Four and OH NO!
Even though, as Notre Dame fans, we all knew that this season would be a rebuilding year, we still had dreams of an undefeated season. We all knew that our offensive line was decimated by graduations. We all knew that we lost our starting quarterback, leaving behind almost no experience on the roster at that position. We all saw how our team struggled to win over unranked opponents for the first few games in September; but along came the Shamrock Series game in Chicago against Wisconsin! The Irish scored 31 points in the fourth quarter, and our hopes and dreams for an undefeated season came back to life.
BUT then along came the #7 ranked Cincinnati Bearcats who quickly dashed our hopes into the artificial turf of the Notre Dame Football field. It appears that Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder is a pretty good quarterback, even if he does say so himself. After an initially strong drive in the 1st quarter by the Irish, an ill-advised pass by Jack Coan ended up in the hands of the Bearcats. The Irish just couldn’t get much going early in the game. In fact, Tyler Buchner replaced Coan and threw another interception deep in Notre Dame territory. The Bearcats scored 17 unanswered points in the half.
Coach Kelly made the decision at half-time to bring in Drew Pyne on the 1st Irish possession of the second half. Pyne seems to know how to utilize his o-line to the offense’s advantage and was able to finally get the Irish on the board with a short yardage run by Kyren Williams towards the end of the 3rd quarter. Halfway through the 4th quarter, Braden Lenzy made a spectacular grab on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Pyne which would have had the Irish only a field goal away from tying the score, but the normally perfect Jonathan Doerer missed the extra point, forcing the Irish to have to score another touchdown to come away with the victory. Unfortunately, Cincinnati’s Ridder ran the ball into the end zone himself just 3 minutes later to nail the coffin shut on an Irish victory.
Defensive players for the Irish that continue to shine were, of course, Kyle Hamilton, Drew White, and Isaiah Foskey.
This coming Saturday, the 4-1 Irish travel to Virginia Tech to take on the Hokies in Blacksburg, Virginia at 7:30 PM on the ACC Network. The Irish fell to #14 on the AP Top 25 this week, but maybe a strong victory here might bring those hopes and dreams of diehard Notre Dame fans back to life. Can the Irish win out???