Notre Dame played poorly against undermanned foe South Florida, and eventually lost 20-23. The defense played well, but bad offense coupled with bad weather was too much for the Irish to overcome. Stupid play has never been known as the winning formula.
The Irish must turn in a smarter effort against Michigan (1-0) in prime time if they wish to get the season back on track. Saturday's game against the Wolverines will not be easy. Michigan comes in after a 34-10 victory that was ended in the third quarter because of weather.
The Irish hope to overcome the Big Ten defensive player of the week in Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs who posted 10 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble in the shortened effort. They must also overcome linebacker Brandon Herron, who scored two defensive touchdowns for the Wolverines.
In order to overcome the ferocious Wolverine defence, improvements must be shown from the first contest.
Notre Dame made it inside the South Florida 5 yard line on their opening drive before a Jonas Gray fumble was returned 96 yards for USF's first score, ultimately a 14 point shift that put the Irish down 0-7 early. The Irish then had a touchdown run called back for holding, with that drive eventually ending with Dayne Crist throwing an interception in the end zone.
By halftime, the Irish trailed 0-16. Minus stupid penalties and turnovers, Notre Dame should have been ahead 14-9.
The Irish turned to Tommy Rees at quarterback for the second half and were able to get two touchdown passes and 20 points out of his effort, but also saw two more interceptions.
Cierre Wood ran 21 times for 98 yards and a touchdown, and Michael Floyd caught 12 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, providing the Irish with some hope on the offensive side of the ball.
Meanwhile, the Irish defense only gave up 254 yards, but couldn't overcome the 5 turnovers produced by the offense.
Coach Brian Kelly reported he will turn to Tommy Rees to lead the Irish. If the defense continues its performance, and Rees is successful in not turning the ball over, it should be a great game to watch.
The Under the Lights battle can be viewed on ESPN starting at 8:00 pm Saturday.