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Notre Dame football: Team effort moves Brian Kelly past Knute Rockne
- The offensive line is bad. There’s no sugarcoating it. They’re terrible and it’s not a problem that is easily solved in the middle of a season. They gave up five first-half sacks and seven on the day. There was no push in the run game, and no balance in the offense because of that. Jack Coan got hurt because of one of those sacks. They left Drew Pyne out to dry, and Tosh Baker simply can’t be allowed to play left tackle anymore.
- Coan or Mertz? Well, neither is great or without their limitations. For now, though, you have to go with Coan as the better quarterback, but you also understand why Wisconsin needed to move on from him. Coan would get hurt in the second half, a byproduct of being hit almost every play, while Mertz heated up with momentum. Mertz quickly fell off again, and you have to think Coan is the better option for Wisconsin, but it also might just be their system that’s the problem.
- How about Buchner…the offense was out of rhythm all day long, especially in the running game. In the past, we’ve seen the Irish use, Tyler Buchner, as a threat in the running game, adding a read-option element to the offense in fits and bursts. It was reported he had a tight hamstring and wasn’t available, though. So, Drew Pyne (who is technically listed at number 2 on the depth chart) came into the game in the third.
- Special teams…missed field goals, short punts, and other special teams issues plagued the Irish in the first half. This unit is incredibly important, though often overlooked in the long run. Jonathan Doerer has had issues from the kicker spot since last season, and that can be a major issue in terms of momentum and the simple point total in close games. Credit Jay Bramblett with a bomb of a punt at the end of the first half. Just be more consistent. Then, at the start of the fourth quarter, Chris Tyree broke a kick return for a touchdown to make it a 17-13 game, demonstrating why this unit means so much.
- Marcus Freeman’s defense…do you see the process? Players have learned to the system and now you can see the goal. To create havoc and force turnovers. It worked like a beauty against Wisconsin.
- Kelly and Rockne…last week Brian Kelly tied Knute Rockne for most wins all-time at Notre Dame. This week he passed Rockne, with 106 wins. Take that haters. Build a Brian Kelly statue.