Brian Kelly announced after the game that C.J. Prosise suffered what looked to be a non-serious shoulder injury early in today's game at Pittsburgh. According to him, Prosise should be available next week.
That ended the most stressful part of the game for Irish fans as ND played a terrific game from start to finish, particularly on offense, on its way to a 42-30 victory that, pending the result of tonight's LSU/Bama game, should put the Irish in the committee's top 4 next week.
Josh Adams is pretty good
All year, I've been saying - don't want to say complaining, because more Prosise is fun - that Josh Adams ought to see more carries. Today, he was forced onto the field after Prosise went down with that shoulder injury, and did Adams ever respond. He carried the ball 20 times for 147 yards - a 7.3 average -and caught a pop pass from DeShone Kizer for a TD. If Prosise is indeed back next week, that's excellent news for ND, but in the meantime, Adams has proven he can carry the load if needed as well. He's not Prosise, but he's a great talent with an extremely bright future at Notre Dame.
ND's depth is unbelievable
A 3rd string QB and a 4th string RB (at end of spring) playing in Weis/Willingham era woulda been cruelty to animals.— John Walters (@jdubs88) November 7, 2015
Can we talk about how spectacular ND's depth is? In the springtime, DeShone Kizer was ND's 3rd-string QB. Adams wasn't on campus yet, and at best was the 4th-string RB. We've talked ad nauseam about all the other guys that have stepped up in response to the injury plague that struck ND in September, but that the Irish were able to go into Pitt and cream a pretty decent team, on the road, with those two guys carrying the water is just an amazing thing.
Kizer continues to impress. He missed a couple of throws and was fortunate to avoid losing a fumble on a sack early on, but was on target more often than not.
Brandon Wimbush came in and didn't look very good, although it would've been nice if the Irish called any play other than what looked like the exact same draw every play he was in. But that's an extremely minor complaint.
Dare I say Kelly owns Narduzzi?
I mean, I don't want to jinx it, but two years ago, Brian Kelly was the one coach that seemed to be able to figure out Pat Narduzzi's Michigan State defense to some minor extent. ND used deep balls, which led to PI flags, to win a game that turned out to be MSU's only loss. Today, Narduzzi decided to man up star receiver Will Fuller, which went exactly as you would have expected it to (Fuller: 7 rec, 152 yds, 3 TD). Kizer owned Pitt's defense, in the process tying Brady Quinn's record for TDs responsible for by an ND quarterback in a game.
Unable to stop ND's offense in any real way, Narduzzi was reduced to complaining - occasionally with merit - that ND was getting away with PI on defense (irony). This wasn't the most important game for Kelly, obviously, but he outcoached the stuffing out of Narduzzi today.
Defense steps up in 1st half
It wasn't always the prettiest by the ND defense today, but they got it done. The Irish D held Pitt to just 3 points in the first half, enabling the offense to give them a cushion. In the second half, they appeared to play less aggressively, and Pitt took advantage of it.
My lone complaint, and I hate to say it, is Joe Schmidt. Seemed like every big Pitt play (Boyd's jet sweep, on which Schmidt was easily blocked out of the play, Peterman's longest scramble on which Schmidt was inexplicably turned around) heavily involved Schmidt either doing something wrong or being physically overpowered. Schmidt is a great leader and a captain, but it's past time for ND's coaching staff to take a long look at whether Schmidt's mental acuities are worth sacrificing the improved athleticism of a Nyles Morgan or a Te'Von Coney. With what should be an easily winnable game against Wake Forest next week, hopefully the staff will work in some subs there.
All in all, it was a nice, stress-free game for most of the way, a nice and unexpected breather given our previous horror shows against the Panthers. Now, ND has 2 games that any kind of motivated Irish team should win easily against Wake Forest and Boston College, and then a Stanford game that might decide their playoff fate. We couldn't have asked for anything more coming into the season. Let's enjoy the ride.