The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won a football game on Saturday by the score of 24-16. They defeated the Ball State Cardinals — AND IT WAS THE WORST WIN THAT I CAN REMEMBER. Or something like that. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there have been a lot of bad wins over the past couple of decades, so this one will probably fall into the memory banks where they reside.
Way, way down.
Before we do, however, not everything that happened on Saturday was some sort of shitshow.
The truth of the matter is that we all took Ball State too lightly. We all “disrespected them with the gameplan,” as our friend Tim O’Malley so wisely put it Saturday night. So many of us were still wrapped up in the win over the Michigan Wolverines and looking forward to really exploiting the new redshirt rule. I didn’t even publish a couple of posts that are staples of my lineup (The Hangover & Haiku).
So here are some rainbows and sunshine — which doesn’t mean that storm never came, but that the storm passed and the house is still standing. We’re just going to stick with the defense here (we don’t need another Brandon Wimbush battle).
TE’VON CONEY IS PRETTY GOOD
It’s hard to imagine a Notre Dame defense without Te’von Coney. The senior linebacker decided to come back to South Bend for one more year, and it is already quite a year. Against the Cardinals, Coney made 14 tackles (10 solo 3 TFL 1 Sack). For the year, he’s already up to 24 tackles. For all you mathematicians out there... he’s on pace for 144 tackles before the bowl game.
What’s been impressive is just how dominant he has been against the run. These aren’t tackles that he’s chasing down, these are tackles that he’s stepping up into the lane to take on and destroying lives in the process.
LOTTA LOVE 4 JULIAN
There are two stats that often get overlooked, but show how good a player played that day.
- Quarterback hurries
- Pass breakups
For Notre Dame’s Julian brothers, Julian Love and Julian Okwara, they both nailed a 4 spot in a statistical category of importance to their positions. Okwara continually applied the pressure, and Love played like a dynamic flyswatter.
ALL HAIL JALEN ELLIOTT
You would never have guessed what kind of day Jalen Elliott was about to have. Elliott was a player that started to get overlooked by everyone in fall camp as Nick Coleman appeared to lock down the starting job at that safety position. Shaun Crawford goes down with an injury, and suddenly Jalen Elliott is thrown back into the mix — a mix he’s been familiar with since his freshman year. The Junior from Virginia finally ended a streak on Saturday — a safety made an interception. It was the first interception by an Irish safety since 2016.
In fact, Elliott grabbed TWO interceptions against Ball State. It was the first time an Irish safety did that since Harrison Smith in the 2010 Sun Bowl.
What was great, was seeing how confident Jalen got in this game. I paid quite a bit of attention to his body language and his overall intensity, and I firmly believe that he’ll take this performance and build upon it for the rest of the season.