The game started off well enough for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as they faced down one of the truly great teams in the ACC- the Duke Blue Devils.
Oh, this isn’t basketball season? Well, you’ll have to forgive me for that mistake as I watched Duke run up and down the field like they were searching for an Elite 8 berth.
Anyways... It started well. Notre Dame got rolling with that tempo and that sense of urgency that they had talked about all week long. Notre Dame made it look easy going up 14-0 after a 75 yard drive that was capped with a 14 yard DeShone Kizer touchdown run, and then they followed that up with a 64 yard drive that ended quickly with a 44 yard strike to Kevin Stepherson.
Things were looking good- they were rolling.
And then Duke took the ensuing kickoff return 96 yards for a touchdown and everything flipped.
The Blue Devils rattled off another couple of touchdowns; a 78 yard drive for touchdown, and hit a quick strike touchdown pass after a Notre Dame fumble.
Notre Dame went into the half down only one touchdown, but for morale it might as well have been four.
The second half wasn’t any better. Notre Dame made mistake after mistake on both sides of the ball. Two more turnovers, including the costly interception late in the game that allowed a short field for Duke to drive down and get what turned out to be the game-winning field goal.
Notre Dame’s final drive was short-lived, and in fact their final two drives of the game amounted to 8 plays for 8 yards. On that last drive, Kizer looked as shaky as I’ve seen him since early last year.
Just providing a quick synopsis here. Fire and brimstone are likely to come very soon. Notre Dame looked pathetic and weak against a Duke team that looked hungry and tough. That kind of recipe ends in disasters like today. It also means changes can, must, and will be made.
I wrote this in my notes during the Kelly press conference:
It means, that for certain we are going to see a lot of changes coming for the Notre Dame Football program, but this type of loss is looking like the normal thing for Notre Dame. So, how can you be outraged as a head coach- truly outraged, if this has consistently been what the results are for the Irish? WHAT THE HECK IS TAKING SO LONG?
For Brian Kelly to stand there and say he feels much better about the defense and then say that all 22 positions are up for grabs- HOW DOES THAT MEAN THE DEFENSE IS ANY BETTER WHEN YOU SAY THAT?
The offense had issues today, and yes they put the defense in a few tight spots, but to sum it up as the offense basically lost this game for you is insane. 35 points should get you a win in most games and should most definitely get you a win against Duke, a team that only scored a combined 27 points versus Northwestern and Wake Forest.
Even saying things as absurd as “That’s a definite possibility,” when asked if Brandon Wimbush might play this year, when your quarterback accounted for 441 yards throwing and running the ball while scoring 3 touchdowns... why Brian- WHY?
If there are changes to come, then let’s get it changed. However, from what I’m hearing from Brian Kelly, the changes that should be made- will not be made. Notre Dame is 1-3, and still in training camp mode of finding what works when they won’t trash what doesn’t work.