from Colonel Mustard
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The hospitality was great. It was a great setting for college football, maybe the best. Great experience, great fans. We've never been treated better at a road game. The stadium itself is nothing special, but WOW what a campus!
This was a lucky escape today. I don't know what it means long term, but we survived. Here are some things you might not have seen on TV. We still lacked creativity and flow on offense, plays weren't getting in until 10 seconds left on the play clock more often than not. Their safeties were always up in the box, just daring us to throw. Reminded me of several games two years ago. I hope this isn't a trend.
We still have no playmakers at I-back. Our best bet anytime, anyplace was to put the ball in #7's hands. Bobby Newcombe was invisible! We had all winter, spring and summer to think about it, but we still haven't figured out how to use him. Despite Crouch's tremendous performance, he still had some shaky throws, but when the game is on the line he's our man.
On the defensive side of the ball, Carlos Polk may be the most valuable guy on the team (yes, the team). He was simply all over the field, sideline to sideline 40 yards downfield running down Battle, tipping the ball on the interception. Thank goodness for him. I'm not real sure if Joe Walker knows any of the defenses, and he spends a huge amount of time in no-man's land not pressuring or covering. Overall, however, a much more solid effort on defense than last week and improvement all around.
Special teams? I'm not sure whose players those were. Super uncharacteristic for us and most dismaying was the punt return which came right at us. No one touched him at all.
It's easy to see why my ND friends can't stand Davie: Here he is with the ball and a minute left sitting on it when our offense was productive and controlling the line of scrimmage. He needed to at least take a shot at it. And I don't know what ND was thinking on a couple of our quarterback sneaks, putting nobody on Raiola. Arnaz Battle may be as skittery as Kordell Stewart and possibly Nate Mason. We'll be happy to see him in Lincoln next year.
On a personal note, I lit a candle at the grotto for my Dad. I wish he could have been here to see this. Everyone should see a game here, no matter who they are playing. Another personal note, not so positive, is that despite the hospitality and friendliness, my friend Mr. Golf (aka The Wipe) still managed to get into it with the locals over the officiating (especially the phantom offensive interference call in the 4th quarter) and by unfortunately playing the "Catholic" card. He never fails to disappoint. If I'm not mistaken he and Salmon Rushdie are still the only people wanted by the Iranian government. (There was this incident at a pizza restaruant in Miami at the 1994 Orange Bowl that I won't get into right now).
Again, I'm happy we got out of there alive, but the game should have never have been this close.
-- The Colonel
(Thanks to Darren S. for his help in getting this transmitted.)