ND vs. BC: Feathers In The Cap and Black Eyes

Well, that was... tense.  Raise your hand if you thought BC was going to win that game on a field goal.  I honestly didn't.  Maybe I'm crazy or maybe I just know that we have a competent coach at the helm, but I have faith in these guys.  I had no feelings of impending doom when BC scored their second touchdown.  I was nervous, don't get me wrong, but I had faith in the boys.  Having set the theme, I give you One Foot Down's Catch-22-inspired post-game thread: Feathers In The Cap and Black Eyes, the BC Edition.

Feathers In The Cap

Seniors.  These guys committed during one of the worst seasons in Notre Dame history.  They stayed the course and appear to have lain the foundation for future success.  We thank you, seniors.  

Jonas Gray.  There's a special place in my heart for guys that get knocked down, pick themselves up off the mat, and try again. Maybe it's because my parents read The Little Engine That Could to me every night when I was little.  Whatever the reason, I appreciate you, Jonas Gray.  You had a difficult three years at Notre Dame.  You had a disastrous day to start this season.  You were unfazed.  You picked yourself up and asked the world if that was all it had to throw at you.  You tried again and almost broke the 1,000-yard mark despite not starting for the majority of the season.  You definitely took a Joe-Frazier left hook right on the jaw today.  You're on the mat now, but you will get up, you will prepare yourself for your Rumble in the Jungle, you will have your Thrilla in Manila, and you will overcome "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."  

Luke Kuechly and the Boston College Defense.  You must give it to these guys.  Kuechly was everywhere.  BC really made the sledding very tough for our running backs and bottled up our offense.  

 

BC Punter Ryan Quigley.  This guy was a weapon.  He pinned the Irish inside the 20 yard line SIX TIMES.  Between BC's defense and punting, I felt like we were in a World War I trench, the maddening metronome of constant artillery bombardment about to drive us insane, and into the arms of certain calamity.  

Professor Stephen Fallon.  If you watched the halftime promotional video, you may have noticed a certain gray-bearded Professor.  This was Stephen Fallon of the Program of Liberal Studies, my undergraduate major.  Professor Fallon taught me Poetic Diction and a class on Milton, the name of which escapes me.  Last year Professor Fallon was named a Milton Society of America's Honored Scholar for 2010.  Fallon is a class act and an incredible teacher.  It was an honor to have been his student, and it's wonderful to see him get the recognition he deserves.  Anyone who enjoyed One Foot Down's first annual haiku-off should thank Professor Fallon for instilling in me a love of fine poetic verse, though the good Professor would likely be disappointed that I didn't try my hand at a sonnet.  "O that this too too solid flesh should melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew...."

Notre Dame Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. Defense for the most part shut down BC.  The offense scored the points necessary to make it a two-possession game late in the Fourth Quarter.  Special teams, finally, gave up no returns, took care of the ball in the return game, and got us the 9 points we needed to come away victorious.  The team played complimentary football, stayed within themselves, and duked it out with a tough opponent that has had our number in recent years.  

Bobby Diaco.  Today he appears to have discovered that it is legal under NCAA rules to blitz the quarterback.  Huh.  

Running Game.  I was going to notch this one as a black eye, but we rushed for 161 yards at 4.1 per carry, which is pretty good, especially against Luke Kuechly--let alone Kuechly and 10 other guys--and especially when they knew that we were trying to run out the clock for the last 15+ minutes.  Couple these numbers with the big plays we made in the run game early on, and this is a definite Feather In The Cap.  It speaks volumes about our Offense that 160 yards on the ground at an average of over 4 yards seems like getting shut down.  

 

Black Eyes

Penalties.  This would be my major complaint.  The Irish made things more difficult on themselves than necessary with some untimely penalties.   

 

Takeaways.  I accept that takeways are not this defense's raison d'etre, but we seldom come anywhere close to getting a takeaway.  This may improve or be mitigated when our next Black Eye improves.  

Playmaking Ability at the Quarterback Position.  Tommy Rees made the plays that he needed to make to win the game, but he could just as easily have thrown 3 interceptions.  His lack of mobility and inability to put the ball downfield is holding this offense back.  I hate to be too hard on him on a day when he did what he had to do against a tough defense, but I wonder what is to become of the quarterback position?  

Pass Defense.  This Defense has had trouble all year covering tight ends, running backs, and fullbacks out of the backfield after play action.  Rettig had a decent amount of success working the middle of the field when we weren't blitzing.  We need to continue to pressure the other guy's quarterback.  

Pronunciation.  Hammond and Mayock kept pronouncing it "Keekly."  That can't be right. 

Trolling.  We had to excommunicate one of BCI's--SBNation's BC affiliate--regulars for trolling on Thursday and Friday, an almost unheard-of sanction here at One Foot Down.  It hurt us more than it hurt him, but "WEMUSTPROTECTTHISHOUSE!"

The Mouth of the South.  The Mouth is apparently not very much fun to watch a game with, according to Mrs. Mouth.  I have apologized and find the couch comfy this time of year anyway.  You may now re-read my opening paragraph and snicker, though I maintain that I believed all along that we would win.   That's not to say that the atmosphere wasn't tense.

 

Let's hear from our loyal readers.  What was the atmosphere like in your home?  Am I the only one who got in trouble for being a grouch?  Or has your patio furniture found its way down the hill behind your home, and onto the 18th fairway?  Patio furniture is overrated anyway.

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