Monday, October 15, 2012
Notre Dame weekend rewind
By Matt Fortuna
One last look at the weekend that was for Notre Dame:
The good: The Irish are 6-0 on the back of a defense that has not given up a touchdown in four games, one that has not given up a rushing touchdown this season. Notre Dame stopped Stepfan Taylor four times inside the 4-yard line in overtime to preserve the victory. Tommy Rees saved the day again on offense but, unlike last week, does not get credit for this win.
Backup QB Tommy Rees came off the bench and answered the bell again for the Fighting Irish.
The bad: Five false start penalties at home is, in a word, unacceptable, as are three lost fumbles by the starting quarterback.
The ugly: Lots of close calls in this one will be debated endlessly. Did Taylor score on the last play? (And why in the world did the official announce something about excessive celebration, let alone before making his ruling on the play?) Was there a crowd whistle, as coach David Shaw insisted, that forced his players to stop playing and allowed Matthias Farley to tackle Taylor for a seven-yard loss on third down on the Cardinal's final drive of regulation? It looked like Everett Golson may have been out of bounds before his last fumble as well. But none of these alleged gaffes are as mind-boggling as Stanford's overturned second-down fourth-quarter completion from the Irish 48 -- not because of the ruling but because the ball was then marked at the Stanford 48. Shaw noticed and, asked if he spoke to the officials about it, said: "Yes, I did, but I can't make them ... I mean and they put the ball on the wrong hash. There's nothing else I can do about it. I'm not going to comment on the officials."
The only ... Notre Dame is the only team in the nation with wins over three AP Top 25 teams, as it has beaten then-No. 10 Michigan State, then-No. 18 Michigan and then-No. 17 Stanford. The Cardinal, at No. 20 in the BCS rankings, are the only one of those teams still ranked (and the highest-ranked two-loss team in the every poll). The Irish haven't beaten three AP Top 25 teams since 2002, with six in 1989 standing as the school record.
Next up: In what defines the term "trap game," the Irish host BYU after they beat Stanford and a week before they travel to Oklahoma. The Cougars are 4-3 and, like Stanford, boast a great defense that let up a week before their trip to South Bend, as they gave up 42 points to Oregon State on Saturday. BYU was surrendering 8.83 points per game before its loss to the Beavers.