Halftime Observation ND 45 Georgia Tech 0 At the 8:26 mark of the first quarter I wrote in my notes, “Coan not looking sharp today.” He was 1-3 at that point and had been sacked twice. He completed his next 15 passes and finished the half 15-18 for 285 yards and 2 TDs! Never mind. I hope Jack Kiser, he of the 50 yard pick six, is okay. With 45 points, ND exceeds the season best for points in a full game. You asked for “style points”? YOU GOT ‘EM!
With 354 yards total but only 69 on the ground in the first half, I would expect ND to force the run more in the second half, give some PT to Tyler Buchner and look for senior after senior and a few walk ons to get “Senior Day” playing time in the last 5 minutes.
What actually happened The Irish did play it more vanilla in the second half and Georgia Tech looked to be happy to just find a way to get it over with. Buchner played a bunch, walk on QB senior Cole Capen got snaps and so did Freshman Audric Estime, Estime is going to be a good one. Remember Jerome Bettis?
Well You don’t have to be so defensive about it With 55 points scored, you would think that the offense would be the first thing I talked about. No lets talk defense as in THEY HAVE NOT GIVEN UP A TOUCHDOWN IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER! Six sacks today and 10 tackles for loss and not one, but TWO scores by the defense. Asked about the areas the Irish have focused on since some early season defensive breakdowns post game, Brian Kelly answered directly, “Gap responsibility, zone defense and tackling”. Apparently that was the head coach’s decree and apparently they have listened. Besides Kiser’s pick six and Myron Tagoviola-Amosa’s 70 yard fumble recovery rumble to paydirt, there were other outstanding individual efforts. Bo Bauer led the team with 9 tackles, Isiah Pryor had 7 and a sack and Howard Cross III had 2 sacks.
Wheel of Offensive Fortune So many weapons so little time. Jack Coan has been an efficiency machine since the 4th quarter of the Virginia Tech game, this week he dialed up another 75% completion rate day. 15-20 for 285 yards and two TDs, no interceptions. That’s good football. Kyren Williams had an “oh hum day” and most of the second half off, 11-57 yards and 2 TDs and another 31 yards on 4 catches. Logan Diggs had 2 TDs, one on the ground and one through the air. Michael Mayer had another big day catching 3 for 86 yards including one that went for 52 yards to the end zone. Kevin Austin 2 catches for 89 yards and Audric Estimae, 6 carries 61 yards. I could go on, but you get the message. Chris Tyree, had a nice 50 yard kickoff return to start the game, and Kyren has provided a spark to the punt return game.
The Irish right now are full of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, so spin the wheel and make a fortune!
Leaps of Faith Last week it was Logan Diggs executing the oncoming defender leap frog move. This week it was another ND freshman running back, Audric Estime who made the move in the 4th quarter. Estime’s leap was not quite as clean as Digg’s move but it was exciting to watch in both cases, even if you do hold your breath becasue you know injuries can occur on such plays. Diggs was asked post game to grade Estime’s leap, “We’ve both been doing it since high school. Whatever the intention is, it’s not a pre-determined thing. IT’s just instinct. I give him an A for Effort.”
Style Points are Us The two most over used words in the Notre Dame football media last week had to be, “style points”. A happy Brian Kelly post game even made a “style points” reference. “It was just a terrific day. Guys executed at a high level. What’s not to like about what happened today? No injuries that I was informed of. Players played to their potential, and we go three weeks now without giving up a touchdown. For those that are interested in style points — and I know you don’t like me for this, but I’m not — I covered that one too. I’ve got to be popular today.”
Indeed by beating Georgia Tech in such dominant fashion, there can be no doubt that the Irish are playing outstanding football right now, and it is obvious without even looking very close.
Kelly took it a step further by answering critics who pointed out his team only beat Virginia 28-3 and the Cavaliers were missing their star QB Brennan Armstrong, “People talk about the quarterback didn’t play, but if you watch that game, we were in control of that game from the start to the finish.”
You know what, he is absolutely correct about that.
Quick Hits. Brian Kelly reported postgame that Jack Kisor’s second quarter injury was to an ankle and was not serious, “nothing structurally”….The Irish did not commit any turnovers and they are now +8 on the season in the category……for the second time this season the Irish defense has scored two TDs-they also did it against Wisconsin….55-0 is the largest ND shutout margin since 1996 when the Irish defeated Rutgers 62-0 in Lou Holtz‘s last home game.
What it all means Oregon and Michigan State lost so two more dominoes have fallen. ND should advance to sixth in this week’s CFP rankings. Banking on a win at Stanford next week (never an easy task but hopefully it will come with some “style points”), if so, the Irish will again almost certainly move up and over the loser of Michigan-Ohio State. So the Irish will be 5th, and will need to hold their relative ranking against a hard charging Oklahoma State team that will play Oklahoma twice. If they do that , it comes down to either Cincinnati losing to Houston (possible), or Alabama losing to either Auburn next week or to Georgia in the SEC Championship and the committee moving the Irish above a two loss Alabama team. It’s possible.
See you in Palo Alto, don’t eat too much turkey and…..
THAT’s A WRAP!