Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 31, 2016

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

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Page 10 of 55 OCT. 31, 2016 11 UNDER THE DOME Esteemed American writer Mark Twain is often credited with the famous quote, but he attributed it to 19th century British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." Notre Dame's 10‑3 loss at North Carolina State was another example. The stat sheet indicated Notre Dame "ran" the ball 38 times and passed it 26 times. That was a bit of a defense for Irish head coach Brian Kelly that he did indeed try to run the ball rather than just pass in horrid conditions that made it low percentage (the Irish finished 9‑of‑26 passing for 54 yards). Here's the rest of the story: Of those 38 running plays, quarterback DeShone Kizer was sacked five times (which counts as a running play in the NCAA) and on six oth‑ ers he either scrambled from the pocket or there was an errant snap. Thus, in reality, Notre Dame had maybe 27 to 30 designed running plays. Kelly was castigated for the game plan because on six occasions Notre Dame had a first down at or inside the North Carolina State 25‑yard line, but it managed only three points. Of the 19 plays run at or inside the Wolfpack 25, 17 were passes. Kizer completed 1 of 13 throws for 11 yards, was sacked three times and also tossed an interception on a pass toward the end zone on a day where wind, rain and ultra‑slick conditions probably mandated a more con‑ servative approach. When asked if he had any misgivings about the plan in retrospect, Kelly maintained his public persona of composure. "It's easy to look back on things," he said. "We should have did that … could have done this. I've been doing it a long time and prob‑ ably got asked that question after every loss. Yeah, I want to run the ball more effectively in those situations, but I'm not going to sec‑ ond‑guess what we do, either. I think if we start doing that, then we're going down the wrong tracks." The wet and flood‑like conditions also led to numerous struggles with the center‑quar‑ terback snap exchange in the shotgun, which was equally prevalent with North Carolina State. The Wolfpack had six fumbles (losing two), while Notre Dame had four (also losing two). That prompted the question: Why not have the quarterback take a direct snap from the center? "We ran a lot of direct snap in pregame," Kelly answered. "I don't know if they felt even comfortable with that. We had hard time with that. If we were going to have any struggles, we were going to do what we do. In terms of altering the game plan, you have specific runs and passes that you're going to lean on within the game plan." THE PRIDE LASTS FOR GENERATIONS. Our University of Notre Dame Collection is available at Enter coupon code NOTREDAME2016 at checkout for a 10% discount! s your house painted blue and gold? Do you think of the Fighting Irish as your family? Were your children's fi rst words "Go Irish"? Our Notre Dame products, handcrafted in the heartland of the United States, are just the thing for you. Visit to bring home a unique piece of our University of Notre Dame Collection and show your Irish Pride! I Juniors Sam Mustipher and DeShone Kizer struggled with the center-quarterback snap exchange in the shotgun in sloppy conditions at North Carolina State Oct. 8. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA Stories The Stats Don't Tell

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