This game was really a battle of who was worse and Notre Dame proved they were worse on Saturday. I know the elements played a huge part in the game, but NC State adjusted to them…Notre Dame, not so much. Brian Kelly insisted on trying to throw the ball with DeShone Kizer when it was so clear that the passing game just wasn’t going to work today. Dave Doeran and his Wolfpack were committed to and stayed with the run all day long, and ultimately helped them win the ballgame.
The Irish had just 20 combined carries with their tailbacks for only 64 yards. While NC State’s back, Matthew Dayes, carried the ball like a workhorse 23 times for 126 yards. Dave Doeran did something Kelly didn’t, and that was adjust his offense. Doeran brought in his mobile backup quarterback, Jalan McClendon, to change things up on the Irish defense. And while it didn’t lead to any points, it gave Notre Dame another dimension to worry about. Kelly refused to adjust to anything.
It almost seemed as if Kelly was trying to outsmart us all saying, “hey I know we can’t throw the ball, but I’m going to try and do it anyway.” And in the end it’s what doomed the Irish on Saturday.
It’s funny how in his Tuesday presser Kelly dismissed the question of whether his offense needed to be more balance by saying they averaged 40 points and 500 yards, yet they struggled to score 3 points and gain 100 yards because they couldn’t/refused to run the ball. Saturday was a perfect example of why you need to have some type of balance on offense.
This was the type of game where everything you normally do goes out the door. Anything and everything should have been on the table, and that includes maybe bringing in Malik Zaire. The Wolfpack had success when they mixed up their looks, maybe it would have worked for the Irish too.
The Irish are now officially in free fall and after Kelly’s coaching performance on Saturday his job has to be on the line for the rest of the year. Just an oddly coached game all around.