Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 3, 2016

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

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Page 17 of 55

18 OCT. 3, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI T he nadir of the Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame arrived this Sept. 17 with the 36‑28 home defeat to Michigan State that dropped the Fighting Irish to 1‑2. Yes, even more so than after the 4‑5 start in his first year (2010) following consecutive losses to Navy and Tulsa. In year one, many passes are ex‑ tended while attempting to build a pro‑ gram, and the same still occurs in year two. The problem is that three games into Kelly's seventh season, Notre Dame remains an "almost team." Meanwhile, Michigan State in that span since 2010 has become a "pro‑ gram" that more often than not rises to the occasion in marquee settings. In other words, the opposite of Notre Dame. Over the past four seasons, Michi‑ gan State improved 10‑4 versus ranked teams, most notably 7‑2 against the top 10 — including 2‑1 against Ohio State's Urban Meyer, with both wins on the road. Con‑ versely, over that same time Notre A Nice Team … But Notre Dame has yet to become a "program" under Brian Kelly Kelly and Notre Dame have yet to show the con- sistency of college football's top programs, like Michigan State under Mark Dantonio (right). PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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