One For The Ages, Hail To The Victors!

Ok, so a great number of months ago I wrote a post lamenting the fact that we had signed a long term deal to play Notre Dame.  I was short-sighted and wrong.   Yesterday was a perfect example of just why we play Notre Dame and why this is one of the great rivalries in the sport.  Once again on the national stage (for all the right reasons this time) on a perfect day for football with an absolutely tremendous atmosphere, and the game that played out like that?  Wooooo (!!!!) indeed.

Onto the collection of thoughts:

General what-have-you:

- !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- That was far and away the best Notre Dame team I have seen in a long long time, beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I would not hesitate one bit to say that will be the best offense we see this season.

- Notre Dame played a darn solid football game, in fact they played extremely well and got beat.  They came back from down 11 not once but twice.

- The crowd was awesome, the 110,278 were thunderous throughout and it sure seemed like there were fewer ND fans there than in prior years, which was a pleasant surprise.  Student section was awesome.  All the questions about whether or not the structures would make a difference have been answered with a resounding yes.

- Speaking of the structures, the shadow from the Western building covers the entire field by the time the second half rolls around, a few more lights might be called for on these 3:30 starts.

- I know they specifically built those seats in the student section for the band, but they need to move them, you simply cannot hear them if you're anywhere South of the 50 yardline.

- Clausen was more accurate, but he still really rushes throws when he is pressured in any way (which was infrequent at best yesterday) and the majority of the passing game is predicated on chucking it deep, this strategy works entirely because of Tate and Floyd, more on that later.

- The ND kick return guy touched the ball on our "squibb" kick, hence why the clock ran, if I can see it 40 rows up it shouldn't be that hard for people watching in HD to determine it too.

- WOO coaching adjustments, WOO clock managment, WOO play calling, WOOO!

- I'm going to preface this one; I was/am a big Lloyd Carr fan.  But you CANNOT tell me that any time over the past 15 years we would've gone for it on 4th and 3 like we did on Forcier's lightning bolt TD.  We punt that ball 100 times out of 100 with the old regime.  

Offense

- Tate Forcier, I mean what can you say?  An epic performance.  The play before the winning TD was one of the greatest individual efforts I have ever seen, for him to avoid the sack and get the ball to Savoy in the corner of the endzone was nothing short of ridiculous.  The ensuing drop was soul-crushing for approximately 5 seconds, and yes it was tipped.  

- Savoy's catches got us into that position in the first place, don't forget that.

- So much for that shutout of Nevada eh?  You cannot put into words how much better this offense is, you just can't.

- Brandon Minor averaged 10 YPC on his first 9 touches of the day and ended up with 106 yards on 16 touches and 1 TD.  It is an appreciable difference when he is in there in terms of how he hits the hole and accelerates, welcome back sir.

- Did not see Shaw even once yesterday, which surprised me.  Carlos looked great on a few screens, although he made a few catches a little more dramatic than they probably needed to be.

- Lost Moosman late in the game, which last year would've been DOOM, and this year we put in Dorrestein and didn't miss a beat... awesome.  I thought the offensive line did a GREAT job against a much faster opponent this week.

- 1st and goal on the 1 and no points... ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  That was one of my few criticisms of the play-calling yesterday.  I'd rather us stay in the shotgun and keep the D spread out, let Minor see the blocking and pick his spot rather than just barreling into the line from the I-form and let the D put everyone in the box.

- Kevin Koger, Greg Mathews, LaTerryal Savoy, and Darryl Stonum all stepped up big-time.  Tate's one poor throw of the day was to Koger when there wasn't a defender within 20 yards of him on our second to last drive...  I just can't say enough about how well the offense has done getting our receivers into space thus far.

- Absolutely nothing but praise for the playcalling and clock management on that final drive, awesome job Coach, awesome job.

More after the jump...

Defense

- Wellllllllllllllllll we held on didn't we?  Yeegads.

- Hardly any pressure on Clausen at all, this was due to a combination of very quick drops/throws, max protect, relatively little blitzing, a solid ND O-line, and yes, the occasional BLATANT hold on whomever was assigned to block Graham and Roh.  

- Not one deep ball given up, yes ND moved through the air very well, but considering how much of an island we put Warren and Cissoko on out there, to not give up the one play drive was really encouraging.

- Warren's coverage of Tate on ND's final possession was PERFECT, Warren ran the route for him and had position the whole time, nevermind Tate hugging him to keep him from picking it off.  I've seen loads of whining about this (shock!) from ND fans who can promptly stick it where the sun don't shine for all I care.

Halftime adjustments!  The third quarter performance on D was huge.  The perfect screens from the first half were suddenly being snuffed for no gain.  We gave up something like 308 yards in the first half and then somewhere around 35 in the 3rd quarter?  Phew.

- Would've never guessed we would've let them gash us on the ground like they did... it was hard to tell if we were caught out of position or if there were some poor pursuit angles taken by the safeties coming up in run support, but there were some enormous holes out there.  Overall the ND O-line turned in a fantastic performance when they weren't holding the bejeezus out of our defenders.

- No Vlad Emelien... Beauford brought this up when we talked after the game, the guy who came on when Williams was hurt (whom I can't even find on the roster) played well, but I was under the impression Vlad was contending for a starting spot, anything going on with him?  EDIT: The safety who came in was Jordan Kovacs who is #22 on the official roster but I believe was sporting #32 yesterday, and again, nice job sir.

- Floyd is the real deal.

Special teams

- WOOOOOO SHADES OF STEVE BREASTON WOOOOO!  What a bolt from above that was.

- Zoltan needs to just settle down, he's misfiring more often than he's hitting moon shots.

- Tate's pooch punt was a thing of beauty and a great call

- Could've done without the missed chipshot FG, but Olesnavage again looked solid on the one at the end of the first half.

- Kick coverage looked less solid this week, the big one we let go right up the gut was particularly frustrating.

The takeaway

- Enormous win for this team and the program, just enormous.

GO BLUE!!!

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