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Notre Dame Football

5 Most Rewatchable Notre Dame Games of the BK Era

March 20, 2020
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Everyone is going through the same thing right now. Usually in tough times we have sports as an escape. Right now that’s not an option.

But even though live sports aren’t there to distract us, we do have the ability to rewatch some of our favorite games from the past. At the moment, I think many of us would benefit from the joy of looking back on these games.

One of my favorite podcasts is The Rewatchables, where movies that we love to watch over and over again are discussed. I’m going to borrow some categories from that podcast to help break down my most rewatchable games of the Brian Kelly era.

I started with what is perhaps the biggest win for the Irish under Kelly.

Notre Dame 30 Oklahoma 13 (2012)

Why it’s rewatchable:

It’s the win that started to make people outside of the program believe in Notre Dame. It was also against a blue-blood program on the road and outside of USC, Kelly hasn’t fared very well in those matchups.

The game had a little bit of everything. It had great run defense. It had some timely big plays on offense. It had an interception by Manti Te’o late in the game that put the nail in the coffin.

I don’t believe there has been a road win close to it since then when you consider Oklahoma’s ranking and Notre Dame’s status as an underdog heading into the game.

Most Rewatchable Play

Te’o’s sack on a blitz from depth gets an honorable mention, but could it be any play other than Everett Golson’s 50-yard bomb to Chris Brown?

Brown had two catches all season. It was worth him not redshirting just for this one play alone.

via GIPHY

What’s aged the best 

Notre Dame holding Oklahoma to 0.6 yards per carry wins it hands down for me. They were bend, but don’t break with their pass defense. They gave up nothing on the ground.

What’s aged the worst

Well, they gave up almost nothing. They did allow a rushing touchdown to Blake Bell aka the Belldozer. It was the first rushing touchdown the Irish gave up in 2012.

Did the most with least amount of opportunity

Cierre Wood only had seven carries in this game, but one of them was a house call that he ran for 62-yards. He never put it all together and became the back many expected he would be as a recruit, but he provided more than a few big runs like that one for the Irish.

Notre Dame 31 (38) Michigan 0 (2014)

Why it’s rewatchable:

Does this need an explanation? Notre Dame shut out Michigan.

The End.

Most Rewatchable Play

It was a play that got called back, but it counts in the heart of Notre Dame fans. Elijah Shumate had a pick six that was negated by a penalty to Max Redfield for lighting up quarterback Devin Gardner on a block.

Kolin Hill coming through unblocked on a sack where Brian VanGorder fist pumped like he would never be allowed to again get an honorable mention. Little did we know that would be the highlight of BVG’s time at Notre Dame.

via GIPHY

What’s aged the best

Michigan scoring zero points.

What’s aged the worst

Notre Dame only managing 1.7 yards per carry. Situational football matters and the Irish were much better than Michigan in that department, but it a bit shocking to think both teams averaged 4.31 yards per play.

Did the most with least amount of opportunity

Hill having 1.5 sacks while being used in a sub-package on 3rd downs. He left the program after the season.

Notre Dame 31 LSU 28 (2014 Music City Bowl)

Why it’s rewatchable:

Everyone picked Notre Dame to lose this game and they should have. The season went from promising to a disaster after that call went against them at Florida State. If an average fan was in a confidence pool, they would have put a lot of points on LSU winning.

This might have been the best “our backs are against the wall” performance by a Notre Dame offense in a long time. The game plan was brilliant and the execution was impressive.

Most Rewatchable Play

CJ Proise giving everyone a sneak preview of his abilities as a runner. 50-yards for six.

via GIPHY

What’s aged the best

Rushing for 263 yards (5.2 YPC) against a defense that finished fifth in SP+ might be the most impressive thing a Kelly offense has done at Notre Dame.

After an up and down year, the offensive line won the line of scrimmage. It was a great preview of things to come for a line that was as good as any in college football the next season.

What’s aged the worst

The win was great, but let’s not pretend that the defense didn’t get shredded. They gave up 8.38 yards per play, including 7.5 YPC on the ground. This was on top of giving up a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Did the most with least amount of opportunity

I’m going with Everett Golson in his last game in a Notre Dame uniform.

He completed 3 of 4 passes for 50 yards on 3rd downs in this game. That was huge in keeping LSU’s offense off the field with the Irish trying to play keep away.

On the final drive that led to Kyle Brindza’s winning field goal, Golson was instrumental in giving him a shot to win the game. He only threw 11 passes, five of them on that final drive. He completed 4 of 5 for 40 yards and converted two huge first downs.

Notre Dame 41 USC 31 (2015)

Why it’s rewatchable:

It was an exciting game filled with big plays on both sides, but Notre Dame had more of them.

Vintage Will Fuller. A blocked punt for a touchdown. KeiVarae Russell going toe to toe with Juju Smith-Schuster. This wasn’t that long ago and yet it feels like it’s from a different era.

Most Rewatchable Play

Will Fuller. Adoree Jackson. You know what happened.

What’s aged the best

I should pick something different, but that Fuller touchdown is the only reasonable answer.

What’s aged the worst

BVG’s defense was bad again. They gave up 590 total yards, 7.66 YPP. They gave up touchdowns of 65, 75, and 83 yards.

Did the most with least amount of opportunity

Equanimeous St. Brown was a very talented receiver who came in at a time when Will Fuller was in front of him to start. Then he was on a bad team in 2016 and had poor quarterback play in 2017. Because of that he won’t be remembered as fondly as receivers that followed him like Miles Boykin and Chase Claypool.

EQ had his shining moment against USC, though. His blocked punt, which was scooped up for a touchdown by former USC player Amir Carlisle, helped the Irish win.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZQKFpDQXJI

Notre Dame 49 USC 14 (2017)

Why it’s rewatchable:

The Irish beat the breaks off of USC in a way that USC used to do to them during the Pete Carroll years.

Most Rewatchable Play

Josh Adams going 84-yards to house to punctuate the win was great, but I’m going to go with Te’von Coney ripping the ball away from Sam Darnold on USC’s first play from scrimmage. That set the tone for the entire game.

via GIPHY

What’s aged the best

Running for 377, 8.0 YPC, is a big deal against anyone. Doing it against USC is *chef’s kiss*

What’s aged the worst

Kevin Stepherson’s wasted talent. He was electric when he touched the ball in this game and his back shoulder touchdown catch was fantastic.

Did the most with least amount of opportunity

It probably should be Stepherson (82 yards on five touches). I’m going with Khalid Kareem who finished the game with two sacks, despite not being the starter.

Jay Hayes and Andrew Trumbetti played almost 200 more snaps each than Kareem in 2017. That should have never happened. Kareem played zero snaps against Georgia. A two-sack performance from got him on the field more after this game.

 
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