Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction | UGA 23 Notre Dame 17

September 22, 2019
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Almost doesn’t count, which is the theme yet again for Notre Dame in a big game like this. If they won it would have been a breakthrough in a lot of ways. Coming up just short yet again will keep the narrative going that the Irish can’t win against elite competition, even if they have proven yet again they can hang with them.

No one wants a consolation prize, but the prize for the Irish is that they are going to win a lot of games this year. They are legit. They are much better than they showed in the first couple of games. They are just short of that top tier, but perhaps they can climb into it if they continue to get better.

As heartbreaking as the result was, there is still plenty left to play for. No player on the team wants to hear that now, not again. But it’s true. It just won’t sink in until tomorrow.

- As it always seems to in these games, the defense came to play. They held D’Andre Swift under 100 yards. Georgia was running through people this season and that didn’t happen in this game.

I was very impressed with how the defensive line played the run, especially Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. The linebacker play is night and day compared to that first game. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah took his game up a level. Drew White had another two tackles for loss.

The group as a whole deserved so much better and I think would have been better if the offense didn’t fall apart for the 3rd quarter (2.1 yards per play).

The defense was the most encouraging part of what I watched tonight.

- The one area where the defense didn’t make enough of an impact was the pass rush. They couldn’t get enough pressure with four no matter what four that they used. Fromm was pressured only a handful of times and mostly by the blitz.

Julian Okwara had a hit on Fromm early that caused an incompletion, but I don’t think I can recall another big impact pass rush from a defensive lineman. All credit goes to the Georgia offensive line who protected very well.

- Fromm was fantastic for most of the night. Those Lawrence Cager back shoulder catches were great plays by both players. I just don’t know what anyone could do to defend that when the execution is that good.

- The Havoc Rate was only 15.3% and the pass rush had a lot to do with that. The tackles for loss to put Georgia in long yardage were big, though. Tariq Bracy finishing through for his two pass breakups were huge as well.

- Those false start penalties were absolute killers. It’s easier said than done to execute a silent count with that many fans that loud the entire game. Would be nice if some Notre Dame alums didn’t decide to sell their tickets so the Irish could get that kind of advantage in a big home game.

- Early in the game with Notre Dame getting the ball at Georgia’s 40 and not ending up with points was not going to cut it in this scenario.

- I couldn’t be more impressed with how Jay Bramblett has performed so far this season. He had another strong game, especially considering how bad the Georgia punter was.

- It’s hard not to think Notre Dame didn’t take enough advantage of Georgia being down two corners. I would have like to see Ian Book target Chase Claypool on those back shoulder throws more.

For the most part, the only way the Irish moved the ball were through big plays through the air and my initial reaction is that Notre Dame did not take enough shots down the field.

- Notre Dame needed Cole Kmet to come up and be an elite player and he was. That is something the Irish can build off of. Him and Chase Claypool give Notre Dame two players that defenses will have to scheme to stop.

If they can find one or two more guys, then the offense can open up in a big way going forward.

- I thought Chip Long did get some redemption for the game he called against Georgia a couple of years ago. His first half especially was very good. Maybe we look at the second half differently if Chris Finke doesn’t drop that 3rd down pass that leads to an interception. Or maybe if Georgia didn’t have a corner blitz called on the flea flicker that took away the deep option and eventually led to the interception by JR Reed (what a ridiculously great play by him).

- I’ll have a better idea when I go back and watch it, but I actually thought this was a game where Book could have ran a bit more. I know he had some issues staring down some throws in the second half and double clutched a couple of times when he could have got rid of the ball sooner, but I also recognize he was put in a position where the entire game rested on him.

The running game was not an option worth going to.

- It’s pretty clear that a back like Tony Jones isn’t going to be a guy who can make splash plays against a team like Georgia. If it’s blocked for three, he may get five. But he’s not going to get 13. Or 30.

I don’t know if Jafar Armstrong or Jahmir Smith can be a back who can do that much more either. We have to see it before we can believe. The problem is that Notre Dame didn’t even have them as options in this game and that hurts.

This is a game where an Irish fan had to wish they had a Chris Tyree type of talent in the backfield.

- Notre Dame is going to destroy Virginia next week at home. I wondered about the response from the team after a game like this, but I think it will strengthen them over the next few weeks.

- Yards per play usually tell a fairly accurate story of how close the game was. UGA had 5.7 YPP. Notre Dame had 5.3. 

That seems about right.

 
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