Halloween weekend was truly frightening for Notre Dame fans.
What should have been a gift win turned into a gut-wrenching loss that now has Notre Dame just hoping to become bowl eligible.
Dayne Crist was lost, maybe for the season, because of what may be a torn patella tendon in his knee after taking a hit on a scramble for a first down. The worst part about that is it could have been avoided. Crist already had the first down and when the defender closed in, he could have ducked out of bounds and avoided contact altogether. But instead, he allowed himself to get his clock cleaned.
So let’s just take a quick head count. Dayne Crist, the team’s No. 1 quarterback, No. 1 running back Armando Allen, No. 2 receiver Theo Riddick, No, 1 tight end Kyle Rudloph, No. 1 nose guard Ian Williams are all out at least for an extended period of time. Crist, Williams and Rudolph are gone for the season.
Injuries happen and are not the fault of the coach the majority of the time. It’s the nature of the game. But the game was not lost in the first quarter when Crist went down. It was lost with a half a minute remaining in the fourth.
Tommy Rees came out and looked like a pretty competent quarterback. Despite not starting the game, he threw 54 passes, completing 33 of them for 334 yards and four touchdowns. But he also threw three interceptions, the last of which doomed Notre Dame.
Down by one point with the ball on Tulsa’s 22 yard line and 43 seconds remaining in the game, all Notre Dame had to do was run the ball, kill some clock and put the game in the hands of its field goal kicker, who hasn’t missed in 18-straight attempts. It’s true he had a PAT try blocked, which was returned for two points the other way earlier in the game, but the fact of the matter is more often than not, David Ruffer converts kicks into points.
Instead, Brian Kelly decided to have his freshman quarterback throw a jump ball into the end zone for Floyd. Rees underthrew the pass, negating Floyd’s size advantage and Tulsa picked it off. Game over.
Kelly said he’d do it again, too. According to the Chicago Sun Times’ Mark Potash, he told the fans they’d “better get used to it, because that’s the way we’re playing.”
How are you playing, coach? Unapologetically stupid? I am all for being aggressive. You want to go for the win instead of a tie in some game sometime, you’ll get no complaint from me. But the fact of the matter is in this game, in this scenario, a touchdown was no more of an advantage than a field goal. Three points is enough to win the game. There is no need to go for six.
On top of everything else, Notre Dame’s nosedive, which included Saturday’s debacle has taken Notre Dame from one of the top-5 recruiting classes of 2011 to No. 11 according to Rivals with the mass decommitment of recruited talent. That includes defensive ends Aaron Lynch and Clay Burton, as well as offensive tackle Jordan Prestwood.
Again, Kelly is stubborn, saying ““I don’t really beg any of them to come to Notre Dame if they don’t understand what we’re trying to do here,” according to the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen.
Can you blame them for not understanding what you’re doing at Notre Dame? Let’s face it, at this point, no one does.