After having a decent year to this point the offensive line had their worst game of the season. It is hard not to criticize them when there were 5 false starts, and you’re the home team! Golic had 3 of the 5 false starts and struggled throughout the game. Stanford often brought a lot of pressure on Golson and Rees, but the offensive line failed to communicate and pick up the blitz affectively. Am I too hard on the offensive line? Maybe, but they are by far the veterans of the offense along with Eifert, Wood, and Riddick. The biggest problem was the sustainment of blocks throughout the game. The offensive line would make good contact, but would not keep their block. Troy Niklas is the guy that had the terrible attempt at a block on the Notre Dame’s own goal line that resulted in a fumble lost and recovered by Stanford for a touchdown. It was a technique problem all game. The line was caught lunging at the defenders not keeping their feet underneath them, and the defenders would easily side step or swim the offensive line.
Despite having 3 turnovers (one resulting in a touchdown) and 9 penalties for 70 yards the Irish get the win. Notre Dame lost the turnover battle on Saturday with it being -1. Nunes threw two picks, but Notre Dame coughed up three fumbles all by Golson. Golson needs to learn how to slide or dive before he gets laid out by the defenders. It is rare that a team wins when they fumble the ball 3 times and one of those times it’s recovered for a touchdown. This was the worst night of the season for the Irish with all the penalties and turnovers and they overcome adversity and get the win. That should show you who this team really is.
Now I will say that his play wasn’t all negative and I would give him a passing grade for the game, but the three fumbles cannot be ignored. Golson completed just 50 percent of his passes this week going 12-24 141 yards and a touchdown. He also had 15 rushes for 41 yards. I am sure that Coach Kelly will be talking to Golson about sliding when rushing or taking a dive to get extra yards, and avoid getting rocked by defenders that drool when a quarterback leaves himself open for those hits. He has to improve on his presence in the pocket, because he usually only looks at his number one option at receiver and hardly ever checks to a different one. If the first guy isn’t open then look for him to run for it. Personally I like Golson to improvise and run the ball, but make the other team fear you through the air and on the ground and then the offense will be rolling. A side note: Golson has a mild concussion, but is expected to be cleared early this week.