_1.jpg”> Notre Dame ‘hosted’ Arizona State University at the former Cowyboys Stadium last night.[/caption]<a
In one of the sloppiest games we have seen from the Fighting Irish this College football season, Notre Dame made off with a close three-point victory against an Arizona State club that many had heavily favoured to beat the tar, and the beer, out of the Irish.
Hines Ward was the best during the pre-game show, stating that he would put all of his money on the Sun Devils, as they are a more solid team from an offense point of view. He wasn’t exactly wrong in saying that, but he was in his winner/loser prediction as Notre Dame edged ASU 37-34 in front of a huge crowd in Dallas, TX., where the Dallas Cowboys play, AT&T Stadium.
Notre Dame home games are all played at Notre Dame Stadium, except this one.
This was the first and only neutral-site game of the season for Notre Dame. When asked for their take on the new surroundings, both analysts, Hines Ward and Doug Flutie were in awe of the building. Flutie insisted one could get a sore neck by constantly looking up and around at how big this place is; while Ward suggested it is so big, it’s like playing in the middle of an amusement park; both analysts were dead on with the one, however, they were both dead wrong in predicting a winner!
Would someone please wake up Tommy Rees and the rest of the Notre Dame offensive unit??!? How many more times are we going to have to sit through the opening half and see as little as one field goal on the scoreboard?
They did it against Purdue, a couple weeks ago, and they did it again tonight against a team that probably should have beaten them to a pulp, so bad that coach Brian Kelly starts scouting for a better QB at some California high school on Monday morning.
I won’t blame Tommy Rees on everything tonight, but he did have another slow start, he did throw three TD passes, and then picked the worst time to put a Pick-6 blemish on his record, which gave ASU a chance to tie the game and possibly force overtime; instead Taylor Kelly threw a pick at the worst possible time (it ended up being the final drive of the game as Notre Dame linebacker and native of Rocky River, Ohio, Dan Fox caught Kelly’s pass and dove in slo-mo into the end zone for the touchdown.
Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza booted three, second-half FGs, the go-ahead FG came from 25 yards and was on a bit of an angle, but he made it and it was awesome; Brindza also tied a Notre Dame school with a 53-yard kick that matched the longest in the College game, and he did it in the $1.2 billion dollar home of the Dallas Cowboys.
In other beauty stats from this encounter, TJ Jones has been on fire, the game sheets haven’t always reflected it, but he is playing like a young man hoping to be drafted next year!
He had eight catches for 135 yards, including two catches on the drive that led to the winning field goal.
Cam McDaniel has been another absolute workhorse, created a huge scare for ND across the planet when he took a hit to the helmet that appeared to have knocked him out. Miraculously, he seemed fine, went back out and made more runs, including four straight that also helped the Irish get into field goal range for Brindza.
The other scare for the Irish tonight in Texas was when Sun Devil QB Kelly found Marion Grice on a 16-yard TD pass, with 11 seconds left. ASU went for the onside kick but it went right to T.J. Jones.
CHANGE THIS YEAR
Notre Dame was one of the best teams in the country last year at rushing the passer, but statistically, this year, are one of the worst. Tonight, they got to Taylor Kelly throughout the night and Prince Shembo had a huge sack on the first play after Notre Dame went ahead.
Notre Dame ups their record to 4-2, while Arizona State falls to 3-2. Next week, The Fighting Irish will welcome the University of Southern California to South Bend.
That encounter will be the fourth game the Irish play this season at night. The Air Force game on Oct. 26 is scheduled for 5 pm, while the other games are 3:30pm kickoffs.
Arizona State had a golden opportunity tonight to do something that the NCAA record books claim has never been done before. An ASU victory tonight would have meant they would have been the first team to knock off the Trojans and the Irish in back-to-back weeks.
Apparently that has never been done before.
The game called the ‘Shamrock Series’ was the first game in almost a year-and-a-half in which the Fighting Irish were not ranked going into it; instead they beat the Sun Devils, who were ranked at #22 going in. Hopefully, the Irish and the Devils will switch places in the AP Top 10 by tonight.