As Notre Dame falls, Nevada rises
In retrospect, the most bizarre score of the entire college football season might be Notre Dame 35, Nevada 0 back on Sept. 5.
Among the litany of stories you'll see in the next week or two that sift through the wreckage of the Charlie Weis era is Nevada. Almost every game has been a major struggle for Notre Dame this fall. The Irish have had only two blowouts this season: a 40-14 romp over lowly Washington State, one of the worst FBS teams, and an impressive 35-0 demolition of a potent Nevada team. It's wild to think how different things appeared for that ND team just a few months ago as it pitched its first shutout since 2002. The Irish held the Wolf Pack to 153 yards rushing and 307 total yards. They looked fast, athletic and well-prepared, and it was their biggest margin of victory since the Ty Willingham era. It provided reasons for optimism, but obviously that was the best performance they'd have all season. The Irish now rank 80th in total defense and 80th against the rush, yet how were they able to shut down Nevada?
Meanwhile, the Pack shook off a dismal 0-3 start and have won eight in a row. On Saturday, Nevada pummeled New Mexico State 63-20 to make it four games in which they've scored at least 60 points this season. The Pack had an astounding 574 rushing yards, the highest single-game rushing total in the FBS this season.
Kaepernick has run for 13 touchdowns since Nevada's Oct. 24 win over Idaho (a game it won 70-45) while putting up a 7-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in that span. The Wolf Pack come sizzling into Friday night's game against Boise State.
Back in South Bend, the defense has fallen apart. I doubt this loss was the final blow for Weis' coaching hopes in South Bend. I suspect the ND brass already had decided it needed to go in a different direction before the Irish took the field Saturday.
To keep reading Feldman's blog -- including his thoughts on the Charlie Weis era, whether Weis was overrated and where ND can and should go from here -- you must be an ESPN Insider. Also on the other side of the pay wall? A great Chris Spielman story.
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