What did we learn from Notre Dame’s loss to the Georgia Bulldogs? Well, we were taught the same thing once again.
1. Same Old, Same Old
When was the last time the Notre Dame Fighting Irish won a big game? A meaningful game? It’s been a while...a long while. You have to go back to October of 2012 when Notre Dame went down to Norman and beat Oklahoma to find a big time win. Ever since the Irish have come up short in almost everyone. From 2014 on, the Irish have lost every big time matchup. 2014 at Florida State - loss. 2014 at Arizona State - loss. 2015 at Clemson - loss. 2015 at Stanford - loss. Fiesta Bowl vs. Ohio State - loss. The 2016 season - a total loss. They are basically non-existent.
Brian Kelly has proved time and time again he can’t win the big one. He’ll get you close, but ultimately will come up short. The Irish just can’t and won’t win big games as long as Kelly is strolling the sidelines. They’ll just come close.
2. The Defense
From game one to game two, the defense looked so much better. Even though they gave up 16 points to Temple, I thought there was some things the defense did that would have been exploited against a better team.
They looked much improved against the Bulldogs. The tackling was crisp. The pressure on the quarterback was consistent. It was something we haven’t seen in South Bend in a couple years. There will be better offenses Notre Dame will play, but last Saturday’s effort was encouraging and I only expect it to keep improving.
New defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s defense looks for real. It looks so real that I think he buys Kelly an extra year. I’ll have more on this in a different post.
3. Georgia Fans
A lot has been said of Georgia fans and their pilgrimage up to South Bend last weekend. I’m not here to scold Notre Dame fans for selling their tickets because that’s been hashed out and rehashed again.
I am here to talk about just how good the Georgia fans were. When you think of SEC fanbases, you think of rabid, loud and somewhat obnoxious fans. I didn’t get that sense at all from Georgia fans last Saturday. Even during the game, I had a good number of Georgia fans in my section and they did nothing besides cheer their team on.
After the game I was sitting at the tailgate with my dad and his classmates having a postgame cigar, and a Georgia fan came over and started talking to us. He could only say great things about Notre Dame and the people there. He said he goes to one or two Georgia road games a year, and he said by far Notre Dame has the most beautiful campus of any place he’s been to. He went so far to say that he’s never rooted for Notre Dame in his life, but from now on he’ll never root against them, just because that’s how great his experience in South Bend was. (The outcome of the game probably had something to do with it too.)