind. But at this point, it’s difficult to call this defense Notre Dame’s, when in a perfect world half of this group would be watching and learning still.We’ll find out more about Sheldon Day’s future this season on Tuesday, as the junior defensive tackle had an MRI yesterday to take a look at his knee. The same with freshman tackle Daniel Cage, who has played some impressive snaps this season. But the front seven of this football team — a group that had no margin for error from a depth perspective during training camp — has hit a critical state.The secondary isn’t much better. Getting Austin Collinsworth back was a nice boost, but the captain isn’t a great fit as an “in space” defender. But when you’re counting on a guy with a shoulder harness and a cornerback with a broken foot to be two key components, it’s going to result in 10-catch days for Kyle Prater.


Kyle Brindza. Notre Dame’s senior specialist had a horrific day at the office. He missed two key field goals that ended up being critical points. He also struggled punting the football, with two big misses setting up the Wildcats with great field position.

Brindza had help — a botched hold by Malik Zaire set up Brindza’s blocked extra point. But the senior kicker hooked a 38-yard field goal as the first half ended that could’ve extended Notre Dame’s halftime lead to a touchdown. The senior kicker also missed a crucial field goal in overtime, hooking another ball left to gift wrap the Wildcats’ victory in their first possession of overtime.

Punting the football was also a struggle. Brindza’s first bad punt — a 27-yarder — gave Northwestern the ball near midfield. It didn’t bite the Irish, with the defense stopping the Wildcats on a missed pass on 4th-and-3 in the second quarter.

But on 4th-and-9 from the Northwestern 44, Brindza took the field with an 11-point lead and the opportunity to pin the Wildcats deep with six minutes left in the game. Instead, he shanked a 17-yarder that jump-started Northwestern, with the Wildcats going nine plays and 73-yards in just 1:58.

Notre Dame’s all-time leading field goal kicker is making just 57 percent of his kicks this year, dropping his career average down to a musty 72 percent. With the center exchange and holder problems the Irish have had, it’s certainly not all on him. But a key veteran on the Irish roster is struggling… a recurring theme that we’ll get to later.


Drue Tranquill. Brian Kelly and Brian VanGorder tried to get a good football game out of Tranquill this weekend at safety, starting the freshman in place of Max Redfield. The move backfired in a big way, with Tranquill near or around many of the big Northwestern plays that went the Wildcats way.

On Sunday, Kelly explained his rationale for starting Tranquill.

“We thought that Drue gave us a better chance at that position,” Kelly said, a few questions before explaining the logic. “The game comes a little bit easier at times. Max is learning the game still. Drue has a little bit better feel for the game. It doesn’t mean he’s there. He certainly made a lot of mistakes in his first start. But we just felt like tackling and football knowledge, he may have been a guy that we wanted to give a shot, and we gave him a shot at starting, and now we’ll evaluate where we are at that position today and tomorrow.”

In defense of the decision, Kelly and VanGorder likely figured that a heavy dose of run plays and short passes would allow Tranquill to thrive in tight spaces, as he’s shown that ability through the earlier part of the season. But as a true, half-field safety, the freshman struggled mightily, showing a frustrating lack of success when it came to the basics of the position.

As a wake-up call to Redfield, this might work. We saw the sophomore make a big play on special teams and eventually work into the rotation at safety. But Tranquill sure isn’t a free safety — something Kelly said openly last month — and you have to wonder if Eilar Hardy will get some work against Louisville, even though he spent two months collecting dust away from the program while the academic investigation played out.



The Guys in the Headsets. It was not a banner day for the guys in charge of the Irish football program. While thousands of angry diatribes have already beaten the decision to go for two points to death, it’s still a head-scratching decision by Brian Kelly that allowed the Wildcats to stay in the game and ultimately win it.

Pinning this defeat on one mistake is completely unfair though. It was a team loss, with the players on the field and the coaches on the sideline and in the box all sharing the blame.

But after 10 games, it’s clear that this coaching staff needs to protect the team from itself. Offensively, that means putting some shackles back on the unit, even if it takes away from the productivity. While the box score will show complete play-calling balance with both 40 runs and 40 passes, the red zone play-calling had some people scratching their heads and allowing this offense to continue to turn the ball over has people shockingly asking for a return to the vanilla days of yesteryear.

Defensively, it’s very difficult to put all of this on Brian VanGorder. Especially when the first-year coordinator has more first-year contributors on the field than players who actually know what they’re doing. But too often we saw a defensive front with just Nyles Morgan behind it, the type of alignment that everybody in the stadium knows won’t work. Epecially as the freshman still sees things for the first time.

Any talk of firing coaches or hypothetical hot seats is silly. I repeat. Any talk of firing coaches or hot seats is silly.

After all, the game plan was there for Notre Dame to win if the guys on the field even competently did their jobs. But sometimes you win by not putting yourself in a position to lose.

That might need to be the strategy moving forward.


Leadership. If this team is missing anything, it’s a strong leadership presence in the locker room. And if this team is crying out for one thing more obvious than anything else, it’s a leader among men on the field.

Yes, I know the Irish have Cam McDaniel, Austin Collinsworth, Sheldon Day and Nick Martin wearing the “C” on their chests. But there is a gulf between the guys leading the team on the field and the ones supposed to be leading it off of it, and that was apparent in a game like this one.

I am not in the locker room. And this isn’t a “call out” or some hand grenade meant to indict a team that by all reports is doing everything their coaching staff asks. But the best players on this roster aren’t the team’s best leaders, and that’s incredibly apparent in games where you need veteran leaders to lead by example on the field.

That didn’t happen on Saturday, with Cam McDaniel fumbling the game away in a kill-the-clock situation. Or kicker Kyle Brindza, a four-year veteran, and not just a specialist, punting and kicking Northwestern back into the football game. (The Irish field goal/PAT unit was on the field seven times. They scored four points and gave up two. That’s not good.)

It’s not all the captains fault. Austin Collinsworth scored a key touchdown, in his only true action this season after being injured in the days before the opener. Sheldon Day may be Notre Dame’s most unblockable defensive lineman, but his first sack of the season came not long before suffering an injury. Nick Martin’s leadership skills don’t likely extend beyond the offensive line, a product of starting just 10 games before this season and being in the shadow of his older brother for three seasons.

There was a lot of discussion about naming captains this preseason. Ultimately, Kelly decided on veteran leaders, naming four guys who have “been there” in McDaniel, Collinsworth, Martin and Day. But the “loyal soldiers” approach hasn’t exactly paid off. And you’re fair to wonder if not having Everett Golson and Joe Schmidt wearing Cs is hurting this program.

Golson has been the face of this team, wearing the struggles of the offense on a weekly basis. That ownership is recognized by his teammates. Schmidt was the MVP of the defense before his injury. A force of nature on and off the field, he’s far removed from any walk-on label that still sticks to him in the media.

One of the challenges of a young team is straddling the line between the present and the future. Nine of the top 10 leading tacklers on defense have eligibility remaining. Same with the offense, where only McDaniel, Ben Koyack and Christian Lombard exhaust their eligibility from the two-deep.

If the Irish want to find a way to be successful in these final two regular season games, they’re going to need to find leadership both on the field and in the locker room from an emerging cast of characters. Schmidt can’t do it, not with a cast on his leg.

But the opportunity is there for Everett Golson, Tarean Folston or Will Fuller to seize those reins on offense, demanding accountability from a group that hasn’t played with it. And after looking lost without Schmidt by his side, Jaylon Smith is the obvious answer on a defense searching desperately for one.

In times like these, a bunker mentality is needed. We’ll see who takes charge moving forward in a critical juncture for the program.

Former Irish back Jonas Gray has monster game for Patriots

Jonas Gray Navy

Jonas Gray became the NFL’s overnight sensation. It only took three long years for him to get there.

The former Irish running back ran for 199 yards and four touchdowns last night for the Patriots. It was the first prolonged action of his NFL career after stints on the practice squads of the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens. New England head coach Bill Belichick called Gray’s number early and often last night, giving the 230-pound 38 carries as the Patriots overwhelmed the Colts with brute force.

That performance earned Gray some well-deserved national headlines, including the A-block of Peter King‘s Monday Morning Quarterback. King caught up with Gray last night after the victory, while also talking to NBC analysts Mike Mayock and Alex Flanagan about a running back who has disappeared from the limelight since his impressive senior season at Notre Dame in 2011.

From MMQB:

The story of Week 11 happened in Indianapolis, and it involved a player who was on the Patriots’ practice squad for the first six weeks of the season, a player any team in the NFL could have claimed and signed, for free, until the middle of October. “Obviously we didn’t want to expose him like that, but we did what we felt was best,” said coach Bill Belichick as the clock struck 12 Sunday night in Indianapolis.

The story was named Jonas Gray. The Patriots are doing what they always do—owning October and November—only this time looking like an old-fashioned power-running team. Using a sixth offensive lineman regularly, and at times using both a fullback and a blocking tight end on the same play, New England had the kind of dominant running day Woody Hayes used to put together, demolishing Indianapolis with a 244-19 edge in rushing yards.

Gray, undrafted, unloved and—at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday—unknown, had the best running day of any NFL back in the last 11 months: 38 carries, 199 yards, four touchdowns (one in each quarter). First half: 100 yards. Second half: 99 yards. Postgame: dazed.

Two things I found amazing: Gray never seemed to be winded, or tired, or showing the strain of what in today’s football is an amazing workload, especially for someone who in college or pro football had never carried this many times. And in 38 rushes, he had zero negative carries. It’s a pretty big difference in a game when it’s second-and-four or second-and-six consistently—and never second-and-12.

“When we get home,” Gray said in the New England locker room, “I’ll probably just lay in bed and look up at the ceiling and be just astonished at what’s going on. I’m just writing a great story, man.”

It’s hard not to focus on a story like Gray’s, especially after a difficult weekend at Notre Dame Stadium. And after Gray refused to let a major knee injury suffered against Boston College on Senior Day define his professional football career, his winding three-year odyssey post Notre Dame seems to have found a happy landing place in New England, where Patriots fans will certainly love their new battering ram this winter.

“I figure he’d go to a Senior Bowl, get drafted and have a nice career,” Mayock told King of Gray’s pro potential after watching his senior season. “He really broke out that year. Then he got hurt. Tore up his knee against Boston College. I had such profound sorrow for the kid.”

Do yourself a favor and read all of King’s words on Gray. It plays like a greatest hits album of the former Irish back who was the breakout star of the 2011 season… and three years later might be the same for the Patriots.

(Bonus commentary from Alex Flanagan, who reminds the world that Gray performed Standup Comedy… with Screech from Saved by the Bell.)


Kelly talks failed two-point play, moving on to Louisville

Brian Kelly

As you might have noticed, Notre Dame lost to Northwestern yesterday. And that’s got more than a few people unhappy.

While most of the noise has come via anonymous comments and message boards, that disappointment also resides in the Gug, where Brian Kelly, his coaching staff and a blunder-filled team are all feeling the pain. With everyone watching game tape and doing their best to move forward, Kelly talked Sunday about the lingering effects of a difficult overtime loss.

“I feel terrible about the loss because obviously we’re all part of it,” Kelly said, before acknowledging the back-fire of his two-point play. “If we go and kick the extra point, who knows how the game ends, right? So that’s on me.”

Digging a little deeper into that controversial decision, Kelly was asked again about his rationale on going for two. While he acknowledged the mistake after the game, especially with the conversion failing, Kelly back-pedaled a bit when it came to his rationale.

Postgame, it seemed the struggles in the snapper-holder exchange fueled the decision. But Kelly stepped away from that being the main reason he opted to keep his offensive on the field.

“That wasn’t the first thought,” Kelly said. “I think probably more than anything else, chasing the points, that was probably the first thought, and then the kicking game. I don’t think the kicking game was the first thing that came into my mind.”

While Irish fans will likely carry this forward into the offseason, the guys actually playing the game don’t have that luxury. So Kelly talked a little bit about the plan moving forward, especially with a 7-3 Louisville team coming to town next weekend.

“We’ll go over all the things that we’ve got to do better as coaches and players, and then we’ll go back to work,” Kelly said. “The reality of it is we’re seven points away from being 9 1, and very easily can correct that to get this team to two more wins. “We feel terrible about it. It’s a game that we let get away from us. Shouldn’t have happened, but we also know that we can win our last two games.”

Five things we learned: Northwestern 43, Notre Dame 40

Northwestern v Notre Dame

Apologies to Van Morrison’s mother. There didn’t have to be days like this.

Notre Dame’s overtime 43-40 loss to Northwestern Saturday is a game that defies explanation. Turnovers. Mistakes. Coaching blunders. They all add up to the worst Saturday Brian Kelly has ever had at Notre Dame Stadium, and perhaps one of the worst defeats in his 20-plus year coaching career.

Watch a replay of the game

Playing against a hapless Northwestern team, the Wildcats came back from an 11-point deficit in the game’s final minutes to force overtime. They did so courtesy of mistakes both mental and physical, by players both young and old, and a head coach who certainly should know better.

Credit Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats for pulling off the upset, keeping their dwindling bowl hopes alive by getting their fourth win of the year. But make no mistake, this game was lost by Notre Dame.

Finding new ways to stub their toes, the Irish loss pushes Notre Dame out of realistic New Years Day bowl contention, likely outside the Top 25, and into a final two-game stretch that should have everybody on “free-fall” alert.

Let’s finding out what else we learned.



“Millions of excuses, but no single reason.” However you slice it, this loss is on Brian Kelly. 

Great Notre Dame football coaches can lose to Northwestern. So while some will want to run Brian Kelly out of town for this defeat, history won’t likely define him by this horrifying defeat. Just ask Lou Holtz.

The last time Northwestern visited South Bend, the Wildcats pulled off an even bigger upset, shocking an Irish team that was nearly four-touchdown favorites. And that means Kelly will have to endure a week like the one Holtz battled through early in the 1995 season.

But maybe Kelly can learn from Dr. Lou on how to handle this. The former Irish coach responded to a fan letter in the days after the difficult loss with this message, one Kelly would be wise to grasp:

Dear Bill:

Thank you very much for your letter. I really am sorry about the way we played against Northwestern, and yet I can’t quite understand it. I think I could give you a million different excuses, Bill, but not a single reason. All I know to do at a time like this is to follow your advice and persevere.

You were most kind to write.

That’s got to be how the Irish feel after this loss. There are millions of different excuses, but no single reason. It’s easy to point to the obvious. Bad math on a two-point play. Cam McDaniel’s game-clinching fumble. Two turnovers as the Irish are on the verge of crossing the goal line. A defense that gave up over 500 yards to the worst Power Five offense in college football.

But make no mistake. This one is on Kelly. And now the Irish head coach will have to go on a puzzling search to pick up the pieces before preparing for a Louisville team that’ll be smelling blood.

In his postgame comments, Kelly said all the right things. At his most succinct, he said the obvious:

“We’ve got to coach better. We’ve got to play better.”




This is not the same defense we saw in September. 

Notre Dame’s self-destruction will be well-chronicled this week. And after getting past Kelly, quarterback Everett Golson and critical fumbles by Chris Brown and Cam McDaniel, the spotlight will turn to Brian VanGorder and his crumbling defense.

The shine has come off VanGorder, who went from meme to punchline in roughly 60 days. The first-year defensive coordinator watched his team give up 547 yards to a team that averages just 322 yards a game. Against the least explosive offense in all of power-five football, the young Irish defense was gashed early and often by big plays.

The razor-thin edge VanGorder’s defense lived on in September is long gone. And so is most of the personnel that had this group playing well.

Sheldon Day was in a brace from hip to ankle on the sideline, not a good sign for Notre Dame’s best defensive lineman. Jarron Jones looked like a fraction of the player who destroyed the interior of Florida State’s defensive line. The loss of Daniel Cage forced a defensive line with Jacob Matuska, Grant Blankenship and Andrew Trumbetti into action. That’s like looking at the 2007 front four.

Without Joe Schmidt, the linebacking corps look lost. That includes Jaylon Smith, who started the season on an All-American trajectory and could be lost in orbit at this point. Nyles Morgan struggled mightily again, and then lost his cool, trying even harder to find his way into the back of the doghouse.

The secondary is in even worse shape. Brian Kelly and the defensive staff decided Drue Tranquill would get the start over Max Redfield. The freshman safety, who up until this afternoon was one of the best surprises of the season, did his best to make the staff regret it nearly every play he was involved in.

And while Austin Collinsworth’s scoop-and-score was the type of senior memory the captain deserved, from that play forward, the veteran looked overwhelmed, the long layoff and shoulder injury nullifying him for most of the game. There’s enough pressure on the secondary without without accounting for a pass rush that’s non-existent.

It’s worth point out that even with these injuries, it wasn’t all bad for the defense. They forced four turnovers, keeping the Irish even in that all-important battle. Collinsworth’s touchdown recovery and Matthias Farley’s end-zone interception kept the Irish in it. Cole Luke’s interception should’ve bailed Notre Dame out again. But that feels a little bit like beautiful window dressing on a burning house.

At this point, there’s no hiding this group. Not without a base defense, a simplified scheme that can serve as the bedrock of this unit. Under Bob Diaco, the Irish had that. But with nothing but kids and leftovers on the field, there’s nothing to lean on. So VanGorder is going to have to pull a rabbit out of a seemingly empty hat these next two weeks.



Notre Dame’s special teams finally cost them a football game. 

Heading into this season Kyle Brindza was set to go down in Notre Dame’s record books as the school’s best kicker. Now he can’t even be counted on to make an extra point or come through in the clutch — his best trait heading into 2014.

A week after a change at holder, Notre Dame’s brutal special teams unit cost the Irish dearly, with Malik Zaire fumbling an extra-point snap, allowing a Wildcat defender to block and return a point-after attempt for a two-point play. That three-point swing turned out to be rather important.

Brindza also hooked two critical field goal attempts wide left (including one in overtime, the goat to Northwestern kicker Jack Mitchell’s heroic day). The senior kicker who before this season had ice water in his veins, just couldn’t get it done in any facet, shanking a 17-yard punt when a good kick was desperately needed as well.

It’s not all on him. A kicker without confidence in his battery is a lost soul. After the game, Kelly talked about the struggles with the PAT battery when he decided to make the controversial decision to go for two in an 11-point game. That decision created a two-possession game, a margin needed for Northwestern’s comeback to even be possible.

A year after the Irish ended the season with woeful coverage units and in need of rebuilding a broken facet of the game, it looks like Notre Dame will have to do it again, only with a unit even more critical to the team’s success.



Whatever happens going forward, Everett Golson needs to believe in himself. 

The box score will show more turnovers from Everett Golson. A fumbled zone read play that cost the Irish greatly. An interception that bounced off a lineman’s helmet and once again into the wrong team’s arms. But after hurting his shoulder early in the second half, Golson played well enough for his team to win.

A stat-line of 21 for 40 for 287 and three touchdowns and one interception on a cold, blustery day is not the problem. (There were probably five drops in that total.) Nor was his afternoon running the football, a career-high 78 rushing yards that included a 61-yard touchdown that opened the scoring.

But if there’s a worry you should have moving forward, it’s that Golson has lost some of the self-belief and unteachable football instincts that make him the dangerous quarterback that he is. And that’s something Brian Kelly can stop.

If I’m Kelly this week, I’m doubling-down on Golson. This is his team, and Golson is his quarterback. We can spend hours debating Malik Zaire and competition next year, but ultimately it’s no secret to anybody inside the program that Golson is the team’s quarterback for this season and next. So the mission moving forward is to make sure this loss is Golson’s rock bottom, and he plays out the season on an upwards trajectory.

Kelly showed that faith in his quarterback down the stretch, choosing to throw for critical third-down conversions instead of running the ball. And Golson came through. But with multiple fires burning in the Irish kitchen, Kelly should put the most talked about one out now.

Golson is his quarterback. Period.



Next Year might still be the year. But Brian Kelly and his coaching staff are going to need to do some serious coaching, and go to see what the kids can do. 

In many ways, Cam McDaniel’s fumble might be a blessing in disguise. Because while the senior captain is a wonderful team leader and a player that deserves respect, he’s not one of the team’s best three running backs. And he’s certainly not going to be a part of the equation for an Irish team that now needs to look to a bright future in 2015.

With three losses, it’s time for Kelly and his coaching staff to make some tough decisions. And that might mean coaching for 2015. That’s not to minimize the next two football games. Both are critical to the present and the future. But in some 50-50 matchups where veterans are playing, it’s time to see what the kids can do.

That means giving Mike McGlinchey a shot at right tackle, working him into the rotation with fifth-year veteran Christian Lombard. It also means looking at players like Colin McGovern and the rest of the talented depth chart likely chomping at the bit while the offensive line plays just adequately.

If the secondary is at bare bones, let’s see Nick Watkins get in the mix in the secondary, especially with Cody Riggs injured and Watkins already playing through his freshman eligibility.

If the Pinstripe Bowl was when Kelly forced Max Redfield into the lineup, the head coach and his talented sophomore safety need to kiss and make up, because Redfield is a part of the future, even if it’s been a bumpy road the past few months. So is Tranquill, but in a role better suited for his skillset. Veteran Matthias Farley showed he’s a part of that group too, another huge game for a veteran that’s gone through the fire and emerged a better player.

The next project should be Greg Bryant. The sophomore running back showed some frustration on social media in the immediate aftermath of the football game, but he needs to play his way through inexperience. That’s easier to do with McDaniel fumbling away the game and missing pass blocking assignments as well.

After nightmares like today, looking forward is difficult. But while Saturday’s shocking loss took 2014 off track, Kelly would be wise not to let it do the same to next season.

Live chat — Notre Dame vs. Northwestern

Michigan v Notre Dame

After a long time away from South Bend, the Irish finally return home to Notre Dame Stadium. Met by Northwestern, the Irish have a chance to get back to their winning ways, against a Wildcat team that’s 3-6 and struggling in a less-than-stellar Big Ten.

Watch a replay of the game

Still, after a difficult to understand implosion against Arizona State, what Notre Dame team we see this afternoon remains to be seen. On defense, the Irish have given up 42 points a game over the last month after giving up just a dozen a game through the first five.

On offense, Everett Golson’s turnovers have marred the productivity of Brian Kelly’s best group since he’s taken over the program. On a Saturday where the Irish are prohibitive favorites, Northwestern fans still can think back to 1995 when the Irish were shocked as nearly four-touchdown favorites.

As usual, we’re here to chat. Sign in (it’s easy, free, and won’t harm you or your computer), and join along in the fun.

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