There is certainly a lot that can be said about Notre Dame’s 49-39 victory over Navy at FedEx Field. Most of us, would rather forget most of what happened. It just wasn’t pretty, and even more so, it was painful. It was painful to watch the Irish squander most of its newly found respect across the country after the Florida State “loss.” It was painful to watch one of the best stories and best players go down for the season (Joe Schmidt). It was painful to watch the triple option shred our defense.
Still, it was another victory and put Notre Dame’s record at 7-1 thus far. I won’t say “a win is a win is a win” this week, but that pretty much sums it up if we want to move on. I only have a few items to discuss as I am really ready to get this over with.
I think I’ve been a little unfair when it comes to judging Everett Golson’s play this year. No, you won’t find me bashing the quarterback at all, and in fact, I have had nothing but praise for the signal caller all year. Despite that, I feel like the “Heisman hype” has affected my view of Everett. I have been judging his play each week on the basis of a Heisman run, instead of a run for the playoffs. That is just wrong.
Sure, despite the opponent, I would say that 315 yards passing and 3 touchdowns to go along with 3 more rushing touchdowns in a victory, is a pretty impressive feat. That’s 6 out of the 7 touchdowns that your team scored. If I was still judging Golson by the “Heisman standard” I would definitely throw those stats around.
It’s that interception late in the first half that ended a scoring drive for the Irish and kickstarted a scoring drive for Navy (that was part of a 24 point run by the Midshipmen) reminds me that this “Heisman” thing isn’t going to happen this season- and that’s okay.
Everett Golson may not win the Heisman this year, but you can be certain that he’s the MVP of this Irish squad, and that should be good enough. The biggest question is if it will be good enough for a playoff spot. That may be answered by the end of this week.
Tarean Folston had another monster game on the ground with 21 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown. With Greg Bryant on the bench with an injury and a fairly ineffective Cam McDaniel, Folston was the workhorse- and yet I can’t help but wonder why he didn’t have 5 more carries.
That sounds a little nit-picky, but with the way Folston is running (which is just a thing of beauty as he has shown himself to be the total package) and the need to help Golson, I just don’t understand why he isn’t getting fed continually throughout the game. There was a point in the Navy game, where they just stopped giving him the ball. I was one of the many that were outraged at such a notion.
FEED HIM! If Folston averages something like 120 yards a game for the rest of the season, he will get his 1000 yards. I’m not sure if that’s a big deal or not- but it’s a big fucking deal. Folston has shown that the ground game is not just needed to supplement Golson and his arm, but vital in the future of this season.
With the loss of Joe Schmidt for the season due to his ankle injury, the Notre Dame defense now relies on a pair of young bucks. Greer Martini and Nyles Morgan both saw significant action Saturday. Martini tied Schmidt for the team lead in tackles that night with 8, and Morgan added 5 tackles of his own after Joe went down.
Morgan in particular looked athletic and powerful at the point of attack. Kelly said they had one defensive call for the rest of the game, so… someone is going to have to hit the playbook hard this week.
One of the more disappointing things that happened Saturday night was Kyle Brindza going 0-2 on field goals. Granted, one of them was blocked, but now Brindza is just 10-16 for the season and 4-8 on field goals longer than 40 yards. With tough games still to come against Arizona State, Louisville, and USC; the seed of #COLLEGEKICKERS is planted and sprouting in my brain everytime I see Kyle line up for a kick. Yes, he’s had a few blocked and there was that whole holder and no gloves thing (*sigh*) but the fact remains that what was one of our more reliable weapons coming into the season is now a big OH MY GOD I HOPE THIS GOES THROUGH.
To be honest, I am somehow less worried about how this game ended up than I was Sunday morning. I don’t care about the “perception” matter so much, as I find it hard to believe that there will be 4 teams with a better record than the possible 11-1 that the Irish could have. It’s fluid, so I must remain that way as well. What does worry me is the shrinking depth chart on defense as we hit some high powered and up tempo offenses down the stretch- but that’s for tomorrow to worry about. Until then, 7-1 and counting.