When it comes to weather in the Midwest, you would think that snow would make an impact on a game. That wasn’t the case on Saturday night against the Wolverines. Tropical Depression Olga decided she was going to make a visit to Michigan Stadium and make a lengthy appearance. Knowing that the Irish have had to play in these conditions in the past in NC, thoughts automatically move to the running game and stay away from the pass.
To use a metaphor, last night was the “Perfect Storm”. I say that because the crowd noise was a factor, the rain was brutal, and not fixing the the 3rd down situation which has plagued this team all year, came together at the same moment.
Crowd Noise, Rain, 3rd Down Conversions
The crowd was probably one of the loudest I have ever witnessed at any sporting event. 111,909 people in attendance at the “Big House”, that is a monster audience. That dwarfs the 77,622 that sells out at Notre Dame Stadium. Even in the rain every fan appeared to be standing and involved with doing their part as the 12th man. The Irish had one false start in the first quarter and two false starts in the third quarter. One play prior to the false start, the ball was being snapped and hit Cole Kmet. The play went down as a fumble recovered by Ian Book. So, yes the 12th man did make an appearance last night and had an influence on the game.
Tropical Depression Olga
Who would have thought a tropical depression in late October would invoke chaos on a football game in Michigan. Tropical Depression Olga was one tough cookie in this game. Rain falling out of the sky looked like snow. The rain drops were just ginormous. Rain of that magnitude will slow down anyone. The how comes in the adjustments made by the coordinators.
A crazy play that actually extended a drive for Michigan in the first quarter. Bo Bauer actually blocks the punt of the Wolverines, the ball is then fumbled by the ND Special Teams coverage and the Wolverines maintain possession on the fumble recovery. That turnover led to the first points of the game.
Third Down Conversions
The second quarter at the zenith of the rain, the Irish offense seemed to sputter. The offense probably had one of it’s worst quarters in recent history. The team had eight yards rushing and 27 yards passing and Time Of Possession (T.O.P) 5:20.
Three of the four possessions was a three and out situation, and the other was a Wolverines take over on downs. The first possession was three plays, two yards, for 0:54. The second possession was three plays, four yards, 1:54. The third possession was turnover on downs after four plays, six yards, 1:47. The last possession was three plays, five yards, 0:45. Those numbers put the Irish in a 17-0 deficit going into halftime.
The first four possessions of the third quarter saw the Wolverines and the Irish exchange three and out on four straight possessions to start the quarter. The Irish defense definitely got the halftime message in the locker room. The defense limited the first three possessions to nine plays, eleven yards and 4:43. A drastic turn around from the first half.
With that, the Irish were able to generate a spark on offense. The scoring on the drive came quick as well. After a Pass Interference call on Michigan, The Irish made it into Michigan territory. the play of the drive went to Chase Claypool. With his 24 yard reception from Book, that play set up the TD for sevens yards from Book to Kmet. The Irish broke the ice and get on the board with the score 17-7.
The defense which had been strong in the first part of the quarter, got flagged for two costly penalties for 25 yards total. The Wolverines were stopped on the ND 12 when ND was called for Pass Interference in the End Zone. Instead of a field goal, two plays later momentum swung back to the Wolverines to go up 24-7. Costly error at a critical point in the game.
Mixed in with all the that going on in the game a little humor for those in the press box once again this week. It wasn’t an official calling out the wrong team for a penalty, but an official with an open mic for much of the third quarter. We learned when a punt was good, we learned what the field sounded like from his vantage point, but mostly how loud he can blow a whistle.
There will only one person from each category this week.
🏈🏈🏈Jay Bramblett-His performance on Saturday night was amazing. Bramblett had 423 Punting Yards, 4 Punts Inside the 20 and 2 Punts +50 yards a 61 yard punt (Career Long) and 58 yards. Bramblett really did all he could do to keep the Wolverines from getting into ND territory.
🏈🏈🏈Cole Kmet-Kmet was on the end of the Book seven yard TD reception in the third quarter. That was an opportunity for the Irish to get back into it. 2 Targets, 25 Total Yards and 1 TD
🏈🏈🏈Drew White-11 Total Tackles (6 Solo)
The Wrap Up
The best thing for the ND Football team to do is, get over the loss and move on. Losses can breed losses. The Captain’s need to get this team on point and refocused. Virginia Tech is up next at home on Saturday. They need to take the loss, learn from it and win out.
Cheers and Go Irish!🍀🏈⚡