For one half of football it seemed that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were finally ascending to the upper-echelon of the college football. For a few years, the tradition-heavy football team has been banging on the door and trying to gain notoriety as one of college football’s “blue blood” programs only to fall short against the likes of powerhouses like Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. After leading 10-7 at halftime, penalties and turnovers plagued the Irish. By the end of the game it was clear their luck was running out, as they were defeated 23-17 by the Georgia Bulldogs.
Both teams traded scores back-and-forth during the contest and were close in total yardage. However, Notre Dame spent the majority of the second half struggling to gain momentum on offense. For the game, the Fighting Irish were flagged a total of 12 times for 85 yards. The Bulldogs suffocating defense forced Irish quarterback Ian Book into throwing two interceptions.
By the fourth quarter Georgia pulled away for a 23-10 lead before allowing a late touchdown pass by Book. The signal caller went 29-47 passing for 275 yards to go along with two TD’s. Still, the interceptions overshadowed his gutsy performance during the loss.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has done a fine job of continuing the Irish’s tradition of excellence, even managing to graduate the program to heights not reached since the days of former coach Lou Holtz. With infrastructure and facilities in place, boosters and TV revenue have helped transform South Bend, Indiana into a college football destination over the course of the past decade. Still, the “golden domers” can’t seem to get over the hump.
Kelly needs to continue focusing on recruiting and player development because talent seems to be the major difference between his program and the other college football powerhouses further south in the ACC and SEC. Needless to say, you have to give the program credit for continuing to schedule themselves against tradition-rich programs and teams that clearly out-class them on the field. Each time since being dominated by Alabama in the National Championship in 2013, the Irish have managed to display a competitive hunger before falling short against teams like Clemson and Georgia.
If Kelly can continue bringing in top recruits, the Fighting Irish will breakthrough and finally gain acceptance as a “blue blood” program sooner rather than later. Till then, they need to step up their efforts and eat more bowls of Lucky Charms.
Header Photo Credit: Macon Telegraph