Monday, November 26, 2012
Notre Dame weekend rewind
By Matt Fortuna
One last look back at a historical weekend for the Irish.
The good: Notre Dame is going to the national title game following a perfect regular season capped by a 22-13 win at rival USC. Everett Golson threw for 217 yards, Theo Riddick rushed for 146 and the defense was its usual stellar self, holding both of USC's big-play wideouts to fewer than 100 yards.
The bad: Since we have to get picky ... that red zone offense has plenty of room for improvement. Five times the Irish had to settle for field goals after marching into the red zone, with Kyle Brindza connecting on four of them. Brindza, by the way, set the school single-season record with 23 made field goals (out of 31). John Carney (21, 1986) was the previous record-holder.
The ugly: Eight snaps from inside the 10 for USC down the stretch, zero points. The play-action on fourth down is not a bad option, but redshirt freshman fullback Soma Vainuku, he of eight career catches, is hardly the go-to guy on the biggest remaining play of the season. (And, yes, plenty of credit must be given to Notre Dame's defense, too.)
More history: Tyler Eifert's four catches for 69 yards Saturday gave him 1,779 career receiving yards, surpassing Ken MacAfee for the most among tight ends in school history. Eifert's 134 career receptions are also a school record.
Next up: Notre Dame awaits the winner of this weekend's SEC title-game matchup between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, as the winner is almost assured of a trip to Miami for the national title game on Jan. 7.