Notre Dame football wants to get to a place of dominance with its program. Their lackluster win over Ball State left doubt among Irish fans.
The Notre Dame football program looked like to be trending upward in major fashion after knocking off Michigan to start the season. After beating Ball State Saturday, some of the enthusiasm surrounding the program has dissipated because of a less-than-stellar performance. It’s a feeling with which Irish fans have become accustomed in recent years.
But while Notre Dame’s performance was certainly a sluggish one, the Irish still had moments where their dominance showed. The problem, however, is that the Irish lacked the consistency to put dominant plays together. The Irish were victims of penalties and uncharacteristic plays.
In other words, Notre Dame’s wounds were largely self-inflicted. More importantly, the mistakes they made were correctable.
Take, for instance, the play of the offensive line. No one would say that the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, but while there were times that Irish backs were stymied, poor offensive line play only tells part of the story. Notre Dame gashed Ball State enough times to feel good about the running game.
In short, it was the negative plays that cost the Irish. Those plays–the decision by Tony Jones to reverse field and lose 5 yards instead of gaining 2, the decision by Avery Davis to try to bounce a run outside and netting 1 yard instead of cutting inside to gain 7, and the illegal block penalty by Robert Hainsey that wiped out an 8-yard run by Jafar Armstrong–were among the plays that made Notre Dame’s lives difficult on the offensive side of the ball.
Finally, it was the decision-making, not the physical execution of plays, that plagued quarterback Brandon Wimbush. While Wimbush showed flashes of brilliance–after all, he threw for 297 yards on the afternoon–he also showed poor decision-making, throwing into double coverage multiple times throughout the game.
Notre Dame’s play and their lack of consistency was certainly perplexing and the reason they were unable to turn a 24-16 game into a 41-16 game that would have been enough to have Irish fans leaving (mostly) happy. For more on this, listen to the latest episode of the Under the Dome Podcast.