Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct 9, 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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28 OCT. 9, 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED Playoff teams rarely lose at home. They don't throw interceptions on their opening drive; they find a way to get into the end zone when it's first-and- goal from the opponent's 6-yard line. They don't throw another intercep- tion deep in their own territory and fumble the ensuing kickoff after their opponent cashed in on the pick, either. Notre Dame stared at a 10-0 deficit in the blink of an eye because it couldn't take care of the football. It stared at a 17-0 deficit at halftime because, well, the Irish are still soul searching. They don't have the moxie or magic to get punched in the face and come right back with a haymaker of their own. "It wasn't good enough across the board," Kelly said. Playoff tickets aren't punched in the first week of October, but they can cer- tainly slip out of reach. Enough about the playoff, though. Notre Dame is no longer in a position to even think about it. The Irish have enough to worry about themselves, like being outgained in total yards for the third game in a row and rushing for less than 100 yards as a team for the third time in the first five games. Asked if Notre Dame is "searching for something offensively," sophomore tight end Michael Mayer was rather blunt in his response. "Yeah, we are," Mayer said. "We're still searching for it." Are the Irish at least getting closer to whatever "it" is? "Yeah," he said. "We're getting closer every day." The statistics don't quite back that up. The result against Cincinnati cer- tainly doesn't either. This is a Notre Dame team that needed overtime to beat a Florida State squad that started the season 0-4. The Irish trailed Toledo at home in the fi- nal two minutes, and that same Rockets team lost to Colorado State at home the very next week. Notre Dame trailed Wisconsin by three in the fourth quarter. Michigan just beat the Badgers — in Madison, mind you — in a much more comfort- able fashion, outgaining them by 155 yards and scoring all 38 points conven- tionally on offense. NOTRE DAME VS. CINCINNATI QUARTER-BY-QUARTER COMPARISON Notre Dame 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Total Time of Possession 10:08 9:00 5:58 6:23 19:08 12:21 31:29 Third-Down Conversions 1-4 2-6 0-1 3-6 3-10 3-7 6-17 Fourth-Down Conversions 1-1 0-0 0-1 1-2 1-1 1-3 2-4 Average Field Position ND-24 ND-28 ND-41 ND-23 ND-26 ND-32 ND-28 Cincinnati 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Final Time of Possession 4:52 6:00 9:02 8:37 10:52 17:39 28:31 Third-Down Conversions 1-3 1-4 0-2 0-2 2-7 0-4 2-11 Fourth-Down Conversions 0-0 0-0 1-1 0-0 0-0 1-1 1-1 Average Field Position UC-28 UC-43 UC-27 UC-37 UC-37 UC-32 UC-35 PLAY CHART (NO. OF PLAYS) Yards ND UC Nega ve 6 6 0-5 44 30 6-9 8 14 10-19 11 5 20-29 3 3 30-39 1 1 40-49 0 2 50 or more 0 0 RED ZONE EFFICIENCY (INSIDE 20-YARD LINE) No Poss. TD FG Score Notre Dame 2 1 0 1 Cincinnati 5 2 1 2 BIG PLAYS (25 YARDS OR MORE) Notre Dame • 2-3 UC32 Pyne pass complete to Lenzy for 32-yard TD • 1-10 ND24 White 28-yard fumble return to UC38 Cincinnati • 2-6 UC24 Ridder pass complete to Taylor for 27 yards to UND49 • 1-10 ND27 Ridder pass complete to Tucker for 27-yard TD • 1-10 UC38 Ridder pass complete to Pierce for 45 yards to ND17 • 1-15 UC31 Ridder pass complete to Pierce for 44 yards to ND25 • 2-9 UC47 Ridder pass complete to Taylor for 36 yards to ND17 Graduate student linebacker Drew White had four tackles and a fumble recovery return for 28 yards in Notre Dame's loss. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER MISCELLANEOUS NOTES • Under head coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame is now 23-22 versus ranked opponents. The Irish are also now just 8-15 under Kelly in contests in which their opponent is ranked higher than them. • Sophomore tight end Michael Mayer led Notre Dame in receptions for the fourth time in five games, hauling in eight catches for 93 yards in the loss to Cincinnati despite dealing with a groin injury. • Senior wide receiver Braden Lenzy's 32- yard touchdown reception in the fourth quar- ter was his first of the year and the fourth of his career. He finished the game with four catches for 61 yards. • Junior linebacker JD Bertrand tied for the team with six tackles. He has led the Irish in tackles in all five games this season. • Junior defensive end Isaiah Foskey re- corded the first forced fumble of his career, while graduate student linebacker Drew White notched the third fumble recovery of his career.

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