I'll keep this relatively short. Yesterday's Notre Dame loss to Michigan State really bothers me. I don't really get all that upset if my team gets outplayed and looses. I understand the circumstances of the game of football (especially in the college ranks). Sometimes you just get outclassed. It happens at least once to the majority of non-BCS schools over the course of a season. Their isn't such a saying as "Any Given Saturday" in this game because that saying would come with a lot of holes. In the NFL, the talent level of teams are more or less on the same plain. They may be at vastly different levels of that plain, but its generally on the same one. That's not the case in college football. Some teams are just better and theirs not a whole lot players or a coaching staff can do about. That was not the situation yesterday in East Lansing.
- I was on the record as saying that the Irish would fall today, but I never could have predicted how they fell. To me, they beat themselves. You cannot turn the ball over three times and expect to win. Michigan showed that in South Bend last week. What killed you about the turnovers was that they came at critical moments. The two Clausen interceptions came when ND was driving and looking crisp on offense. This was surprising considering the conservative nature of the play calling in the first quarter. Its one thing to have turnovers, but its quite another to have back breaking turnovers like they had yesterday. That's what lost them the game.
- The running defense was poor. I know that Javon Ringer is good, but their is no excuse for him to rush for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns on 39 carries *side note: M-State better be careful about giving their star RB 39 touches in a week three out of conference game* That being said, the defense kept ND in the game. I'm not going to go crazy over the final score. Realistically it was a 16-7 game. That final missed FG for ND in the fourth ended it. The game was lost and everyone in the world knew it. As for the final M-State score, I can't kill a defense for giving up points on what was essentially one long run and not a sustained dominant drive. The defense overall was better then I thought it would be.
- Despite the two bad picks, Jimmy Clausen looks better and better every week. He's making mistakes that you would expect a sophomore who's getting his first legitimate action to make. I've written many a time that I have absolved Clausen of any blame for last season. He was 24/41 for 242 yards, 1 TD, and 2 picks. That's not a great stat line by any streach, but if you watched the game he looked more poised in the pocket and his throws were downright fantastic most of the time. The stats will come. This kid has got it. Watch out for Jimmy Clausen in his Junior and Senior year.
- My new favorite player? Golden Tate. He had five catches for 83 yards today and has big play potential every time he touches the ball. He and Michael Floyd may not be a half bad tandem for Clausen to throw to.
The mistakes yesterday were ones of youth. What's encouraging is the fact that its still a young team and sometimes that will show. Their youth certainly lost the game today. The Irish need to get better on defense and establish some sort of run game. I was encouraged at how close today was, but at the same time discouraged about the way they lost. It was an incredibly winnable game. People say football is a complicated game. Its not. It's quite simple actually. If you can't stop the run and you end good drives with turnovers, you will loose.
and that's exactly what ND did