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 92 of 92

THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI It's just that top wins over Navy and Temple, with all due respect, won't move the meter or resonate nation- ally. (How many Midshipmen or Owls would have been recruited or started for the Irish is a popular inquiry.) The unprecedented amount of inju- ries/attrition at so many vital spots led to a point of diminishing returns where Notre Dame was not peaking at the end of the year and didn't have the "feel" of a Final Four team, despite a valiant ef- fort at Stanford. Neither did Clemson (or even Iowa), but like the 2012 Irish, the Tigers earned the right to be No. 1 at the end of the year with an unblemished mark. What does draw attention is Okla- homa scoring 58 on the road in its fi- nale against another top-10 team and averaging 52 points while finishing 7-0, Michigan State tallying 55 versus Penn State the week it was supposed to have a "letdown" and Ohio State crushing Michigan 42-13 in The Big House. Style points have and always mat- tered. That's how Notre Dame won the 1966 national title with a 51-0 win at Pac-8 champ USC. And that's how it went from No. 5 to No. 1 in one fell swoop with a 38-10 win versus No. 1 Texas in the 1978 Cotton Bowl. "If we have a weakness, when we feel the game is in our hands, we let up a little bit," head coach Brian Kelly admit- ted four days before the Stanford game. "That's unfortunate, but it's a little bit of who we are. And I'd like to have a little bit more of a killer instinct as a football coach." Lou Holtz often has stated that his downfall at Notre Dame was after awhile he wanted to "maintain" as op- posed to continue to strive higher. 2. RED ALERT Let's face it, a 24-20 win versus Temple or 19-16 versus 3-9 Boston College are going to create a blasé reaction. In those two games, Notre Dame reached the red zone 12 times — and produced no more scores (five) than touchdowns (four). Stanford produced touchdowns on all five of its red zone drives versus Notre Dame. The Irish were 1 of 4 in red zone touchdowns at Stanford, settling for field goals three times. 3. DEFENSIVE DOINGS College football, and at times even the NFL, is beginning to resemble Arena football more and more, with defense more of a rumor. With second-year defensive coor- dinator Brian VanGorder, installing a more aggressive scheme had a trade-off aspect. More big plays might be sur- rendered, but more turnovers should be generated. The turnovers forced this season is the fewest we have seen with our records going back to 1950. It is classified as an "NFL defense," but one gets the feeling that the college players are being exposed to advanced Calculus after prepping with basic math. If it remained a work in progress this year with a Sheldon Day and a Jay- lon Smith and veteran and highly rated defensive backs, what of the future? ✦ Senior Editor Lou Somogyi has been at Blue & Gold Illustrated since July 1985. He can be reached at

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - December 2015 Issue