Nov 03, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back Ray Graham (1) rushes the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeats Pittsburgh 29-26 in 3 OT. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Pittsburgh-Notre Dame: The Negatives

If Notre Dame has another performance like this it will give them their first loss of the season. It’s not luck that won Notre Dame the game, but breaks they received late in the game, which hasn’t happened for the Irish in a long time.

Defense

After 8 games Notre Dame had been stout against the run and not letting the big plays happen. Making their opponents uncomfortable and forcing them to do uncharacteristic things. Not Saturday Ray Graham ran all over Notre Dame. Graham had 24 carries 172 yards and a touchdown, a 7.2 yards per carry average and a long run of 55 yards. Unacceptable, maybe Notre Dame didn’t give Pitt enough credit. I just don’t understand. I can’t imagine Coach Kelly’s disappointment in their performance. Getting the win is what matters, but Notre Dame got some huge breaks during the game. The defense gave up a total of 308 yards, which isn’t bad, but we all expect a lot less. Tino Sunseri had an efficient game going 19-29 164 yards and a touchdown. The defense looked sluggish and unmotivated during the game. I hope this was a wakeup call for them, because they cannot have another performance like this past Saturday.

Turnovers

Notre Dame had 3 turnovers against Pitt, two interceptions and a fumble. This reminded me of last year, throwing a pick into the end zone and fumbling on the 1 yard line. It simply cannot happen. Pitt played a good game let’s not take anything away from them, but Notre Dame had their worst game of the season. It has to be fixed and I’m confident that Coach Kelly will put these players through a week of practice that they will never forget.

Switching Quarterbacks Once Again

Golson loses his helmet and Tommy comes in for that play, which I thought would be his first and last of the game unless Golson was hurt. Low and behold the next drive Tommy comes out as quarterback. Now to this point in the game Golson had been very efficient throwing and running the football, but he had missed some receivers. Tommy throws a bad interception and then Golson comes back into the game and leads the Irish to victory. This is the only thing I don’t agree with Coach Kelly on. Why bring Rees in the game? You take away the running threat of Golson and settle for a weaker arm. It is clear that with Golson’s legs he creates plays on offense that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Look back to the touchdown pass to Theo Riddick, which he gave himself time by scrambling and threw to a wide open receiver for a touchdown. Then he tied it up on the two point conversion with his legs diving into the end zone.

Not Finishing Drives

Notre Dame out gained Pitt 522-308 then you wonder why the game was so close. Well, turnovers and not finishing drives will do that to a team. The offense would have a solid drive going then stall and settle for a field goal. Then turn the ball over in the red zone twice in one game. These things keep the game close and since the defense didn’t force any turnovers, Pitt had the advantage.

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