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Notre Dame Football: Irish shake off slow start to put Tennessee State away

Is it a good thing or bad when the worst things are the broadcast and officiating? 

Tennessee State v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Well, that was something. If you would’ve said to me on Friday that Notre Dame was going to win 56-3 I would’ve said that you were probably right. I would’ve said I was hoping for at least 60 but that seems like it’ll be right on the money. If you would’ve told me I was going to be this mentally exhausted after winning 56-3; I would not have believed it. Maybe it was having to hear all the national “pundits” again with it being the first actual week of the season, or maybe it was Deion Sanders and him being completely insufferable, but my annoyance level was maxed out as this game was getting started. By the end of the game, that same annoyance level had found new heights, and funny enough it had almost nothing to do with the performance the Irish had put in. Terrible officiating and even worse broadcasting had me feeling like this whole game was like the first defensive possession for Notre Dame, which by no means was the case. I’ll touch on my complaints again in a bit (because I could go for hours) but now that it’s over, let us focus on some of the positives. There is a pretty good amount to choose from.

Spread the love!

Tennessee State v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

For the second week in a row, the offense went up against a defense that could only be described as well, not great. And for the second time in said weeks, the offense did as much as they could do without hurting themselves. Even though Superman Sam got close enough to give me a quick scare. In all seriousness they got the job done, enough for the second team to come in and get some work done as well. The first takeaway I had was probably everyone else’s, and that’s the drive before half. I know it was against Tennessee State, but it was the definition of flawless. They made it look like that 2-minute drill was being run on air. Sam was cool calm and collected, and the receivers/tight ends were getting to soft spots with ease and making plays. The second takeaway was how many players were able to get involved. I’m not just talking about getting second/third string reps, but all the different options the offense seems to have at their disposal. It’s one thing to have a QB presence like Sam has, but having an array of weapons to choose from like this is that much better. Again both things the Irish have lacked in recent memory. It’s why despite the opponents they’ve gone against, this offense feels different than it has before. I’ll say it over and over, they will need to continue to improve to continue to hear this praise from me due to the lack of competition. But there’s a feeling of ease that this offense has that I haven’t gotten from a Notre Dame offense (at least recently). Irish offenses from the past may have been able to put up similar scores as they have the last 2 weeks, but I feel like it would’ve felt like so much more of a struggle. This unit feels like they’ve barely dug into the playbook, and all they’ve done is do the simple stuff very very well. I’m extremely intrigued by the game against NC State. It’s going to be a great opportunity to get a better idea of just how good this offense (and team) truly is before the Ohio State game.

You’re putting me in a tough position.

Tennessee State v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Heading into this game I was excited to get a chance to see the defense do more things similar to what they are going to do the rest of the season. It’s really hard to get any sort of real vibe from a defense based on an opening game against Navy. It’s still hard to truly judge against Tennessee St. based on the talent disparity but we would get a better “look” per se. We got that, but not only that. Due to our great friends in ACC officiating, this defensive squad was put into TERRIBLE situations. First, we have Devyn Ford getting absolutely decapitated with a hit that is the definition of targeting, that jars the ball loose but obviously no call. The defense allowed 0 yards from their own 12-yard line, three-and-out, and even blocked the FG for good measure. Then a little later the special teams decides the game is getting too easy and they want to allow the Tigers to take the kick all the way to our 38 yd-line. This was about the time our ACC friends grew a conscience about targetting and gifted Tenessee St. a targetting penalty. It was obvious to everyone watching he hit his shoulder first, just as obvious as it was they were going to call it on us anyway. With the help of some awful execution on the Tiger’s part, this defense was able to lock in, push the offense back, and force a missed FG. Yes, after the first drive they had, they didn’t deserve a blowout. But for the rest of the game, despite being put into some extremely difficult situations the defense held their end of the bargain. I pray that some of the arm tackling from the first drive was due to them taking a minute to get going and not being fully in it yet. As I mentioned with the offense, NC State is going to be a much better-measuring stick for Ohio St compared to the last 2 weeks. Come this time next week I will feel more comfortable speaking more definitively about this team as a whole. So far they’ve done all they have been able to do.

I hated Week 1

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Michigan at Indiana Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Notre Dame playing Week 0 had the beginning of the season feeling slightly less exciting than in previous years. That’s why despite a limited amount of quality/ranked matchups I was looking forward to this weekend. After having to hear all airheads on the national networks again after a long break, there is a real possibility my TV will not be tuned in to anything college football-related until the games start from now on. For a lot of games, it will remain muted as well. I can’t stand hearing these so-called experts dishing out praise and criticism on a topic they haven’t a real clue about, and everyone takes it as law. Then I’m reminded with the terrible officiating that these conferences are all in bed with these TV networks and there’s no one giving any sort of oversight whatsoever. This is all a long way of saying after going through the day, I know that my mental exhaustion had nothing to do with Notre Dame. Yes, I would’ve loved to get a 70-burger but I think most of us knew deep down that wasn’t going to happen. Even if it was only because they took their foot off the petal. NC State is no world-beater, but I think we will all feel a bit more educated come Sunday morning next week.