Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 5, 2015 Issue

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

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THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI achievers who no longer respond well on the big stage. Sound familiar? However, in the past four years, Clemson has become a "program," not just a team anymore. It has posted four consecutive double‑digit seasons, highlighted by impressive bowl wins against LSU, Ohio State and Okla‑ homa, with the conquest of Urban Meyer's Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl two years ago representing their major bowl win, something the Irish haven't been able to achieve since '93. Notre Dame did post a win over LSU in the last postseason … but this year is about finally trying to establish a con‑ sistent 10‑win program. Kelly's teams have been at their best in marquee Oc‑ tober road games the past three sea‑ sons versus Oklahoma (2012), Arizona State (2013) and Florida State (2014). A victory in Death Valley against a Clemson team that doesn't appear as strong along the lines as the Irish would provide instant playoff cred‑ ibility. Navy (Oct. 10) — The simplistic analysis here is, "Notre Dame shut down Georgia Tech's vaunted triple option, therefore doing the same ver‑ sus a smaller Navy team should be even easier." How easy it is to forget that in 2013 Notre Dame cruised past Air Force 45‑10 … and just a week later while facing the triple option again saw Navy rush for 331 yards and take the Irish to the wall before losing 38‑34. The Midshipmen coaches watch tape, too, and are quite adapt at mak‑ ing adjustments. As long as senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds is oper‑ ating the attack, the Midshipmen have a chance to compete with anyone. It is also the ideal sandwich matchup between highly ranked Clemson on the road, with USC coming in the fol‑ lowing week — sort of like that 50‑43 victory versus North Carolina last year between Stanford and Florida State, or the 17‑14 BYU squeaker in 2012 be‑ tween Stanford and at Oklahoma. USC (Oct. 17) — Three notes: • 49‑14 last year, the worst defeat of the Kelly era. • Mid‑term week, which often means exam time. • Notre Dame is 2‑6 the last eight years the week after the Navy game, with each of the eight among Notre Dame's more lethargic performances that season. At Temple (Oct. 31) — The veteran Owls already have upset Penn State and Cincinnati, returned all 11 starters from the nation's No. 4 scoring defense last year and have one of the best rising coaches in the business in 40‑year‑old Matt Rhule (keep this name filed away when Kelly one day decides to step down). The September "fo" was adventure‑ some, especially on the injury front. The October "fo" presents even more obstacles on the field. An unscathed month here truly would begin a play‑ off month entering the "Final Fo" in November. ✦ Senior Editor Lou Somogyi has been at Blue & Gold Illustrated since July 1985. He can be reached at

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