Welp. That was less than ideal. I was hoping that our let down games were behind us with both Vandy and Ball State, but Pitt did Pitt things and nearly won a game they had no business being in. Ian Book was flustered in the first half, looking indecisive on whether to take off or hang in the pocket. He was bound to have an off day, but the hope was that the running game would pick him up if he did. Unfortunately, the running game was completely non-existent. The second half adjustments were enough to change the game, as we saw short slants and outs as the Pittsburgh Panthers would not budge on loading up the box. The late throw to Miles Boykin was a thing of beauty, and will be the only memory of this game I take with me.
I thought the second half short kick was intentional to try and pin them deep...and I was fuming mad thinking about it. However, I asked Coach Kelly after the game and he looked like he died a bit inside when I asked and he replied, “no....every kick is intended to go through the back of the endzone”. Luckily it was a kicking error, not an error in strategy.
Fortunately for the Irish, Pitt missed 2 field goals and had one of the most obvious fake punts in the history of football. As bad as we were, they were almost worse.
This poor performance is not on them. They had one bad drive (which was aided by a special teams penalty). They missed Troy Pride Jr. a lot today, as Dante Vaughn was getting picked on for the better part of the first half. He eventually was pulled for Tariq Bracy, who held his own, filling in in a big way by pushing the receiver out of bounds on the final 4th down play. This unit will greatly benefit from the bye week and allow guys to get back healthy as the Irish head into the final stretch.
At the end of the day, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 7-0 heading into the bye week. There are things to nit pick, but not the record. We control our destiny to be in the college football playoff.......and that is pretty incredible.
Post game thoughtsPosted by One Foot Down - For Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans on Saturday, October 13, 2018