The Golden Ticket
It was hyped up to be the most competitive game of the weekend.
The 12th-ranked Syracuse Orange met with the 3rd-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Yankee Stadium. Syracuse was 8-2, had kept it close with #2 Clemson, and beaten a solid in-conference opponent in the NC State Wolfpack. The Irish had beaten the #4 Michigan Wolverines, dominated Stanford, and comfortably handled Northwestern.
Notre Dame was widely viewed as the better team - surely - but this was supposed to be a contested matchup between the two.
It was not that, not by any means.
Notre Dame handed Dino Babers’s team a 36-3 drubbing, sending them home with their tails between their legs.
Ian Book threw for 300 yards, Dexter Williams ran for 74 yards and a touchdown at 6 yards per carry, and Chase Claypool had 98 receiving yards and a touchdown. The offense was - in summation - solid yet far from perfect. Points were left on the field, which speaks to just how much of a blowout this could have been beyond what it already was.
But the offense was not the story of the day.
Syracuse was held to 3 points after coming into the game averaging 44. The vaunted Clemson Tigers defense only managed to limit ‘Cuse to 23 points. Alohi Gilman came through with 2 interceptions while Elliot snagged another. The defense as a whole managed 10 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.
The Irish were a well-oiled machine, engineered to dismantle one of the most effective and efficient offenses in college football.
And with that thorough domination - barring a major upset against USC - the Golden Domers have secured their golden ticket to the playoffs.
Now, onto the teleconference:
Notes from the Teleconference:
- The Irish came out of the game injury free and should have everyone ready for the road trip to The Coliseum.
- Kelly commented on the amount of penalties the Irish have been racking up as of late, “We can’t have penalties putting us behind in the red zone. Need to clean that up.”
- On the mesh point between the quarterback and the running back: “We need to work on some technique. Can’t have quarterback-handoff-exchange issues.”
- Kelly discussed Tommy DeVito and his strengths, “DeVito is a very experienced quarterback. We are well aware of him as a player. Very good thrower.”
- According to Kelly, the gameplan didn’t change when Eric Dungey left the game, although the team was less concerned with the running threat from the quarterback position with DeVito.
- On the lone ‘Cuse field goal: “We have to stop them there. Syracuse will decide what they want to do. I was disappointed we gave up plays that let them score.”
- Touching on Brandon Wimbush’s role moving forward, “We want to have Brandon Wimbush ready to impact the offense in a variety of ways. We’re integrating him into the offense more than a play here or there. He will continue to be a part of what we do.”
- Kelly was effusive in his praise of the Syracuse defensive ends: “Syracuse’s defensive ends were as talented a group as we saw all year. We had a coverage sack and gave up a sack. I was pleased.”
- On the offensive line: “The offensive line group is a good group and we’re averaging a lot of rushing yards. We are a top 25 offense.”
- Kelly stressed the importance of running the ball better and more effectively moving forward.
- Hitting on all the individual players to receive a game ball: “11 different players have received 11 different game balls. This isn’t scripted. It’s relevant to what we’ve been talking about with this football team. We have a number of guys that can compete at a high level and contribute.”
- Looking ahead to preparation for USC, “We have to get our guys to understand it’s a rivalry game with a lot of noise. You have to be aware of that. Once aware, you do what you have done for 11 weeks. Prepare and put yourself in a position to succeed.”
- Kelly on the team’s focus this week: “We had three goals this year. We wanted to beat Michigan, win every game at home, and be undefeated in November. That’s our focus this week.”