Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2015

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

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Page 112 of 115

THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI S tatistically, one can draw an elemen‑ tary conclusion on why Notre Dame finished the 2014 regular season only 7‑5. The Fighting Irish al‑ lowed 29.3 points per game — 41.6 over the final seven — to eclipse the previous school re‑ cord 28.9 by the 1956 team that finished 2‑8. (Because bowl games are now included in team stats, if the Irish can hold LSU to 24 points in the Music City Bowl Dec. 30, that figure would drop to 28.85, thereby ranking the second worst in a season at Notre Dame.) Meanwhile, head coach Brian Kelly's offense averaged 33.0 points per con‑ test, the second‑highest output in the post‑Lou Holtz era from 1997‑2014, sur‑ passed only by the 36.7 figure in 2005 with junior quarterback and top‑five Heisman finisher Brady Quinn at the throttle. Easy conclusion: the 2014 Fighting Irish offense did its part while the de‑ fense didn't. Kelly doesn't share that sentiment. "We underperformed as coaches on the offensive side of the ball, and as players," Kelly said. "We needed to carry some games offensively knowing full well that our defense was going to be young and inexperienced. And once that showed itself with injuries, we knew we were going to have to carry things offensively and weren't able to re‑ ally get the job done." The offense did carry the freight in 50‑43 and 49‑39 victories versus North Carolina and Navy, respectively. In other shootouts, the numbers weren't poor but also weren't effi‑ cient overall, includ‑ ing five turnovers at Arizona State — two directly leading to touchdowns by the Sun Devils defense — in a 55‑31 defeat. In the 43‑40 overtime home defeat against Northwestern … the 40 points look good on paper, but after the 61‑ yard Everett Golson touchdown run off the read option 44 seconds into the game and Austin Collinsworth's fumble return for a score minutes later, the of‑ fense couldn't close, including ending up scoreless on two of its four red‑zone possessions. Versus Louisville a week later, only two of the five Irish red‑zone posses‑ sions resulted in a touchdown in the 31‑28 setback. The fact that Notre Dame had to re‑ Points And Production Not One And The Same S o p h o m o r e r u n n i n g b a c k T a r e a n Folston's 816 rushing yards paced Notre Dame's 81st-ranked ground attack. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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