Another Nailbiter - Toledo vs Notre Dame
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
What a crazy home opener as the Fighting Irish welcomed back ALL fans (vaccinated and unvaccinated) to Notre Dame Stadium. This week’s game unfortunately resembled last week’s close contest against the FSU Seminoles even though the Irish were favored to beat the Toledo Rockets by more than 2 touchdowns.
The biggest takeaway from this game seems to be, “Do we have a quarterback controversy between grad transfer, Jack Coan and true freshman, Tyler Buchner?” Both young men had their ups and downs, but seemed to shine in their own particular area of strength. When given proper protection, Coan was able to pass the ball well to a variety of receivers such as Avery Davis, Braden Lenzy and Kevin Austin, but Michael Mayer continued to show his domination when it came to putting that pigskin in the end zone. Buchner was definitely the more mobile of the 2 quarterbacks and provided a well needed spark to the lackluster Notre Dame offense.
Coach Kelly played down the “controversy” question, by stating at the press conference that Buchner was expected to be given some snaps during the game, and Coan continued to provide the experienced leadership needed to pull off the win in the final minutes of the game. He demonstrated his toughness and determination to win when he dislocated his ring finger and simply had trainer. Mike Bean. pull it back into its socket. Subsequently, on the very next play, Coan fired the winning touchdown pass to Mayer. As TNNDN stated today on Twitter about this incident: “Dislocated finger? No biggie. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Boom! Touchdown!”
Kelly also addressed the performance of the offensive line. Obviously, last week’s injury to Blake Fisher became even more devastating when his replacement, Michael Carmody, went down today with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Kelly noted that this group is definitely young and lacking in experience. They have a long way to go to gel as a unit. He said everyone needs to get better, even the coaches.
We’ll see how much better EVERYONE gets when the Irish welcome back the Purdue Boilermakers to Notre Dame Stadium next Saturday. This time they’ll be back on NBC so everyone can cancel that Peacock subscription!
On a side note: Drew Brees was a breath of fresh air as our new analyst after so many years of Doug Flutie. Thank you for that hire, NBC!