Under the lights in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday night, the Irish defense held Michigan to under 300 total yards and produced just enough offense to win 13-6. With the Irish offense struggling to move the ball, Tommy Rees relieved starting quarterback Everett Golson for the 2nd time in three weeks, but neither Notre Dame quarterback contributed to the victory more than Denard Robinson who celebrated his 22nd birthday by throwing four interceptions, losing 1 fumble, running for under 100 yards and throwing for under 150 yards. After torching Notre Dame for nearly 1,000 yards of offense in their previous two meetings, Robinson said that Saturday night’s game was the worst he’s ever played. I’d argue that it might have been the worst game anyone has ever played.
Notre Dame's defense applies pressure to Michigan QB Denard Robinson
Building a championship contender is definitely still a work in progress. Notre Dame has yet to play a team capable of really testing the defensive secondary and a time will come when the offense will have to win games, but what separates this group from any Notre Dame team of the last 10 years is that the Irish finally have an identity; control the line of scrimmage with one of the best defensive fronts in the country and don’t turn the ball over on offense. It may not sound like rocket science, but it’s a refreshing change after watching three consecutive coaching regimes fail in their attempts to establish a winning philosophy. I still grind my teeth at the mention of Willingham’s “breeding of gentlemen” or Weis’ “schematic advantage”. As I said after the Navy game, by simply knowing its strengths and weaknesses, this Notre Dame team will be far less susceptible to losing to teams it shouldn't.
Winning fixes everything
Just win baby; it's a mantra made famous by Al Davis. It really is that simple; win games and everything else takes care of itself. The atmosphere inside Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday night was, by far, the best of the Kelly Era. All 80,000 fans stood for the entire game and the crowd noise was loud enough to drown out the piped in music. NBC produced a 4.0 television rating, which bested all other college football games on Saturday and was a 54% increase over last year’s Notre Dame-USC game in primetime. Alumni grumblings about uniforms, jumbotrons and conference realignment are also minimized when the Irish are rolling. Even some of Brian Kelly’s annoying little quirks seem more tolerable when the Irish are 4-0 and back in the top 10.
A pictures speaks a thousand words
After the loss of his girlfriend and grandmother, Manti Te’o spoke passionately at Friday night’s pep rally and after playing one of the best game’s of his career, the Hawaii native tweeted the following picture with the caption, “This brought tears to my eyes! The two beams of light! My guardian angles!!! I miss you!!“. Remarkable picture and a remarkable young man.
I'll end with a little tidbit. After four games, Stephon Tuitt has more sacks than any Irish player had all of last year. He leads the nation with six solo sacks. Share your thoughts on Saturday's big win, Manti's tweet or anything else!