First of all, I need to say that I’m pretty proud of the defense . For a unit that has gotten torched by awful offenses (i.e. Pitt, Georgia Tech, etc.), the way they held up against a potent Fighting Irish offense was beyond encouraging. To see them get off the mat after abysmal performances and make this Notre Dame game a slugfest is a great improvement and is exactly what we needed to see going into the softer back half of the schedule.
Really not sure if we expected to win this game with how the season had gone so far, but seeing the defense hold their own and seeing the offense keep things close enough to make things interesting is about as much as we could have asked for next to winning the damn thing out right.
In regards to the offense, still too many missed opportunities, especially in regards to the long throws and explosive plays. What really drove me up the wall were the running attempts in second and long situations which just felt like half-assed attempts in a game that was more than close. For a team that threw all conservativeness out the window last year in return for bomb plays, this year has been far too safe for my liking and hasn’t gotten us anywhere.
This team continues to beat themselves and we’re watching another game where it might directly lead to a loss.— Keith Wynne (@Keith_Wynne) October 17, 2020
We have got to have an intervention about running the ball on 2nd and super long. It’s the worst thing. Please help us.— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) October 17, 2020
The one thing about this defense that was hard to excuse was once again its inability to get off the field on third down. The Pitt game was outstanding if you throw out the third down performance, and this game was no different. Forcing the number four team in the country into 15 third down situations is fantastic. Allowing them to convert on nine of those situations is enough to make yourself go back in history and punch your Irish ancestors in the face.
But considering where this defense had been the last few weeks, you can’t help but feel good about the way they responded to their poor performances these last few weeks.
Now, I’m not going to talk about the ludicrous onside penalty call, because these refs were on a mission to get their pot of gold all game long. But it was hard to feel like anyone was in our corner call game long. This was the type of game where you take the game into your own hands and that just never happened. Whenever we needed a big time turnover and desperately needed to tweet “bAlL dOn’T lIe” it never happened and we desperately needed it. It will come eventually, but today was unfortunately not that day.
To make a long story short, the offense still was too conservative for what weve grown used to, but considering who we were playing against you can’t be too upset by the all-around effort. After losing to Goergia F*ing Tech I wasn’t sure this team would be favored in a game again this season. But after giving Notre Dame a good sweat, I feel like the potential for this team to manage inferior teams is still there and I’m still hopeful they’ll be able to string together enough wins to go bowling in this bizarre season.
Next weekend against an awful FSU team may be the biggest game of the season. Win and we have hope of salvaging a poor start to a front-loaded schedule. Lose, and I’m not sure if defeating the likes of Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Boston College would be enough to feel good about how far this team made it this season.
Only time will tell, and I’m more than afraid that this team will play down to FSU’s level and lose in an uber-gross game that should never happen. But who the f*** knows.