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3 Things from Notre Dame’s 31-21 Victory over Northwestern

A few more insights from Notre Dame’s latest conquest.

Notre Dame v Northwestern Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Folks, 9-0 seems to be a different ballgame.

That above statement is at least personal in thoughts. I think about the 2002 Notre Dame Fighting Irish team going 8-0 and then losing to BC at home. I think about 2012 in the 3 OT game againt Pitt when we needed divine intervention to win the game. Then I think of this season, and beating a tough Northwestern Wildcats team was the task to get to 9-0. This team got that done, even though it looked bleak. Time to turn the page to the final quarter of the season.

After that game, let’s break down some of my thoughts after that game on Saturday night.

3 Thoughts from the ND-Northwestern Game

It would be helpful if Chip Long would get out of his own way a bit.

I’m not trying to be hostile here especially after the amazingly brilliant playcall on Ian Book’s keeper to win the game in the 4th quarter. However, sometimes I am not a fan of Chip Long’s playcalling at all. Clearly Northwestern was able to plug the holes for our running game. That was frustrating, and it does hinder our offense. Chip Long seemingly kept going back to the run game in the second and fourth quarter, the two quarters where the Irish overall struggled. It would be nice if the consistency could be there for the offense, and that includes reading what the defense’s strengths are instead of trying to force the issue. Obviously this is nitpicky, but I was already frustrated with it on Saturday night.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Northwestern Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

There is truth to what Brian Kelly said on College Gameday.

I thought that interview was awesome and showed how BK has actually embraced Notre Dame and the culture, getting out of his way to let the process happen and continue. One thing that he said that I fixated upon was that the Irish team was one whose “sum was greater than its parts.” I very much agree with this. The team has sort of a hodgepodge of players, especially on offense. But it works, and we saw that after the game on Saturday night. I LOVED that they were able to take control when they needed - a stop and score at the beginning of the third quarter, and then the ultimate game winning drive late in the fourth. I’m not used to Irish teams doing that so well, but I like it a lot.

Ian Book and his stellar poise, control, and way to thread the needle against many defenses are clearly part of the equation. No one, though, is absolutely stellar and that amazing. It’s a team that works hard as hell to get the W every week, and they really don’t care who becomes the player(s) of the games. It’s AWESOME to see this mentality and one of the main reason’s they are 9-0 and can control their path to the College Football Playoff. Poise and success go hand in hand with this team.

Navy v Notre Dame Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

MUGA: Make Undefeateds Great Again

The Irish did what they needed to do (while covering the spread) to get to 9-0. I just want to reiterate how awesome that is, especially in the face of struggling quarters this season. That is an incredible feat, and it truly makes for them to be one of the best teams in the country. No matter what people sitting in a room to determine a poll think, winning all of your games that you’ve played is an unbelievable tough task. It’s so tough that only 3% of teams in FBS have done it up to this point. The Irish are in that 3%. Because of that, I want people never to discount what being undefeated means in a game played by flawed human beings still developing as people. It means a hell of a lot, so I’m celebrating being undefeated so far. Join me in that, won’t you.

Notre Dame v Northwestern Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images