Embrace the suck...LOL, sure.
I was hoping that Michael Pittman, Jr. would look like a fool saying something like that and that the Trojans would “run up the score” on Saturday night. Yeah, neither of those happened, and Pittman was pretty much stifled all night. Regardless of his ridiculous hot takes, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish took care of business Saturday night against USC. It was a bit closer than we wanted, but I’m sure we all don’t actually mind that, as the W was important. Let’s take a look at some context here that the game provided.
3 Things We Can Consider After USC and During the Bye Week
Jonathan Doerer is the most improved player I’ve seen in a long time.
Yes, I know Phil penned this letter to Jonathan earlier, but I would like to reiterate my position as well. I think a lot of us were worried about Doerer’s kicking abilities after Justin Yoon graduated. The only times we saw Doerer were him kicking many kickoffs out of bounds, and he seemed to be struggling. But, he has been pretty damn clutch. Great on kickoffs, and his place kicking has been great. Saturday night was the culmination of all of that. I thought Doerer had some Reggie Ho 1988 vs. Michigan energy going on. He was so clutch on his kicks, particularly that 52 yarder that he drilled. It is awesome to see how he knew to improve his game.
I don’t really know what was going on with the defense.
They clearly did not play poorly, as they still kept the streak of holding teams to 30 points or fewer (it is now 20), but I think down the stretch, the defense that we saw hold teams down later in the games was not as existent. There was still great pressure on Kedon Slovis, but the secondary seemed to let the receivers go by and get some scores late. USC didn’t quit, and I have to give them credit for it. But, I thought minus Kyle Hamilton, the secondary struggled a bit. I’m not super worried, it was just a bit concerning. But, you could also chalk it up to some rivalry game voodoo.
I hope no one ever questions if this is still a strong rivalry.
I get it. With the games recently, it’s been more about skill, and even last year I did not think much about playing USC, it was more the final hurdle before going 12-0. But, there clearly is no love lost between these two programs. There is still the hatred, and I’m glad for that. It makes it fun when there is that long-term hate that continues to boil over. I’m glad the teams have that fight and there is that jawing back and forth with nothing escalating too far. It’s animosity, which I’m all about. Nothing was too serious, so a little pushing and shoving is alright with me, especially when the Irish can ultimately assert their dominance.