Well, football is officially over. We have reached the point in time where we start to dig up old videos, highlights, articles, recruiting articles, and anything to pass the time as we’ve finally reached....Not Football***.
As we drudge through the end of winter, I thought it would be refreshing to reflect upon 1 play from each game the Notre Dame Fighting Irish played this season. I want to start with highlighting what I thought to be the turning point of the game and break down how that play came to be. I want to make these as interactive as possible, so if you don’t agree with my selected play, please comment and let me know why you think it was the turning point. And now to turn back the clock to September 1st as the Irish took on to the Michigan Wolverines.
The obvious pick here would have been the bomb to Chris Finke where he mossed two Michigan defenders. However, I want to focus on a play much earlier in that drive. It was third and nine from the 4 yard line on the second drive of the game. A punt here would have given Michigan great field position and an opportunity for an easy field goal or a quick score to tie the game up. Brandon Wimbush dropped back, seeing one high safety and press corners, signaling man coverage across the board. Alize Mack was matched up on a linebacker in the slot, and would be a quick read for Wimbush based on his move off the line. As you can see below by the staggered stance, the LB’s job was to funnel Mack inside towards safety help. Wimbush is looking to see if Mack can make a move off the ball.
As soon as Wimbush sees Mack get a bit of separation towards the outside, he knows the hole shot will be available, especially with the safety still inside the hash (Wimbush looked left at the snap to keep the safety honest). It is a dangerous throw if he doesn’t get enough air under it, allowing the LB to make a play, and even more dangerous if he floats it with the safety angling towards the ball.
Luckily.... He puts the ball on the money, perfectly placed past the linebacker and under the safety.
This was a massive play to move the chains, but also as a statement catch for Mack and a confidence builder for the Irish team as a whole. A guy who hadn’t done much in traffic risked it all for a huge catch, took a massive hit, and then held on, got up, and kept playing.
On top of that, the Michigan safety was ejected from the game for targeting, and his replacement was scored upon by Finke only a few plays later. This was a critical play in the drive and I believe the turning point for the game.
Thought it should be a different play? Let me know! As this is a new column taking place over the course of the next 12 weeks, I would love any and all feedback, and as always, GO IRISH!
***Not football is a bit different this year with the AAF kicking off this weekend. I would not be doing the league or one of my Holy Cross buddies any justice if I did not bring it up. Peter Pujals was a freshman at HC when I was a senior and will be playing on the Atlanta Legends this spring. He torched me during our first 7 on 7 to my surprise/delight (because he was on our side) and he went on to start as a freshman and the remaining 4 years, breaking all sorts of records in the process. Incredible player and a all around great guy. GO LEGENDS!