North Carolina at Notre Dame: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
You have to admire how coach Brian Kelly is handling all the adversity the Irish have endured heading into Saturdays game, and for that matter his entire career in South Bend.
Player injuries, suspensions and more injuries would leave most coached grasping for clarity when approached by the masses for answers in one season alone.
But this is no ordinary coach.
A master of puppets as some might suggest.
He has dealt with rape allegations, accidental deaths,a recruits life-ending fall before he even stepped foot on campus, an un-inspired effort by many players in a thrashing during the title game, a quarterback suspension that left him with a physically challenged alternate option, more suspensions this year and now a total meltdown against a team he was pegged to beat by 3 touchdowns or at worst- throttled about the time the marching band was headed back to their positions along the endzone.
His cloaked tougher than hell response after today's game:
"We managed to find a way to battle back and get up on them and score 15 points late in the game and get a win," "There are many, many things I could delve into, but I would say the thing that points up for me is that our guys know how to win football games. They found a way to win this one."
No Broadway show depicts a finer tap dance.
Kelly is a gunslinger.
Kick a field goal late to beat Tulsa?
Nope. Toss it to Floyd for an even bigger statement- if he catches it.
His team won a Tombstone style gunfight against North Carolina Saturday in South Bend.
Will Fuller and Tarean Folston are players-period.
Will Fuller is going to be the top receiver in the country soon.
He will no doubt be a top draft pick in the NFL.
And even at the 4:45 mark late, with a 7 point lead- Coach Kelly found the need to draw up a deep pass to Fuller which resulted in a pass interference call. He is that good.
Fuller had 2 touchdowns and over 100 yards receiving.
Folston played well enough in what was to have been a day where the Irish established a running game. It was in the passing game though where Folston shined, hauling in 5 passes for 71 yards including a late fourth quarter strike for 9 yards.
Folston's duck and run under Christian Lombard near the goal line is what makes good backs great. His line has yet to establish themselves as a group that can produce good rushing stats. Folston is making the most out of least.
His late 6 yard run for a touchdown showed all the traits of a patient back, alah a Eddie Lacy or Arian Foster- backs that jump and pop after examining what's in front of them.
If the line ever comes together,(and that still hasn't happened) Folston will be one of college football's elite runners.
Letting North Carolina hang around all day was not in the game plan for the Irish.
An early Golson pick 6 put the Tar Heels up 14-0 at the 8:48 mark in the first quarter.
From there, VanGorder never dialed up, or for that matter- even had a phone for Carolina's offense.
North Carolina put up 510 total yards on a revamped, headed upward, top-ranked unit.
And tackling efforts left alot to be desired.
The late drive exemplified the negative trend that occured this sloppy day: poor tackling. A late touchdown capped a drive that was littered with miscues galore, Pop Warner looking efforts and a safety getting beat by a 2nd teir receiver with a blitz in play.
The overall team effort resulted yet again with an undisciplined football game.
Penalties on the day: 10 for 76 yards
Turnovers: 3 total
The win period was ugly.
Golson still rattles every fans nerves shortly after eyeballing Kelly for 20 seconds pre snap.
He is the combination of 80's Tyson and 90's Holmes.
Excitement at the snap with a hint of his shorts falling around his ankles in moments. You just know he's going to escape a broken pass protection and bolt for 20.
But then, he runs into a ref, scrambles left and heaves a ball up to Don Criqui.
This is what the Irish have with Golson: He will win games only because he has to make up for earlier mistakes.
But this was a 'team' stinkfest.
A 'win is a win' is something the players will forget shortly after saying "love thee Notre Dame....".
A wipe of the brow, coach Kelly chewing everyones backside, presentation of the game ball to Carolina's quarterback (he deserved it) and off to the showers.
Wash the stench off this one men because the world is watching you now.
Not just the fan base of NBC onlookers gathered each Saturday and Mike Mayock.
"ESPN's Gameday" in Florida.
Herbstreet and Howard pronouncing your defeat and ineptness early Saturday.
Wrinkled Corso placing a head dress atop his dome.
And a game later that night in primetime that will conjure up images of the early 90's.
Before all that takes place, you need to work on a few things:
Tackling, blocking, no penalties and no turnovers.
Fix those things and you could upset the defending champs.
Play like you did today?
Let's just say Mark May will be salivating the moment he is asked to analyze the result.