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Notre Dame Football: The Miami-Ohio Hangover

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There is all sorts of good going on for Notre Dame football right now.

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Notre Dame Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are dealing with their third blowout victory in a row after taking care of the Miami-Ohio Redhawks, 52-17. I'm looking to put a bow on this game, and get this hangover past me. The Irish took care of business, so let's take care of ours.

THAT WAS CHARLIE WEIS ERA GENIUS

The Hangover

It's not always a bad thing to be associated with the name, "Charlie Weis" if it has to do with one of his offenses from Notre Dame's 2005 and 2006 seasons. The win over Miami meant:

  • The Irish now have three straight victories of 20 or more points for the first time since 2005: Nov. 5 vs. Tennessee (41-21), Nov. 12 vs. Navy (42-21) and Nov. 19 vs. Syracuse (34-10).
  • Notre Dame has now scored at least 38 points in three consecutive games for the first time since 2006: Nov. 4 vs. North Carolina (45-26), Nov. 11 at Air Force (39-17) and Nov. 18 vs. Army (41-9).
  • Notre Dame’s 28 points in the first quarter were the most in a single period for the Irish since Sept. 3, 2005, when Notre Dame posted 28 in the second quarter of a 42-21 victory at Pitt.

It's hard to imagine the Notre Dame offense as being "prolific" when they have the 108th ranked passing offense, but they are averaging over 41 points per game with only 6 of their total points being scored by the defense.

PERFECTLY RED

One of the biggest things that has haunted the offense during the Brian Kelly era has been their production in the red zone. Kelly fueled offense probably relied too much on fade passes inside the 20, and not enough power runs.

That, of course, has changed this year.

Notre Dame Red Zone Offense 2017

Team Games RZ Chances Rushing TD Passing TD FG RZ Scores PCT
Team Games RZ Chances Rushing TD Passing TD FG RZ Scores PCT
Notre Dame 5 22 15 5 2 22 100%

If the Irish get in the red zone, they are getting points. More importantly, they are getting in the endzone better than 90% of the time. After five games, this number is no fluke, and it is a strong building block for the rest of the season against a togher slate of games.

BLOWOUTS ARE FUN FOR EVERYONE

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Notre Dame Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The participation report shows that Notre Dame was able to play 72 different players in the win over the Redhawks. Why is this so important?

  • Getting minutes for your 2nd and 3rd team players is important for building depth for the season (in case of injuries) and for future seasons in terms of experience.
  • Getting the walk-ons time in a game provides a wonderful incentive for them as well as a just reward for their hard work all year. There is a certain amount of pride that gets injected into a player that actually sees the field.
  • The more blowouts, the more that the above two items affect the future of the team. Programs that get more players participating in a game are healthier programs from top to bottom.

JERRY TILLERY HAS EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2017 season was about the quality of the defensive line, and if they could produce at a level needed to win football games. One of the players that was singled out by many of us in the media was Jerry Tillery.

No one really called him out, but many of us were uncertain if he would be able to anchor the line and the defense. As of now, he is proving any doubters wrong.

Tillery is leads the team in tackles from a non-linebacker position with 22. He leads the team in sacks with 3, and is second on the team in tackles for loss with 3.5.

He got the game ball on Saturday, and brought the ball into the press room after the game. Football means a lot to the eclectic Tillery, and I imagine that greater things are on the way.

Miami of Ohio v Notre Dame Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images