It's gametime so, today, I thought I try something different and do a live-blog of the ND/UNC game. Here goes nothing:
3:33 - Here we go...
3:34 - Short kick, nice field position at the 35 for UNC
3:35 - Sexton a little high on the first pass. Let's hope that keeps up.
3:36 - Brooks Foster just dropped what would have been a HUUUUGE catch. Whew.
3 :38 - Duval Kamara! Where the hell have you been?!
3:39 - Offsides on UNC. Nice!
3:40 - Another offsides for UNC. Whose stadium is this?
3:41 - Oh, dear Lord, seeing Jimmy run is scaaary.
3:42 - Golden Tate, ladies and gentleman!!!!
3:43 - First down Irish! Is Rudolph really a freshman?
3:44 - BTW, since when are we running the spread? Announcers have said it about four times.
3:45 - Yikes! That's nearly two INTs in a row for Jimmy.
3:46 - Touchdown Irish!!!!!!! YEAAAAAAAH BABY!!!!!! 7-0!
3:49 - Annnnd we're flipping to ABC. But we were doing so well on ESPN!
3:50 - Fumble, Heels. Still, good field position for UNC
3:52 - Must. Wrap. Up. The. Quarterback!
3:53 - Mo Crum has terrible hands, but that still brings up 4th down.
3:54 - Damnit, Brian Smith! Not a good spot for a personal foul.
3:56 - Michael Floyd - wow! That's how you get some field position!
3:57 - Matt Winer has a most unfortunate name. Grade school must have been awful.
3:58 - Why is Stacey wearing UNC's colors? C'mon ABC!
3:59 - Oh man, that's a huuuuge sack. Crap!
4:01 - Awful close on the punt. Good coverage, though.
4:05 - Damn! The big completion was bad enough. The facemask - unforgiveable.
4:07 - I have to confess, Shaun Draughn is just a fun name to say.
4:08 - Why am I not surprised that UNC has a 'Cooter' on their team?
4:09 - Shit! Thought for a second that field goal wasn't going to make it.
4:12 - Brandon Tate done for the game for the Heels. Here's hoping he's ok.
4:14 - Nice run, Armando! 16 yards.
4:15 - Casey Clausen's playing for us now? Amazed he has eligibility left.
4:19 - I might challenge that non-catch call. That looked kinda close.
4:21 - Grimes comes up a little short. Probably have to go for it here.
4:22 - We made a field goal! That looked about a mile off when he first kicked it.
4:26 - Really needed to stop UNC on that 3rd and 2. They had him short.
4:29 - Sexon continues to be a bit high on his throws. Interception potential.
4:30 - Can we please stop the run? I'm not above begging.
4:31 - Please take Lambert off of Nicks. He was five yards away from him on that pass.
4:32 - Nice work, Hayseed! Way to stuff the run.
4:35 - The defense looks terrible against a bad offense missing its star WR. Not good.
4:38 - Big stop, Mo Richardson. Good to see him in there.
4:39 - Good to see UNC shooting themselves in the foot with the dropped snap.
4:40 - Field goal, Tar Heels.
4:42 - UNC has done an awesome job on kick coverage thus far. Impressive.
4:44 - Big run in a short yardage situation. That's refreshing! Nice run, Aldridge!
4:46 - What a catch by Golden Tate!!!! I would have bet money that was picked.
4:50 - Touchdown, Michael Floyd!!!!! It's a thing of beauty!!!
4:53 - UNC has one solid receiver out there and we can't cover him. Embarrasing.
4:56 - ND caught a huge break with that incompletion. He was open.
4:57 - Crap! Hate to see UNC put up points right before halftime. That hurts.
4:59 - What the hell was that?! How did he not get that ball?!
5:02 - Big hit by Mo Crum on Sexton.
5:04 - Talk about dodging a bullet. That field goal looked pretty good for a second there.
5:05 - Halftime. ND up 17-9. Concerns about defense and momentum setting in.
5:26 - SHIT!!!!! That was NOT the way to start the second half.
5:32 - Oh man, Carolina is fired up. This is really not good.
5:33 - Maust gets hit! Sweet, sweet redemption!
5:33 - Is that UNC player really named Ritchie Rich?!
5:35 - Kamara suddenly becoming an impact player.
5:36 - Yikes, that was a a little too close for my comfort. Kamara to the rescue again.
5:37 - Kamara, great catch! Clausen, great scramble!
5:38 - Touchdown, Aldridge!!!!! Way to respond!
5:42 - Sexton goes high again (have I mentioned that already?)
5:43 - Why does ND not put Nicks in double-coverage?
5:44 - Sack by Pat Kuntz!!!
5:45 - Are you kidding me?! 3rd-and-18 and they convert?!
5:47 - This defense is absolutely awful. UNC's offense is atrocious and they're beating them.
5:49 - It's amazing that Paul Maguire can still talk while fellating UNC's players.
5:52 - Touchdown, douchebags. God, I hate this defense so much.
5:56 - NOW, it's touchdown, douchebags and, yes, I still hate this defense intensely.
5:57 - If only ND's D could play every play like that two-point conversion.
6:00 - Not a great effort by the line in getting Hughes stuffed there.
6:01 - Great call by Haywood in getting that pass to Hughes.
6:02 - Hang on to the damn ball, Jimmy!!! UNC will take the lead on this drive. Bet on it.
6:03 - Holding on UNC. ND's is damn lucky. And terrible at defense.
6:04 - My prediction: Notre Dame loses this game. Momentum's turned. T.O.'s blew it.
6:07 - What the fuck?! Does anyone even play defense on this team?
6:10 - Oh.My.God. Can this defense do ANYTHING right?! Interference, Crum.
6:12 - End of the third quarter. ND's two-game streak of good 3rds is officially over. Awful.
6:15 - Fuck you, Corwin Brown. Fuck you, Jon Tenuta. Fuck you, Notre Dame defense.
6:16 - I am truly glad we have such defensive "geniuses" on the coaching staff. Brilliant, really.
6:19 - Beautiful pass by Clausen and catch by Floyd.
6:22 - That was a terrible (and scary) pass to Grimes.
6:23 - Epic fail on 4th down by the Irish offense.
6:24 - If we actually had a defense capable of stopping anyone, I wouldn't be worried. Alas...
6:25 - Any chance whatsoever Notre Dame can somehow come up with a turnover?
6:28 - So that's what a 3rd down stop looks like!
6:29 - Wow, that absolutely should have been a roughing call.
6:33 - First down Jimmy on a sneek. Way to go off-tackle on that one.
6:34 - Close shave on that fumble recovery.
6:35 - First down, Hughes. Monster hit on that Tar Heel by Robert.
6:37 - Tough sledding on the last couple runs. Allen just went nowhere.
6:38 - Ugh, definitely didn't need to see Jimmy get taken down like that.
6:39 - Interception. Motherfucker! That's ballgame, folks.
6:40 - Any team that turns the ball over 4 times on the road should not win.
6:43 - This is the worst performance the defense has had this season.
6:48 - Nice work, defense. Way to play to type. You suck and deserve to lose.
6:51 - Longest review ever for an obvious call. He made the catch. Let's move on.
6:52 - Are you kidding?! I am a Notre Dame hyper-partisan and even I think he caught that.
6:53 - Last shot for the offense. This should be fun. And by fun, I mean excruciating.
6:54 - Golden! Nice catch and run!
6:55 - Throwing the ball away a good decision there. No need to be Brett Favre and force it.
6:56 - Not sure I agree with a run there. Clock an issue.
6:57 - Mr. Tate, you are magnificent!
6:58 - That was nerve-wracking. I was pretty sure a sack was coming.
6:58 - Oh man, I didn't think Clausen got out of bounds there.
6:59 - Oh my God, tip in the endzone. I thought maybe...but no.
7:00 - Fuck you, Paul Maguire. You are a miserable, no-talent, Mike Holmgren lookalike.
7:01 - What the hell?! You can't let the game end like that!
7:03 - Paul Maguire is the biggest cock gobbler in the world.
7:04 - He has to be called down. Shoulders were down before the ball came out.
7:07 - Either Stacey explained that wrong or Butch Davis is an idiot.
7:08 - That is complete horseshit!!!! Worst fucking call ever. His shoulders were down!!!!!!
7:10 - Terrible, TERRIBLE way to lose a game. I'm going to drink heavily now.
Conclusion: Is Notre Dame an improved team? Well, they suck less than last year - is that improvement? Yes, I know, they piled up a bunch of yards. And yes, they hung in there with a Top 25 team on the road. Big deal. It's not about yards, it's about wins. Notre Dame has proven they can beat bad teams at home. They have not proven they can beat a team with half-a-pulse on the road (actually, they haven't proven they can beat anyone on the road). Truth be told, Notre Dame lost this game more than UNC won it. The turnovers were just awful. That said, the Irish defense was completely unable to stop an offense that came into the game 88th in the country and lost their top receiver in the first quarter. That's pathetic.
As for UNC being a Top-25 team; it's only because they play in the atrocious ACC. This is not a good team. Bland offense that any decent defense would throttle, porous defense that counts on opponent errors. Put them in any other conference and they don't sniff the Top-25. Make no mistake, this was a miserable loss.
Notre Dame probably does have enough games against bad teams left in its schedule that they will qualify for a bowl, but that's not being a good team. Being a good team is beating teams outside your home stadium and beating decent teams. Notre Dame hasn't proven they can do either. They are not a good team. They have talent and they're doing more with it than last year, but four turnovers (I refuse to count that last so-called fumble) and a loss does not a good team make.
I'm sure I'm going to catch a lot of flak from my fellow ND fans about this but, if they're being intellectually honest, they'll admit it's true. Part of the problem is, this team was so bad last year that actually looking competent is grounds for big backslaps and atta boys. Are they on their way to being a successful, good team? I think so but, without a doubt, they are not there yet. It's a good thing they have a bye coming up because, after a loss like this, they would absolutely lose to Washington next week. This was a game the Irish should have won. They blew it.