If you tuned into the first bowl of the 2013 college football postseason, you saw one of the more ridiculous sports collapses we've seen in a while. Washington State went from up 8 to down 3 in less than a minute, blowing the New Mexico Bowl to Colorado State in a game they had well in hand most of the afternoon. For the final 51 seconds against Ohio State on Saturday night, Notre Dame played like they didn't want Mike Leach's crew to feel bad.
Notre Dame led 58-50 after a beautiful stretch of tenacious defense and beautiful offense and then...disaster. With Eric Atkins fouled out of the game, Notre Dame turned it over, fouled a three-point shooter, didn't rebound, didn't play defense, missed free throws, didn't foul Ohio State, somehow had a player in the game who hadn't shot a free throw all season taking free throws...the list is endless. Not only did the Irish blow a 58-50 lead, but they blew it in only 35 seconds! Demetrius Jackson had a three to tie it, but that would have only delayed the inevitable, as a Garden full of Ohio State fans got to celebrate a 64-61 win.
We can get into some more detailed stuff - like the aesthetics of a Garrick Sherman post-up or why Zach Auguste doesn't play more when he's producing - but I can't right now. That was a stomach punch game, and while the Irish showed some mettle hanging with the undefeated Buckeyes...ugh, that final minute. It was like the darkest timeline version of Jerian Grant against Louisville to set up five overtimes.
This is on Mike Brey for not having the team prepared, but goodness, when team captains, seniors and five-star freshman all suddenly start doing dumb stuff I'm not sure what options he has. Notre Dame gets Duke two weeks from today at home, and if they play like they did for the first 39 minutes, they have a chance for a big win. (As big as beating the number three team in the country on a neutral floor? Well, no.)
2013 is almost over, Irish fans. Just a few more days and we will be free of this cursed year.
Mike Leach and Mike Brey could end up bellied up at a bar somewhere tonight. ND let an 8-point lead evaporate.
— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) December 22, 2013