Even though we lost vs. USC, I liked overall what I saw

notredamerises23

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Yes, USC was better and deserved the win, but this loss didn’t feel like we were overwhelmed at all and had no chance. On the contrary, I liked what I saw even though there was a massive talent differential at the most important position, i.e., QB. Williams made ZERO mistakes, and made many “plus” plays in situations in which positive yards weren’t really available, and still we were in this game. We need to get better, but we are very, very close right now. With elite QB talent and a little more talent in the front 7, we could become a monster down the road. As it is, Pyne has done incredible well given his talent limitations.

Notre Dame didn’t punt after its first series; on that first drive, we were doing exactly what we have been doing during this winning stretch, i.e., running with success, and had a 3rd and 2, which is a running down for us. We unfortunately didn’t block well and SC blew us up. We wouldn’t punt again and really only came close again twice.

—Punt
—Downs had 3rd and 2 and 4th and 1; we had been dominating these downs. The downside is that USC‘s defensive front had been getting pushed around by everyone and we failed in these first two critical junctures
—TD — converted a 3rd and 10
—End of half
—Fumble after pushing USC around
—TD — not close to being stopped
—TD — not close to being stopped
—Interception — bad decision by Pyne
—TD

While a better offensive performance would have helped, the defense was the primary problem. The craziest thing about this game was that USC clearly respected what we could do and changed up its entire MO to grinding out the clock to shorten the game once it got a lead which isn’t something USC does this year. USC seemed wary the entire game. Had those two first drives ended differently, we could have seen a vastly different game,

After seeing how their pull counter runs could get big yardage, they changed up their game and milked the clock knowing that they were having a difficult time stopping us.

USC 1st Run: 7 yards
2nd run: 1 yard in short distance
3rd run: 13 yards
4th run: 7 yards
5th run: 2 yards in short distance
6th run: 3 yards in short distance
7th run: 5 yards
8th run: -3 yards (on 1st and goal from the 2—saved the TD)
9th run: 12 yards on long distance draw play
10th run: 4 yards on first down
11th run: 9 yards
12th run: -2 yards on first down [first actual run stop that disrupted USC came with 4 minutes left in the half]

If you had told me before the game that Pine would have the type of game that he did in that we would not punt after the first possession, I’d be pretty sure that we would win but I’m unfortunately our strength the entire year didn’t come through.
 

mbd11

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Agreed. We didn't play that badly at all IMO. We just ran into a buzzsaw in that offense. They're tough to stop with Williams playing that well and Riley coming up with what appeared to be a very good gameplan.

Pyne played one of his better games and our offense overall wasn't that bad. They just couldn't outscore USC. And our defense got good pressure, but Williams ended up escaping and making plays out of nothing a bunch of times. Hard to stop that. Our run defense wasn't very good, though. That was the one area where we had a subpar game.
 

savvyandsassier

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Dec 16, 2013
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We kept it respectable. Pyne had a tremendous game. But on defense we got blown away. They truly just ran the ball down our throats and straight dominated us on at least two drives, with handoff after handoff for 8 to 10 yards a pop. Was Austin Jones ever that good playing for Stanford? Good lord, so much for Travis Dye and his mustache being sidelined, and that being some big setback for USC...

So defensively that was a definitely egg-laying performance without question. Maybe our defense is overrated, inasmuch we're not really some sort of dominant juggernaut, and Clemson's offense is pretty meh, if we're basing our prowess on that result. And USC has a kick-ass offense, so there's that too. Bottom line we needed our defense to rise up, that was essential, and they did not, and so we took the loss. Not an ignominious loss, but a sound and more or less unequivocal defeat just the same.

But overall we didn't look terrible or overmatched. We just weren't good enough.
 
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BM16

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Pyne's fumble changed everything. They were on the march and then that just took a blow torch to the momentum.

The defense did not have a strong performance, but they also kept the Irish in alot of games this year (Ohio State, Marshall, Cal, Stanford) that the offense didn't do so well in.
 
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NDDadx3

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We kept it respectable. Pyne had a tremendous game. But on defense we got blown away. They truly just ran the ball down our throats and straight dominated us on at least two drives, with handoff after handoff for 8 to 10 yards a pop. Was Austin Jones ever that good playing for Stanford? Good lord, so much for Travis Dye and his mustache being sidelined, and that being some big setback for USC...

So defensively that was a definitely egg-laying performance without question. Maybe our defense is overrated, inasmuch we're not really some sort of dominant juggernaut, and Clemson's offense is pretty meh, if we're basing our prowess on that result. And USC has a kick-ass offense, so there's that too. Bottom line we needed our defense to rise up, that was essential, and they did not, and so we took the loss. Not an ignominious loss, but a sound and more or less unequivocal defeat just the same.

But overall we didn't look terrible or overmatched. We just weren't good enough.
This is what a shootout looks like … USC has them almost every week. We didn’t have the offense to keep up or the defense to slow them down … but we weren’t too far away on either side. On defense we played without 2 starting CBs, we dropped two INTs, and we had a fumble recovery overturned (correct call but so close). On offense we shot ourselves in the foot 3 times with two bad turnovers and a bad read on 3rd down (Pyne has to throw to uncovered TE instead of running) followed by getting stuffed on 4th and 1. We didn’t lose 45-10 … it’s not hard to find 14 more points in this game.
 

savvyandsassier

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This is what a shootout looks like … USC has them almost every week. We didn’t have the offense to keep up or the defense to slow them down … but we weren’t too far away on either side. On defense we played without 2 starting CBs, we dropped two INTs, and we had a fumble recovery overturned (correct call but so close). On offense we shot ourselves in the foot 3 times with two bad turnovers and a bad read on 3rd down (Pyne has to throw to uncovered TE instead of running) followed by getting stuffed on 4th and 1. We didn’t lose 45-10 … it’s not hard to find 14 more points in this game.
I don't know, you're kind of making it sound like we pretty much won the game, but just a few too many bungles. The old 'we lost it our opponent didn't win it' line. I'm not sure anyone else on earth would have that takeaway other than, you know, ND fans. But we trailed the entire game, most of the time by double digits, and USC I guess had five drives of over 70 yards. So they definitely earned their points. And pretty much soundly achieved the victory across the board, hitting all their marks, as far as keys to victory.....

But there's always next year.....

Edit to add that after googling I see it was only four USC drives of 70 or more yards, but, close enough....
 

NDDadx3

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I don't know, you're kind of making it sound like we pretty much won the game, but just a few too many bungles. The old 'we lost it our opponent didn't win it' line. I'm not sure anyone else on earth would have that takeaway other than, you know, ND fans. But we trailed the entire game, most of the time by double digits, and USC I guess had five drives of over 70 yards. So they definitely earned their points. And pretty much soundly achieved the victory across the board, hitting all their marks, as far as keys to victory.....

But there's always next year.....

Edit to add that after googling I see it was only four USC drives of 70 or more yards, but, close enough....
Yes that’s right. USC moved the ball at will like all but one of their games. It was going to take mistakes and turnovers to win and we didn’t get any but we had our hands on 2 or 3. On offense we put together some nice drives against their middling defense but they are know for creating turnovers all year and they cashed in 2. That was their formula all year and that was their formula on Saturday. They recovered their own fumble and broke up our interception with an offensive PI. At least a 10 point swing … and they cashed both of our turnovers in. Yeah I know that’s how football works … but this was not the usual drubbing we grew accustomed to when USC was dominating us under Pete Carroll.
 

Get Nasty

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Reminded me of Freeman’s first game as our DC against Florida St. Bad angles and bad tackling By numerous players all night long.
Don’t forget 3 down … for some reason we went to 3 down a lot this game too while blitzing our lbs, that has never been a recipe for success last 2 years
 

Get Nasty

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We had 5 and 6 in coverage all night and still had Mickey playing way off. Would have been nice to have 2 of our top 3 corners playing and actually out 7 in the box at times.
 

Patrirish

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Don’t forget 3 down … for some reason we went to 3 down a lot this game too while blitzing our lbs, that has never been a recipe for success last 2 years
We agree on that.

The 3 man DLine strategy puzzles me.
 

Patrirish

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Pyne's fumble changed everything. They were on the march and then that just took a blow torch to the momentum.

The defense did not have a strong performance, but they also kept the Irish in alot of games this year (Ohio State, Marshall, Cal, Stanford) that the offense didn't do so well in.
AGREE