Victory Notre Dame on a spooky Halloween night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. And just like a zombie, this game had a whole lot of ugly going on from start to finish.
The Irish got off to a fast start as they took the opening kickoff and marched down the field with a 12 play 74 yard drive that ended with a DeShone Kizer 4 yard run for a touchdown and Kizer doing a little “bird-talking.”
That was basically it for the fun times. The Irish battled a series of mishaps throughout the game that included bad penalties of the “how do you even call that” variety, two redzone interceptions, piss-poor blocking, and just uninsired play by anyone that wasn’t on the defensive line.
Once you throw in two more crazy happenings- it doesn’t make sense that the Irish won this game.
The first was an altercation on the Notre Dame sideline that involved Brian Kelly and assistant David Grimes. According to Brian Kelly in the post game press conference, Grimes was about to get a penalty for arguing with an official. That woke up the beast master, and Brian Kelly put an end to that nonsense real quick.
The second was an absolutely awful targeting call that took the review team all of 3 seconds to confirm. Elijah Shumate was called for targeting and ejected for basically being on Earth and subject to the laws of nature- in this case, gravity. Shumate dropped his shoulder a bit, but the receiver came down helmet first into Shumate’s helmet.
Shumate was supposed to teleport to Brazil instead of just being in the space he was in.
It was all a bit ridiculous. The Shumate ejection inserted Nickey Barrati into the lineup- AND GUESS WHO WHIFFED ON A TACKLE THAT PUT TEMPLE UP 20-17 LATE IN THE GAME? Yep… Baratti.
Through it all, the Notre Dame victory came down to two plays. There was the 17 yard strike from Kizer to Fuller to put the Irish up 24-20, and the KeiVarae Russell interception on Temple’s ensuing drive (quite a spectacular play by the way).
Oct 31, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell (6) intercepts a pass intended for Temple Owls wide receiver John Christopher (7) in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Notre Dame won 24-20 Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Hell, even the last play of the game involved a fumble. It was ugly, but it was a win. Victory, Irish as they move to 7-1 and look forward to the final four games of the season. The silver lining was that DeShone Kizer won another game in the fourth quarter, and he did it with a strong game on the ground. His 143 yards rushing are the most for an Irish quarterback since a guy named Ara roamed the sidelines. It was impressive- but more importantly it was needed.
An ugly game. One more win. The playoffs are still within reach.