Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2015 Issue

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 57 of 92

IN THE TRENCHES ANDREW OWENS I f you ask Irish head coach Brian Kelly, the difference between a 10-2 season and a College Football Playoff berth came down to two plays in 2015. "The reality is we're two plays away from being undefeated and being the No. 1 team in the country," he said fol- lowing Notre Dame's 38-36 loss to Stan- ford that closed out the regular season. "One play at Clemson and one play here at Stanford." That's simplifying it a little bit, and one could make the argument that the Irish were a play against Virginia and another at Temple away from an 8-4 season, but overall it marked a stellar coaching job by Kelly and his staff con- sidering the circumstances. Irish fans know the laundry list of in- juries that began in mid-August and plagued the program throughout the entire 12-game slate: junior quarterback Malik Zaire, junior running back Tar- ean Folston, junior tight end Durham Smythe and senior nose guard Jarron Jones. Several more were added by the end, including senior cornerback Kei- Varae Russell and senior running back C.J. Prosise. Wherever there was a loss, a backup stepped in ready to compete. Notre Dame asserted itself among the sport's elite despite those losses and stayed rel- evant in the College Football Playoff dis- cussion until Thanksgiving weekend. Still, the lasting images of the season might be drawn from the rain-soaked disappointment at Clemson and the de- Irish Season Falls Just Short Notre Dame's season came down to a pair of two-point losses that will prevent this team from being remembered as one of the program's best. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - December 2015 Issue