We all feel like crap, right? Good. Let's review the important facts.
"But what about those bogus Pass Interference calls?!?!?"
FACT: The Notre Dame defense gave up 41 points.
"Those Tommy Rees interceptions cost us the game!!!"
FACT: The Notre Dame defense gave up 41 points
I was in the stands last September as an emotional Notre Dame Stadium rallied around our resilient Irish time and time again during a 13-6 slugfest that personified the 2012 Fighting Irish season. It's time for a reality check - the 2013 defense is lacking leaders and a feel for the moment. Coverages are consistently blown, 3rd downs are consistently converted, inexperienced players are being exposed ... and the secondary is no longer protected by Manti Te'o. We all felt it last week against Temple, but the game in the Big House shone a bright spotlight on the missing aspect in the middle of the Irish defense.
Devin Gardner completed 64% of his passes and routinely found NOTHING in front of him when breaking contain en route to 82 yards rushing at a 6.3 Yards/Carry clip. Bennett Jackson & Keivarae Russell's performance's left much to be desired while Gardner tossed 4 TDs and averaged 9 yards per completion. Just a brutal performance by a defensive back unit that under whelmed for a second consecutive week.
It's going to be a LONG week in South Bend. Rees tossed 51 pass attempts while Amir Carlisle averaged 5.3 yards/attempt and George Atkinson III averaged 7.4 yards/attempt. They were playing from behind but not far enough behind that Notre Dame only mustered 19 rushing attempts.
We're all used to the reality that once a loss has taken place for Notre Dame that the National Championship moves into "pipe dream" mode. There is no conference to win or banner to hang. It's been a 22 months since this stared us in the face. It's not a lot of fun.
I love using Tommy Rees as a punching bag but this one was on the defense. BK could have helped that unit more, though, by acknowledging that we have all the equipment necessary for a power run game, and use that. His pass-happy approach has become predictable.
Good thoughts. I don't feel a need to crucify Rees because yes, two INTs but he also was forced to throw 51 times. That shouldn't have to happen. Luckily we have two absolute inept offenses in front of us to allow the defense to tweak some things before OU.
Also, not to take last night lightly, but USC and Texas's losses put things in perspective. We've been down rabbit hole before and we're finally out. This loss hurts but 10-2 is still a legitimate goal.