Tag Archives: BYU

Irish win one for the Seniors. A weekend in review

– Sgt Shamrock

Notre Dame vs. Brigham Young

In what was one of the coldest games to ever be played in the Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish were able to play with a spark and pulled out a 23-13 win over the BYU Cougars to improve their record to 8-3. While the snow was falling and the temperatures were dropping, the Irish played the type of football that Brian Kelly said they should be playing every single week. And I agree. It was one of the few times this season that the Irish played well in all aspects of the game. Well maybe not the special teams but lets just forget about that. The defense made big plays when they needed too and the Irish offense moved the ball effectively and did their job of keeping BYU off the field and limiting their scoring chances.

The Irish defense set the tone early against the Cougars and really stood out to me during the entire game. BYU was coming into this game as one of the hottest offenses in the country, yet the Irish defense only allowed one touchdown and 13 total points. Dan Fox led the team with 9 tackles and the Irish front seven played inspired, even with out the big man Louis Nix who is out for the remainder of the season. What really impressed me with the defense however, is how they responded following a horrible loss to Pitt. Following the loss, a lot of people, including me, were concerned how the team would respond after their goal of a BCS Bowl game appearance was dashed. The defense played one of their worst games of the season against Pitt and I honestly did not know how they would respond. The defense responded by having one of its best performances of the season.

BYU came into the game against the Irish as one of the toughest defenses in the country led by superstar Kyle Van-Noy, but on Saturday afternoon the Irish offense amassed almost 500 yards of total offense including over 200 yards on the ground. As I stated in my preview for the game, the Irish needed to establish a steady and effective running game to open up the passing game and provide balance to the offense. Notre Dame did just that. On their first offensive series, ran multiple running plays in a row before Tommy Rees went play action and hit Davaris Daniels deep for a touchdown. The running game was effective throughout the entire game thanks to the tough running from Cam McDaniel and some ridiculously shifty moves from Tarean Folston, who continues to get me excited about his potential. Folston is clearly the most athletic running back on the Irish roster and his ability to make defenders miss is something Irish fans have been waiting to see out of the backfield. On multiple occasions in the stadium you could hear the excitement and awe in the moves that Folston was able to make to shake Cougar defenders.

As Saturday was Senior Day, I was really happy to see many of the seniors play very well in their final home game. Tommy Rees finished his career in Notre Dame Stadium the way he deserved. Being one of the most polarizing figures for Notre Dame football in recent memory, Rees was able to win his final game at home. While he did throw yet another awful red zone touchdown, Rees played an otherwise good game. Rees made multiple nice throws to TJ Jones, and minus the interception, made good decisions through out the game. Jones finished the game with 95 yards receiving and Dan Fox and Carlo Calbrese played very well making multiple key tackles and keeping the BYU offense in check. Austin Collinsworth was able to haul in an interception on the final play of the first half and Zack Martin helped anchor an offensive line that allowed zero sacks, and opened running lanes that led to over 200 yards on the ground.

Overall it was one of the most complete games the Irish has played all season. While the offense did leave some points on the field, they still played a very good game and the defense stepped up and took over allowing the Irish to pull out the victory. With the win, Notre Dame clinched a fourth straight eight win season under Brian Kelly with the chance this year to win 10 games. With the losses this team had on defense due to the NFL draft and injury this year, and playing with a backup quarterback due to Everett Golson being suspended from school, Id have to say the Irish did more than people expected of them. Even so its easy to look at the losses to Michigan and Pitt and wonder how much better it could have been if the Irish had been able to pull out those victories. One final game remains before the bowl season begins as the Irish travel to Stanford this Saturday.

Other Observations

– The field conditions were again abysmal and embarrassing. I really think the turf led the game in tackles and Im surprised more players were not injured as we say against Navy. I even heard some of the older crowd, who normally are reluctant to call for change, calling for field turf. Its time Notre Dame. Make this happen. If I were you I would start installing it Monday morning.

– Lost in the spotlight of Senior Day, Jarron Jones played an outstanding game filling in for Louis Nix making multiple tackles around the line of scrimmage and also blocked a field goal late in the game that helped preserve the Irish victory. While many, including myself, are concerned about depth on the defensive line its nice to see Jarron Jones start coming into his own.

Oh you silly Pollsters

Notre Dame gets back into the AP Top 25 this week placing 25th. Yet again its another week its another instance of a team that Notre Dame beat ranked ahead of the Irish. USC has the same amount of losses as the Irish and yet are ranked two spots ahead of the Irish at 23rd. Sure that makes sense. USC lost to Washington State, Arizona State (another team Notre Dame beat) and of course Notre Dame.

Louisiana-Lafayette is ranked 21st this week in the AP. Wait what? Yes this is not a typo. I really have no idea what the pollsters are thinking here. The Cajuns have not beaten a single ranked team this year and have two losses. They play in the Sun Belt. Plain and simple this is not a top 25 team.

Arizona State is ranked 13th this week while Oregon is ranked twelve. This needs to be switched. The Sun Devils are going to the Pac 12 title game and the Ducks are not. That alone should place ASU over Oregon.

Three loss LSU is ranked 15th this week. Why I have no idea. They are ranked ahead of an undefeated Northern Illinois and Fresno State. I don’t care if you play in the SEC or not, three losses are three losses and that does not make you worthy of a top 15 ranking.

What is Texas A&M still doing ranked? They got blown out by LSU this weekend and now have three losses. The Aggies have not beaten a ranked team all season long.

Heisman Rannkings

1. Jameis Winston (Barring an arrest)

2. Jordan Lynch

3. Derek Carr

4. Kadeem Carey

Irish down the Cougars. Knee Jerk Reaction

– Sgt Shamrock

Notre Dame defeated the BYU Cougars 23-13 on a bitterly cold and windy Saturday afternoon. The Irish rushing attack finally got going amassing 235 yards on the ground. Cam McDaniel led the team with 117 yards and Tarean Folston added 78 yards and a touchdown. The offensive line played a very strong game opening running lanes and protecting Tommy Rees. Rees, in his final game at Notre Dame Stadium, threw for 235 yards, one touchdown, and one ugly interception. Even in the cold and windy weather, the Irish offense looked very much in sync at times and did their best to keep the Cougars off the field. The BYU defense was one of the better units the Irish have faced this season, and the offense handled their scheme very very well.

The Irish defense stood strong against a BYU offense that had been firing on all cylinders coming into South Bend. The front 7 played one of their best games of the season, getting a lot of pressure on Tysom Hill, even with the absence of Louis Nix. While the defense did allow over 200 yards on the ground, they only allowed BYU to score one touchdown. The defense also made a key stop late in the game when BYU had a first and goal following a horrific showing of tackling by Matthias Fairley that allowed BYU to break off a huge run. The Irish did a great job forcing field goals for BYU instead of giving up touchdowns. The secondary only allowed 168 passing yards and really made the BYU offense one dimensional.

With the win the Irish ensured they would finish with at least 8 wins in each of Brian Kelly’s four seasons at Notre Dame.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for a complete recap of this game and the other big games around the country.

A rough path. The Tale of Tommy Rees

 
– Sgt Shamrock
 
Turnover Tommy, Touchdown Tommy, The Closer, and Reesus. All different names for Notre Dame senior quarterback Tommy Rees, who will be playing his final game at Notre Dame Stadium this Saturday against BYU. Rees could very well be one of the most polarizing figures in the history of Notre Dame football and while there have been their fair share of former Irish players who have caused jubilation and heartache over the years for Irish fans nationwide, it can be safe to say Tommy Rees is near the top of the list. From making game winning throws, to throwing horrific interceptions at the worst possible times, Tommy Rees’s career at Notre Dame has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. As his career at Notre Dame comes to an end, its time to look back at one of the most interesting, nerve racking, and polarizing careers of any player to play at Notre Dame.
 
Coming out of high school, Tommy Rees was a 3 star recruit who held offers from Tennessee, Stanford, Bowling Green, Miami (OH), and Central Michigan. Not what you would call a very strong offer list. Fellow Irish quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who was in the same recruiting class as Rees, was rated a 4 star recruit with a much more solid offer sheet. Rees committed to the Irish while Charlie Weis was still the head coach and remained committed once Brian Kelly took over for Weis in 2010. Brian Kelly keeping Rees in the class was a surprise to some, as he was more of a pro style quarterback, and Kelly was bringing the high octane spread offense with him from Cincinnati to South Bend. However keeping Rees in his first recruiting class turned out to be one of the smartest decisions he could have made.
 
In his freshman year Rees was not expected to play. Dayne Crist, who was a 5 star quarterback recruit and had years of experience under his belt, firmly held the starting job for the Irish and clearly had the better physical attributes. It was only after Crist suffered a season ending knee injury against Tulsa, was Rees thrown into action. Rees didn’t play all that bad however the game ended on a Rees interception and an Irish loss. The rest of the season, however went pretty well for Rees. After the loss to Tulsa, Rees and the Irish went on to win the remainder of their games to include wins at USC and against Miami in the Sun Bowl. It was a strong finish to the first year of the Brian Kelly and it showed hope for the future of the Irish program. Rees played well to end the season, and because of it, the first of many quarterback controversies was born.
 
Going into the 2011 season the main offseason storyline was who was going to play quarterback for the Irish. While Rees played well to end the 2010 season, he still was responsible for his fair share of turnovers. Throughout fall camp everyone was waiting for who Brian Kelly was going to name his starting quarterback for the 2011 campaign. Kelly finally made the decision that most thought he was going to make and named Dayne Crist the starter for the season opener against South Florida. The decision only lasted for one half. Crist started the 2011 season just about as bad as you could imagine for Notre Dame and by halftime the majority of the stadium was chanting for Tommy Rees to be inserted into the game. And I was one of them. I was also in favor or Crist getting the nod to start the game. But after how the game began for the Irish, it was time for a change. Insert Tommy Rees. However it just wasn’t enough and thanks to five total turnovers by the Irish, South Florida won the game spoiling what was supposed to be a special season for Notre Dame.
 
Following the loss to South Florida, Brian Kelly kept Rees as the starter headed into the game under the lights at Michigan. Its a game we all hope to forget. I will have to say in all my years of watching Notre Dame football, that it was one of the worst losses I have ever witnessed. Thanks to 5 more Notre Dame turnovers, Michigan made an almost impossible comeback to put the Irish at 0-2. Quickly Rees became the new scapegoat for Irish fans everywhere and the term Turnover Tommy started circulating everywhere. And the misery continued all season. It was almost as if everything that could go wrong for the Irish, did go wrong. Rees just kept turning over the football and the Irish, who had hopes at a BCS bowl to start the season, where relegated to the Champs Sports Bowl to play against Florida State. For a while the Irish were playing well against the Seminoles and it looked as if they might pull out a victory to end the season on a high note. That was until the Rees again caught the turnover bug and the Irish ended up losing yet another close game, ending a frustrating and disappointing season for the Irish.
 
The majority of Notre Dame fans had had enough with Tommy Rees following the 2011 season. I will be the first to admit that I was one of them. I was tired of all the turnovers and the frustration that came with them. I was ready for a new quarterback. Everett Golson, who redshirted his freshman year at Notre Dame, was the fan favorite to take over the starting job. Still Brian Kelly would not name a starting quarterback following the 2012 spring game, and allowed the quarterback competition to continue into summer workouts and fall camp. That all came to a screeching halt when Rees was arrested following a college party and trying to run from the police. Rees famously was tackled by a cab driver, starting numerous jokes about Rees’s mobility. Not going to lie a lot of them were really funny. Following his brush in with the law, Brian Kelly suspended Rees for the season opener and seemingly answering every prayer of Irish fans everywhere. Notre Dame was going to have a new quarterback. With Tommy Rees out of the competition, Golson won the starting job and fans thought that we would never see Rees on the field again. They could not have been more wrong.
 
After playing well to start the 2012 season against Navy, Golson looked to be what fans had been waiting for. A mobile, athletic quarterback with outstanding arm strength that would fit into the offense system that Brian Kelly wanted to run. However late in the game the following week against Purdue, the Irish were in a close one. Late in the game Golson scrambled and took a hit that forced him to leave the game. In comes Tommy Rees to a loud and thunderous roar of boo’s from the Notre Dame faithful. Just imagine how Rees must have felt running onto the field when the entire stadium was booing the fact that he was forced into the game. It would be hard for anyone to focus and play after hearing that. But not Rees. Rees led the Irish down the field capped off by a key throw on 4th down that lead to the game winning field goal. While Irish fans were happy the game was won, mostly nobody wanted to see Rees at quarterback over Golson, and were happy to see Golson play well the following week as the Irish picked up a win on the road at Michigan State. Again it looked as if Rees’s playing time was done at Notre Dame. Than came the Michigan game.
 
As I sat in the stands that September night as the Irish took on Michigan, you could feel the excitement in the stadium. The Irish were 3-0 and fans were starting to believe we could be in store for a special season. When Tommy Rees was inserted into the game to take over for a struggling Golson, all that energy seemed to leave the stadium in a heartbeat. And yet against all odds Tommy Rees did it again for the Irish, leading the only touchdown drive for the Irish and completing a key pass to Tyler Eifert to ice the game and bring the Irish another victory. Rees quickly became known as “The Closer” as he seemingly would come of the bench in relief and bring home the victory. Rees was again called upon to start for an injured Golson against Stanford and BYU and in both instances Rees delivered. Rees had become an invaluable asset to the Irish and without him, its safe to say that the trip to the National Championship would have never happened.
 
And that brings us to this year. Nobody thought that Tommy would start another game following the 2012 season. Everett Golson had a firm grasp on the starting job, and former 5 star recruit Gunner Kiel seemed to be the favorite to take over the back up job. The only future that Rees seemingly had left at Notre Dame was to sit the bench. But thanks to Kiel transferring, and Golson being suspended for an academic issue, Tommy Rees again was thrown into the starting job for Notre Dame. So far this year Tommy Rees has had his ups and downs and has again drawn criticism from fans everywhere including me. But when Rees was knocked out of the game against USC this year, the true value of Tommy Rees really started to show. Andrew Hendrix came into the game with the Irish leading 14-10. Andrew Hendrix did not complete one pass and the offense came to a screeching halt. It really made people realize just how valuable Rees has been to the Irish.
 
While I am sure that many fans will be glad to see Tommy Rees move on from Notre Dame, I myself am going to miss the kid. I have been very critical of Rees during his career and I am not afraid to say that. Rees has deserved more than his fair share of criticism. But what I love about Tommy Rees is that no matter what the kid never gives up. He never let his head get down and always gave his all for Notre Dame. He overcame so much during his time at Notre Dame and embodies the Notre Dame spirit. Now on senior day, Tommy Rees gets a chance to run out onto the field for the last time and finish his Irish legacy on a high note. And I am glad I will be there to see it and cheer on Tommy and the Irish in the final home game of the season. So while you may not be the biggest Tommy Rees fan, take a moment to look back on Rees’s career, and thank him because without Rees, many of the success that have taken place over the last 4 seasons would have never happened. The future looks bright for the Irish and a large portion of that can be credited to Tommy Rees. Thanks Tommy for all you have done for Notre Dame.