Notre Dame 28, Temple 6
All right, Irish revelers--my fellow Lunatic Legion--let us go forth and rejoice. The Irish have triumphed again!
was not, perhaps, the stalwart defensive effort everybody was hoping
for--nor was it as much of an all-day scoring spree as we might have
anticipated based upon the first two drives of the game. However, thanks
in part to a truly horrific kicking game, we pulled out a solid,
non-nail-biting win against an overmatched (but still quite plucky)
After the game, though, I had several people
say to me, "Great game!" And instead of agreeing like a normal person, I
looked at them like they were noodle-heads and said, "Really? I mean,
we won and all, but what game were YOU watching?"
not a game that readily inspired me to believe I was going to be able
to watch the Irish play Michigan without danger of stroke and/or cardiac
arrest. I mean, did you SEE our kicking game? Did you SEE IT? And what
about our defense in the second quarter? What about those Louis Nix
penalties? And what about that sack we gave up? I mean, YIKES.
At which point I said to myself: Lisa, thou shalt Get a Grip.
still experience a sense of football-induced PTSD whenever it seems
like our team might possibly, marginally, in any way begin to stumble
against a team like Temple (or South Florida or Tulsa or...let's not go
on). I also seize up whenever it seems as though the rejuvenated Reesus
might revert into the Turnover Tommy of olde. (Keep thy focus, Reesus.
Convert thy third downs to firsts. Sow your passes not unto infertile
soil but into thy players' open hands.) I have to remind myself that
with a new and relatively untested receiving corps, not all of the
missed catches are going to be the QB's fault. And a couple incompletes
are no big deal when your QB is completing 69% of his passes for 346 yds
and 3 TDs.
But the Crazy Irish Fan within me does not
care about logic. Crazy Irish Fan wants to live in a world without
doubt. Crazy Irish Fan wants perfect passes all of the time--and perfect
defensive play even MORE of the time. Crazy Irish Fan wants redemption
for the game against Alabama, proof that last season was not a
fluke--was not all just a paragon of wild luck--was not all just an
euphoric dream---and Crazy Irish Fan wants all of that RIGHT NOW. I
mean, IMMEDIATELY. First game of the season, we should be smacking down
our opponent 59-9. Right? RIGHT?!??!
To which I say: No,
Crazy Irish Fan, you cannot have it all at once. Stop being so crazy.
And maybe take a minute to remind yourself what you can expect from
Brian Kelly's teams. For one thing, you can expect the team to improve
over the course of the season. (Remember how no one was really sure
about us last season, and then 3 or 4 games in, all of a sudden it was
like HOLY SHIT THIS TEAM?) For another: you cannot expect this team to
be last season's team.
No matter how much I protest that I
know this year is going to be different...let's face it, I really
wanted to see the defense look pretty much the way it looked last season
(nvm that Manti Te'o is gone; I mean, you've still got Nix & Tuitt
& Shembo & all those guys, right? The defense will just
magically reinvent itself and fill that gap, because...because
magic....). I also really wanted the offense to make all touchdowns look
as easy as they looked on those first two scoring drives. Because then
I'd be able to focus on all the ways in which we're going to pulverize
the Skunkbears instead of worrying about all the weaknesses we'll have
to deal with when we play Michigan this week. (And seeing as the winner
of the ND-Michigan game traditionally goes on to have a pretty stellar
season--considering this is the last time we're playing Michigan for
who-knows-how-long--considering it's a night game in the Big
House--there's enough to worry about in this game already.)
occurred to me, as I was mulling over my own insanity, that there are a
lot of things I have to remind myself of throughout the course of every
season so that I do not have an aneurysm. And with all the irreverent
"Reesus" references flying around, I got to thinking...why not write
some of these reminders down for myself? Y'know, like commandments. For
myself, for the team, for my fellow fans. Therefore--lo, I present unto
The Ten Commandments of Irish Football
I. Thou shalt have no other teams before the Irish.
God. Country. Notre Dame.
Thou shalt not make unto thy helmets any graven image, nor any likeness
of any thing that is on the dome or the library above, or in the
monogram or leprechaun logo below...
...and thou shalt
pretend as though the Shamrock Series uniforms have been smited from the
Earth, and thou shalt speak no more of them after the neutral-site
"home game" is done.
III. Thou shalt respect thy opponents
not underestimate the desire of thy foes to defeat Notre Dame; nor
shalt thou laugh at thy fellows when they lose to FCS opponents* -- for
he who loses to Tulsa and Navy and South Florida cannot cast stones....
*unless thou is referring to Michigan vs. Appalachian State
IV. Thou shalt not gripe about a win,
bring the woes of Jonah upon thyself like a scourge when there is no
whale of defeat to devour the season whole. Instead, thou shalt look
upon thy victories and rejoice. (REJOICE!)
V. Thou shalt not bear false witness against this year's team.
Not even if thou is obsessed with comparing it to last year's team. (Just get over it, thou. It's never gonna be the same.)
VI. Thou shalt not covet thy future opponent's box scores,
thy opponent's all-time win percentage, nor thy opponent's Heisman
trophy, nor his ranking nor his championship rings nor his
regular-season record, nor anything that is thy opponent's. Thou shalt
snatch victory from thy current week's opponent and nothing more.
VII. Thou shalt honor thy coach* and thy athletic director.
if thy coach insists that Michigan is not a "historic rivalry" for
Notre Dame and then takes it back again two days later. (Also, thou
should not make such a big deal about thy coach's contract--it is not as
though the contract is a guarantee of job security, as thou well
*Unless thy coach is some sort of prig like
Pete Carroll, in which case thou shalt campaign for the termination of
thy coach's contract immediately
VIII. Thou shalt not kill the referees.
shalt settle for being righteously indignant, even if thy referees are
woefully possessed by demons or blinded by cataracts or bribed by the
opposing team's football boosters.
IX. Thou shalt remember the football Saturday,
thou shalt not have work, nor baby showers, nor volunteer commitments,
nor any friends nor family who choose to get married on Game Day.
X. Thou shalt beat USC.
With all that written out, I guess it's time to remind myself:
-It's only the first game
-We had zero turnovers
letting Temple drive into the red zone three times in the second
quarter, ND's defense buckled down--Temple's possessions in the second
half ended with Downs, Punt, Punt, Punt, Downs, Fumble ...and only one
of those drives made it into Notre Dame territory
-Penalties are just mental mistakes and we can FIX those
-Stephon Tuitt's still a beast
Last Scent of the Skunkbears
guys. What with Notre Dame moving to the ACC and committing to play 5
ACC opponents in football per year (despite retaining our "independent"
status), we've cut our series with the Wolverines a little short. Which
means Saturday night's game in Ann Arbor may be the last regular-season
matchup between Notre Dame and Michigan for the next 10-15 years or so.
seems odd for those of us who began watching football after 1978 (when
the ND/Michigan series resumed), but it's not as though this rivalry
hasn't taken its little breaks before--usually after one coach had a
hissy fit about how the other team's coach treated him, which sometimes
resulted in Michigan campaigning for the Big 10 to boycott Notre Dame
for no other reason besides poor manners. So if you hear about Brady
Hoke accusing the Irish of chickening out on the series with the
Wolverines--don't listen to him, he's just being a little snot (na na-na
Regardless of what one team's coach says about the other, I predict this game is going to be an absolute brawl.
time in the Big House probably gives 17th-ranked Michigan the
edge--except, you know, Notre Dame has that whole thing going where they
play way better in hostile environments than they do at home. So who
knows? Denard of the Dashing Dreadlocks is gone; Michigan's new QB,
Devin Gardner, remains relatively untested after a 59-9 victory over
Central Michigan (during which Central's QB & top RB went down with
injury); Gardner went 10 of 15 with 1 TD and 2 interceptions. This
bodes well for Notre Dame's secondary, if you ask me. And let's face
it--for the past few years, the decisive factors in our games against
Michigan have been A) turnovers, and B) last-second scores by Denard
Robinson. Even last year's game, with Robinson throwing five straight
interceptions, Notre Dame still only won by 7 points. >.< So let's
hope for a positive turnover margin, yeah?
Of course, it
doesn't really matter who's starting at QB for the Wolverines, or
whether Notre Dame is currently ranked slightly higher in the polls;
when it comes to the Notre Dame-Michigan game, all bets are off. And
especially for this game--we have to win. Who doesn't want fifteen years' worth of bragging rights?
get ready, Irish fans. It is time for one more clash of the
blue-and-gold and the maize-and-blue. Bust out your "I Heart Appalachian State" bumper stickers, re-read Blue-Gray Sky's "Letter to Michigan Fans",
and get ready to HAIL, HAIL, to Michigan, the Assholes of the World as
we victory clog our way out of Ann Arbor for the last time this decade.
GO IRISH BEAT WOLVERINES!