Well, this one is a bitch to have to write up. After showing some promise against Temple (yea I know its Temple) in Week 1, the Irish walk out of the Big House on the losing side for the first time in the regular season since 2011 when Stanford beat the Irish 28-14 to take them to the postseason with questions unanswered. We find ourselves in a similar position once again, after Michigan put up an unexpected 41 points on this once-heralded Irish defense. Maybe not as heralded anymore? Lets look at the numbers.
Stat of Importance:
Michigan Scores 41: 294 yds passing, 166 yds rushing, 460 total yds. This stat is hands down the most sobering, important, and equally alarming one of the night. 41 points is nothing to scoff at here people. Notre Dame didn’t allow this many points in the first 5 weeks of 2012 COMBINED. And even then it was a total of 39. How many did Michigan have last year? Don’t remember? 6. SIX POINTS! A lot of Irish fans have good reason to be at a loss for explaining that defensive effort in Ann Arbor. The glaring weakness was the back 7 of the Irish D, as once again the ILB play was spotty and shades of 2011 in the secondary reared their ugly ass head. Plenty of work to do moving forward…
Tommy Rees’s Performance: 29/51, 314 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs. You’re probably gonna call me a “homer” or accuse me of being married to #REESUS for calling this stat line misleading, but the reality is just looking at it doesn’t tell you a whole lot about how this game really went down. If you’re still looking to point the finger somewhere for this loss, point elsewhere. Tommy throwing for over 300 yards and 2 TDs is worth noting, especially considering some of his past performances. One INT he threw was absolutely boneheaded, as he tried to fit it over the defender (which it didn’t look like he saw) while throwing on the run, which is not his strength. Not the best combo of factors for Tommy there. The second INT he “threw” was a ridiculous tip drill destiny interception, and I’m sticking to my guns here. I’m not delusional either. His first TD pass was also a perfect tip drill straight into TJ’s arms. Absolutely lucky/skillful. But the idea that NDNation would immediately call for Tommy to be benched, and replaced with the likes of Hendrix or ZERO EXPERIENCE Zaire is ludicrous. Michigan had the gameplan we weren’t ready for and our defense underperformed. Tommy was not to blame here people.