At half time, you could feel the tension. Another tough loss to Boston College and it felt as if Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans everywhere would be ready to blow up the program, certain another 4-8 season is upon us. But the Irish came through in the second half, and put up some interesting stats while they were at it. Let’s take a look.
Stats that Lie
616 yards of total offense may suggest to the casual onlooker that Notre Dame’s offense is a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine just humming down the freeway. The fact that 515 of those yards came on the ground makes you think that Chip Long knows his offensive strengths, great running backs and a great running quarterback, and with that knowledge called the right plays to pound the Boston College Eagles into submission, setting records along the way.
But then you realize that the game was actually close at half time, and the game plan didn’t actually call to establish a running game early on. Rather, it seems that Coach Kelly and Coach Long are engineering game plans that look to score on big plays through the air early on, and then rely on the running game to wear down the opposing defense until the clock runs out.
The problem is that they have an inexperienced quarterback who has not been particularly sharp in the pocket. Which brings me to my next point:
Stats that Don’t Lie
96 yards through the air. 3.6 yards per pass. Brandon Wimbush was electric on the ground, as we’ve all been very quick to acknowledge. But the offense has worked well in years past when a guy like Will Fuller could stretch defenses over the top. Once a true air threat was established, you’d see CJ Prosise or Josh Adams or whoever with a lot of room to work with. Setting up the run with the pass, so to speak.
But this year, the Irish offense has been very hit or miss on the long passes at the beginning of drives and games. Same can be said for the bubble screens that Will Fuller could always turn into big plays.
The Notre Dame offense is then forced to rely on the offensive line and running threats of Josh Adams, Brandon Wimbush, Tony Jones Jr and sometimes Dexter Williams against a stacked box from a defense that is not afraid of getting beat over top. It doesn’t matter against a Temple or a Boston College, but against Georgia, it spelled disaster.