Here are some thoughts on Notre Dame’s 41-17 dismissal of Central Michigan.
Yeah, I Got Nothing
I mean, it’s Central Michigan, and you all know who the next opponent on the schedule is. This game is going to fall quickly by the wayside, as every Peacock game should, because oh my goodness this stuff is horrendous.
Cutting away from live action for commercials? Poor video quality? A color commentator who can’t pronounce the name “Flores” (or apparently felt the need to translate it to “Flowers” for the Spanish-speaking members of the Notre Dame fandom)? All you can say is YIKES.
Add in some bottom-barrel officiating and it was a dream game for anyone looking for something to complain about. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t complain about that stuff — whether on the platform formerly known as Twitter or otherwise — but I don’t think it’s worth the effort in this case.
I’m not so spoiled in my relatively brief time following the Irish that I think Notre Dame’s once-exclusive broadcast partner should never put a game on streaming. While it would be nice to not deal with Peacock, it’s the way things are headed in college football (e.g., every Southeastern Conference team has at least one streaming-only game per season). But with this quality of broadcast and football product, every one of the three Peacock games to date (vs. Toledo, UNLV, and now Central Michigan) has been, to varying degrees, a slog that every fan just wants to weather before getting on to the next week.
And notice that I still haven’t even mentioned how the actual game played out at all. Sam Hartman threw for 330 yards and three scores, including 75- and 76-yard strikes to Tobias Merriweather and Chris Tyree, respectively. Audric Estime hurdled a couple of defenders on his way to 176 rushing yards and Holden Staes pulled in his fourth touchdown catch in a three-game span.
In a vacuum, that’s all fantastic. But the full story is that the Irish were only up by seven points at halftime because of two inexplicable defensive drives, Estime had to carry the ball 20 times against a MAC opponent because the game was in doubt for too long and Hartman’s leg got rolled up on because he was in the game longer than he should have been. (I’m not going to comment on whether or not Central Michigan’s players were trying to injure Sam Hartman because I wasn’t paying enough attention to develop an informed opinion, and I’d rather not feed into that discussion).
Notre Dame had eight penalties on the day. Blame it on the stripes as much as you like, but that’s too many. Still, the penalties and the defense’s shoddy tackling can get cleaned up, especially the latter with the hopeful return of linebacker JD Bertrand for the next game.
But as for the offensive issues, it’s been four weeks and Notre Dame’s offensive line has been good opening running lanes but inconsistent in pass blocking situations. This is around the point in a season where offensive lines settle into form for the rest of the year, and the Irish are going to need more than what’s been shown if they’re going to make the College Football Playoff.
But a win is a win, truisms be damned. It was a day in college football where the flags flew (23 combined penalties in Boston College-Florida State, 17 in Georgia-South Carolina, 15 in Florida-Tennessee and 27 in Colorado-Colorado State). It was a day where a fight broke out in the waning seconds of Florida’s win over Tennessee. And it was a day when Florida State fans, like Notre Dame fans, held their collective breath as the starting quarterback could have sustained a potentially season-altering injury.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say that everyone is just grateful that Sept. 16 is in the rearview mirror and Sept. 23 is dead ahead. Bring on the Buckeyes, College Gameday and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with this kind of matchup. And, if you’re going to the Ohio State game, and you happen to be so inclined, take Hartman’s advice:
Sam Hartman’s message to Notre Dame fans for the Ohio State game: “Show up, be early and be rowdyyyy.” pic.twitter.com/Vq8Iv1WXqL— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) September 16, 2023
Until then, stay safe out there.