Column: Notre Dame Didn't Inspire The Masses, But Won't Forget It's 4-0
It’s off the schedule for the first time in nearly 100 years, but in spirit, Notre Dame-Navy lived on.
A matchup of two top-15 SP+ offenses devolved into a triple option-paced game completed in just under three hours. The over was set at 62, but Notre Dame and Louisville didn’t even get a third of the way there.
Each team had just seven drives. Nobody threw for more than 130 yards. There were four drives that lasted at least seven minutes, three of them from Notre Dame – which had the ball for 36:15.
In short: Notre Dame Navy’d Louisville, 12-7.
It’s a win, and as Brian Kelly and multiple players repeated, those are to be valued in whatever form they take. Notre Dame’s nine-game win streak is the longest in the country, after all. Irish quarterback Ian Book called it the windiest game he’s even played in. The American flag blowing one way and goalpost flags flapping the opposite direction support him.
Saturday’s events were also decidedly not how Notre Dame came into this game wanting to play and not how a team with title expectations is supposed to score against a defense that had allowed two 40-point games in four tries. There’s work to do to convince the masses a victory against Clemson next month is realistic.
As far as a 12-7 win goes, it was tolerable enough on the eyes. And at times, the Irish’s performance was encouraging. Without posing much of a passing threat all game, they ran for 259 yards on 43 carries, excluding four sacks and two kneel-downs. That’s a sturdy 6.02 yards a pop. A weary defense a week ago returned to stout form, allowing just 233 yards and making eight tackles for loss. Notre Dame has now allowed multiple touchdowns once in four games.
“I don't know that I've been in one quite like this,” Kelly said. “I've been in a 12-7 game when it was a stinker. You're like, ‘Eew.’ But this game was a little different. It was hard-fought.”
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