We’ve had a few days to let this loss sink in and now, during Boston College week, is the time that I finally want to even mention anything about that Georgia game. Whether it’s disappointment over the fact that Notre Dame lost to a ranked team yet again or disappointment about the fact that I just want Notre Dame to be a top college team again and it’s not happening, for some reason it took me a while to let this loss sink in.
I honestly thought Notre Dame was going to win against Georgia, not because they had a freshman quarterback starting, but because of the way they played against Temple. Which leads me to some things that we learned about Notre Dame from this past Saturday…
One thing we learned is that our run game isn’t as good as we thought it was. Coming into the Georgia game, I thought it would be crucial for the Irish to establish the run game to open up the pass game for Wimbush. Coming off a game where the offense rushed for 422 yards, I thought it may be possible to do this. Boy was I wrong. Just a week after rushing for over 400 yards, the offense amassed a total of only 55 yards rushing on 37 attempts. That’s 1.5 yards per carry. Which, if you didn’t know, is absolutely terrible. So I learned that the run game isn’t as good as we thought it was when it went up against a good team and good defense.
The second thing I learned is that Wimbush isn’t really a good quarterback yet. The Temple game exposed his inability to consistently and effectively pass the ball as he went 17-30 with only 184 yards. But I threw those numbers away as maybe first game jitters and hoped that he would come back against Georgia and prove he’s ready to take the reigns as a Notre Dame starting quarterback. Yet again, I was wrong. This game against Georgia exposed even more the fact that he isn’t that good at quarterback yet. He went 19-39, which is about a completion percentage of 49%, for 211 yards and no touchdowns. He averaged a whopping 5.4 yards per completion. We can also throw in the fact that his quarterback rating was 19.3 – awful. In order to beat great teams or even good teams, you need a quarterback who can consistently and effectively pass the ball, which Wimbush has proven he can’t do. We can also put in there that Wimbush had 3 fumbles and lost 2 of them. Overall, not very good.
You can blame Wimbush’s play on a lot of things such as the offensive line struggles we saw during this game. BUT, there were plenty of times where he had more than enough time to find an open receiver and throw him the ball where he either missed the throw or didn’t even throw it at all. The offensive line struggles are not that worrisome to me, because we do have great offensive lineman that I believe will figure it out.
The last major thing we learned that is actually a positive: the Notre Dame defense is legit and can play with the big boys. Notre Dame’s defense was a strong suit in this game, and gave the Irish a chance to win if the offense had been able to actually do something. Notre Dame’s defense held one of the most dynamic duo backfield in college football to 136 yards rushing and gave up 185 total yards rushing. Yes, I know that is not all that good, but the Irish defense did what they had to do to stop this Georgia offense. They only allowed 141 yards passing, which is a good sign considering the defensive secondary troubles the Irish have had in the past years. Notre Dame’s defense forced two turnovers, allowed only 20 points and gave up 326 yards of offense. Overall, I am pretty impressed with how good this defense was against a top SEC school in Georgia.
We also learned a few minor things, like that Brian Kelly can’t win the big ones and that his time may be coming to an end at Notre Dame. Also, a lot of Notre Dame fans were sellouts, selling their tickets to Georgia fans. Talk about school pride and loyalty.
I don’t believe in moral victories, but even with a not so good quarterback and offensive troubles, Notre Dame only lost to the 15th ranked team in the nation and a SEC school by one. It shows the Irish are moving in the right direction.