In the early parts of the game inside Notre Dame Stadium, it certainly didn’t look like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish offense was clicking on all cylinders against the Boston College Eagles. Notre Dame’s first three offensive possession’s resulted in two Jonathan Doerer field goals, and a punt from Jay Bramblett.
Ian Book managed to find Chase Claypool on a short touchdown pass to finish a 75 yard drive late in the second quarter for the first trip into the endzone. Notre Dame would add another field goal with one second left in the first half to make it 16-7 at halftime — but Irish fans were confused, angry, and frustrated.
So, typical day — right?
After what looked like an inefficient first half, Notre Dame more than doubled itself up in the third quarter with a Book touchdown pass to Cole Kmet, Braden Lenzy scorching earth (again) with a 61 yard touchdown run, and Doerer added his fourth field goal of the day. Notre Dame’s last score of the game was another short touchdown pass from Ian Book — this time to Chris Finke.
So what was the fuss?
For the season, the Irish are averaging 36.3 points per game after today’s result. Back in August there was a great debate about if this would be the best scoring offense in Notre Dame history, and if they would be able to average 40+ points per game. From what I remember, it seemed pretty split to me as to both the media’s and fan’s thoughts on the ability of the Irish to do this, so coming up just short or just over wouldn’t have been a shock either way.
Injuries, however, started to take its toll. Cole Kmet and Michael Young went down in fall camp, and Jafar Armstrong got injured early in the first game of the year. Only Kmet has been a major contributor to this team since his return against Georgia. Young left the team, and Jafar hasn’t even been 1/10 of what we expected. Notre Dame also lost its best two offensive linemen during the year in Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey, And yet... Notre Dame is averaging 36.3 points per game.
There’s no way we can say the Irish offense has been great all season long, and 3rd down efficiency is something that has haunted them in 2019, but put that number up against the 2005 team and it’s really close in terms of points. In 2005, the Brady Quinn led offense (with Charlie Weis schematic advantage) averaged 36.7 points per game — and we adored their efforts.
With similar numbers, it feels like Irish fans are ready to revolt each week and take Father Jenkins hostage until Chip Long is fired. These are very basic numbers, but after 11 games, is there really that much of a difference?
A “bad offense” is scoring over 36 points per game and has helped the Irish achieve a 9-2 record with one more regular season game and then the bowl game. Today the offense put up 501 yards of offense (252 run & 249 pass) and 40 points. I’m beginning to think none of us knows what a bad offense is anymore, because we all have highlight syndrome and advanced stats in our face.
This is a good offense if for no other reason than they are averaging more than 35 points per game, and fighting off injuries. Want to see a bad offense? Take a short drive over to Evanston and check out the Northwestern Wildcats. Notre Dame won’t set any NCAA records this season, but they’re close to setting the single season scoring record.
This bad offense.