The good, the bad, the ugly: Washington

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Upon further review, the Irish still won the football game against the Huskies on a rain-soaked Saturday in South Bend. While Husky fans might want a review of a few plays around the goal-line, and Irish fans want an explanation for the bizarre roughing the snapper penalty that gave UW four free plays at the one-yard line, Steve Sarkisian probably said it best in his post-game comments:

“Great college football game.”

Notre Dame sits at 4-1 heading into a much needed bye week before a certain team from Los Angeles comes to town. As Charlie Weis said in his comments Sunday, the Irish are a team with “plenty of flaws,” but one thing you can’t question is their heart. There was plenty of good, plenty of bad, and plenty of ugly Saturday. Let’s get to it.

THE GOOD

Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate, Manti Te’o and Nick Tausch. Let’s start with Tausch. When’s the last time the Irish have had a weapon as a field goal kicker? This kid is a marksman, and certainly has guts. On a sloppy track, Tausch drilled every kick the offense left him. Ideally, he’ll get a little better on the kickoffs, but 5 for 5 is a nice day at the office. The coaching staff told us we’d be seeing a lot of Te’o, and they weren’t kidding. Manti’s 10 tackles led the linebacking crew, and were second to only tackling machine Kyle McCarthy. He made some mistakes, but his speed off the edge and running things down was noticeable immediately.  Tate’s historic day was the best of any receiver in college football this season, and the 244 receiving yards are the most yards ever put up against a Washington Husky defense. Tate put the offense on his back, and made play after play running wild in the Husky secondary. Clausen’s great day put him atop the NCAA ratings for quarterbacking efficiency. His mobility in the pocket has turned into one of his assets and his final drive in regulation was almost too efficient. Great individual efforts by these players, and I might also add the excellent job that Sam Young did on Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, keeping him out of the backfield, and limiting hit to only two tackles.

THE BAD

The Irish defense on 98 percent of the field. Outside of the one-yard-lines, the Irish defense looked inept tackling Jake Locker and running back Chris Polk. Too often Polk moved the pile or ran out of the arm tackles of Irish defenders, moving the chains and pushing around many defenders who whiffed early and often, I feel bad classifying the Irish defense after their efforts on the goal-line, but for a fourth consecutive game, the squad looked porous.

THE UGLY

The sloppy track at Notre Dame Stadium. Plenty of college football stadiums play on natural grass surfaces. But why is it that Notre Dame’s field always seems to be in the worst condition of all of them? I’m sure Notre Dame hires capable people to maintain the field, but on the wet surfaces, chunks of turf seemed to be popping up every play. When your home field is the best defender against your team’s quarterback, it’s time to figure out what the problem is with the turf.