The Irish keep on rolling with a dominant victory over the UMass Minutemen by the score of 62-27 (which is greater than the 28.5 point spread). I predicted that UMass would cover the spread, so I was wrong here. The Irish absolutely could have played better. If it wasn’t for the late surge at the end of the first half, they would’ve only been up by one point (21-20).
Let’s talk about the victors first. Notre Dame didn’t play their best football in the first half. Though UMass never lead, they were consistently within striking distance. The Irish had no answer for their early ground attack, and started off with a three and out offensively. But, they settled down. Kizer looked uneasy to start, but he finished strong. He only played two quarters and two series, but he threw for 207 yards, rushed for 42 yards, accounted for 3 total touchdowns, to go along with an interception that wasn’t really his fault. CJ Prosise looked excellent again, but it was Josh Adams and Dexter Williams that really impressed me; it proves that the Irish have capable runners that provide depth. The defense let up 20 points in real game time, and a garbage touchdown late. This goes right along with their 19.8 points allowed per game average. I’m not worried about the defense. They can’t come out flat against Clemson next week, but because Brian Kelly is the coach of this team, I don’t think they will.
Now for UMass. I was wrong about Blake Frohnapfel. He is a legitimate prospect and he impressed me with his leadership and poise. For his sake, I wish he stepped up in the pocket more confidently and consistently, but he can make most of the throws on the field a good QB needs to. This entire team played well for a half, and showed that they were not afraid of a top-ranked team. I think UMass does have talent, and like TJ said, the real tough part of their schedule is over. I think Toledo will be the only team that could seriously give problems to the Minutemen, based on their previous victory over Arkansas, an SEC team.
But I can’t write an article without flexing my muscles and saying I’m right when I am. UMass covered the spread- I was wrong. I would’ve bet the spread too. Frohnapfel did not throw for 300 yards despite his forty attempts at doing so. In fact, he needed 18 more attempts to get 26 more yards. That’s not significantly better than Kizer. Keep in mind that Kizer was directly responsible for 3 more touchdowns, the same number of turnovers, and he guided the offense to 48 points while he was in. Tajae Sharpe finished with 8 catches, which is not 10 catches. He also had at least 4 (unofficial count) in garbage time. Randall Jette sucked today. Other than the one very impressive play, I wasn’t impressed- he got burned consistently and he did not factor into success much. Finally, UMass didn’t necessarily start strong. They looked good in the first and second quarters, but they were down 14-0 early.
I’m just glad Notre Dame didn’t go all Notre Dame on me, and make me really sad. They’ve done that to me a lot before, but I really like their momentum going into the heart of their schedule. And I think UMass just might compete in the MAC- they’ve got confidence, swagger, a good quarterback, and a formidable backfield.