Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2016

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 55

22 Oct. 17, 2016 blue & gOld illustrated by Matt JOnes n otre Dame went to Raleigh, N.C., looking for its first two- game winning streak of the season. The Fighting Irish boarded their plane back to South Bend with an- other loss, this one a 10-3, weather- impaired defeat at the hands of North Carolina State. A blocked punt by NC State ju- nior tight end Pharoah McKever was scooped up and returned for a touch- down by sophomore safety Dexter Wright with 12:43 left in the game, a score that proved to be the difference in what was a sloppy, disappointing performance by Notre Dame. The loss moves Brian Kelly and the Irish to 2-4, another blow to what many considered a preseason Top 10 team, but is instead fighting to sim- ply be bowl eligible. "We're looking for wins, not im- provement on one side of the ball or the other," Kelly said. In a game played while Hurricane Matthew dumped several inches of rain on Carter-Finley Stadium, both sides struggled to adapt to the dif- ficult weather conditions and rapidly deteriorating playing surface. Notre Dame was determined to beat the Wolfpack through the air. Junior quarterback DeShone Kizer completed just nine of his 26 at- tempts for 54 yards while struggling with his grip in the rain. Receivers also dropped passes, while his offen- sive line often failed to protect him. The Irish finished with just 113 to- tal yards of offense, the fewest since a 91-yard effort against Southern Cal in 2008. Of the 64 offensive plays, 26 were passes and 38 were rushes. The runs amassed 59 yards. Notre Dame finished 1-for-15 on third down. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame de- fense capitalized on the weather con- ditions, holding the Wolfpack to 198 total yards. NC State went just 2-for- 14 on third down and averaged 3 yards a play, a significant defensive improvement over Notre Dame's previous efforts this season. "We played really well," senior de- fensive lineman Isaac Rochell said. "You lose as a team. There are go- ing to be positives we can take from it, and maybe negatives ... but ulti- mately we lost the game." The main story was Notre Dame's inability to mount any sort of drive against NC State. The Wolfpack held Notre Dame scoreless in the first half while taking a 3-0 lead at the inter- mission. Notre Dame got on the scoreboard with 11:04 left in the third quarter when sophomore kicker Justin Yoon, despite treacherous, slippery footing, hit a 40-yard field goal to tie the score at 3-3. Early on, it was clear that the weather conditions — heavy rain throughout and gusting, swirling winds — would not allow for a Notre Dame blowout. The officials supplied twice the normal amount of footballs (36 rather than 18) and Notre Dame practiced with wet footballs during the week before the game. "This is what you play football for," said Kizer, who finished with a career low passing yards a week after a career-high 471 against Syr- acuse. "There's no other sport like this where you can have hurricanes, tropical storm-weather and still be able to go out and compete. That was awesome, but also it sucks to lose." Though Kizer was able to throw the ball effectively at times, the play- ers surrounding him also strug- gled with the elements. Numerous dropped passes halted drives, while junior center Sam Mustipher had sev- eral poor snaps that resulted in either a turnover or a big loss of yardage. One Mustipher fumble ended a Notre Dame drive at the NC State 22, but his most critical error came in the game's final minutes, errantly snap- ping the ball past Kizer on a miscom- munication when the Irish faced a notre dame's offense struggled all day, finishing with just 113 total yards and without a touch- down. Photo by bill Panzica sOaKed Irish Lose To NC State 10-3 In Rain-Drenched Raleigh

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Oct. 17, 2016