Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

The Back Corner Fade

October 2, 2019

I can’t even come up with the words I’d use to describe this past week’s tussle with Virginia. Ugly? Beautiful? Odd? Maybe a little bit of them all. The defense was a thing of beauty. I honestly can’t remember a better half of defensive football played by Notre Dame against a quality opponent. Make no mistake, Virginia is going to win a lot of football games over the course of the next two months and the Irish defense dismantled them. I gained a great deal of respect for UVA QB, Bryce Perkins. That kid took a savage beating and he kept coming back play after play. 

The offense. Sigh……oh dear, that offense. Hopefully, they did notice something when they went to the two TE formation and ran for power. Tony Jones is never going to bring back memories of Ricky Watters once he gets to the second level, but having a Ray Zellers isn’t bad either. He can grind pepper when the game calls for it to get the tough yards. I couldn’t have been happier to see him go for a buck-30. 

I’m not going to even touch on the passing game. You fine folks have touched on that a bit and we will leave it right there.

This week really was a dud for games. I wish I could put a polish on it, but it was simply a bad slate of contests. Here’s a few takeaways….

I was watching La. Tech and Rice (don’t laugh, the OSU-NU game was over by the end of the 1st) and it made me smile to see Skip Holtz line up in the T-formation on a 4th and short. Wonder where he learned that one? Speaking of Rice: why do the continue to play in that massive stadium? Tear that down and build a 30,000 facility. That’s way more than enough for the parents of the players and the 10’s of Owl fans that frequent the games.

I guess Clemson had their yearly close call as they were a 2 pt. conversion away from losing to Mack Brown’s Tar Heels. A week after getting beat up by Appy St, and they come back and turn in an effort like that. Wow. Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde. They beat South Carolina, lose to a rebuilding Miami, lose to ASU, then turn in a terrific effort against the Tigers. Mack Brown will recruit there. Does that translate in to wins is yet to be seen, but they’ll be “the team you don’t want to play” for the next few years just because you don’t know what you’re going to get.

Jalen Hurts had almost 400 yards of total offense against Texas Tech…….in the first half. Granted I’d never mistake Texas Tech for playing defense. I mean they’re out there running around, and the overall goal is to tackle guys, preferably close to the LOS, but it rarely works that way.

Virginia Tech is in shambles. I don’t know any other way to put it. Losing by 35 points at home to Duke has to be the low point for a program that really has been as steady as you can get over the past 25 years. I thought Brian Fuentes was a great hire when they got him. In three years, that program hasn’t had a ray of sunshine and it’s only getting worse. Even the great Bud Foster seems to have mailed it in. 45 points to Duke at home? That’s just sad.

Pitt never fails! One week after pulling the massive upset against UCF, they pull off a head-scratching 17-14 win against Delaware. Death, taxes, and Nard Dog can’t put two solid weeks together in row. It’s simply clock work.

Yet another “blah” week in terms of big time games, but at least there’s some games of interest. Here’s what we have:

Stop the press! SMU is back in the AP Top 25. I’m surprised the NCAA doesn’t have the planes gassed up and heading to Dallas as we speak to take a look at what kind of hijinx are going on in that program. If you care they play Tulsa this week and are currently 5-0. Get bowl eligible, get a Porsche. 

How bad are the Tennessee Vols? How about a 24.5 point dog at home to Georgia bad. The once House of Horrors known as Neyland Stadium has been reduced to a really big place with a bunch of folks dressed up in “ar-nge.” Jake and Deondre will be on the sidelines with towels around their necks early in this one. UGA 42-13.

Texas travels to West Virginia to play an unknown Mountaineers team. They’ve beat NC State, who is down (good. Couldn’t happen to a bigger tool) and Kansas, but were blown out by a blah Missouri team. I expect it to be a game for the 1st half with well-fueled up Mountaineer faithful in full throat making it a tough environment. In the end, too much talent for the ‘Horns. UT 38-20

Mola Ram Offering to the Cupcake Gods: Kent vs. Wisconsin. A week after sleepwalking through their win against Northwestern, I would expect a much better effort and the boys from Kent are going to be the wimp they get to take out from what is probably going to be a tough week of practice of for Bucky. I mean Kent is bad. But they’re not the most feeble team in the MAC….. (oh by the way, UW 49-3)

Ty Willingham once was quoted as saying, no not “Damn! Short. I should have hit an 8-iron,” but “my idea of a perfect offensive day would be to run for three hundred yards and to pass for three hundred yards.” I remember hearing that and rolling my eyes. Well, there was a team that actually not only hit 300 yards in both categories, they actually had 375 yards rushing and 375 yards passing in the same game. That team was the Kent State Golden Flashes and they did it against this week’s opponent, the Bowling Green Falcons two weeks ago.

The last time we saw BVG he was giving up tons of yards to Duke and unceremoniously shown the door. He popped up for a stint at Louisville helping deep six that program, and now he’s back with his 70’s bad cop lip lettuce (or is 2019 bad coordinator fuzz) with his calculus on grass defense trying to stop Ian Book and the boys. No disrespect to the players or students at BGSU, but getting into school there is well, not like getting into ND. If our smart kids were flummoxed by his brand of defense and how it was suppose to be run, what makes anyone think that the kids at BG or any other school not in the Ivy League figure it out. One last thought on dear Brian: he looks like he’s really into songs talking about “ramblin’.”

As for the game, what really is there to say? This is as bad a team as Notre Dame has played since, well, New Mexico three weeks ago. Obviously, this is a game where we can get some things tuned-up and hopefully make some strides on the offensive side of the ball. The problem with this game is that BG is so bad, our starters probably got a better look when they’re going against the 2’s in camp than what they’ll see in Saturday. Just get out of here healthy, confident, and ready for the boys from the west coast the following week. ND 59-3.

Beat Bowling Green……..I can’t believe I just said that.

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