Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Post Mortem: Notre Dame 31, Stanford 10

The game was so boring, it took 11 days just to muster up the strength to say, "I've got nothing else to do, might as well recap the game."

The Irish took their sweet-ass time against a Stanford team that never really presented much of a challenge. Early on it looked like that might be their undoing, as they followed up a splendid, balanced opening drive with drops, lapses in judgment, a near-death experience involving a pick six that was called back, before finally reconnecting with their late first-half mojo for a 14-3 lead. (The Irish have used their last drive of the first half to score a touchdown in five of their six games.)

Darius Walker had a second straight outstanding day, again racking up almost 200 total yards, while Brady Quinn was again hitting 2/3 of his passes and avoiding mistakes. The defense held an inept Stanford offense below even their own pathetic standards, so that gets chalked up as a positive. On the whole though, there was nothing to be overly impressed about - which is probably a good thing in the long run. The Irish were exactly where they were supposed to be against an inferior opponent, in complete control. Showing some kinks in the armor under those circumstances would (hopefully) make them all the more correctable.

Oh, and as for that Heisman thing...

Adrian Peterson is done for the year. Garret Wolfe was bottled up by Western Michigan. Calvin Johnson will have one more chance, against Miami State Penitentiary (er...University). Steve Slaton isn't enough of a superstar at West Virginia. That boils the race down to Troy Smith and Brady Quinn.

How Brady is still in the race after the horror show against Michigan on September 16th is more of a testament to the fact that this is a weak overall field than to the improvements made in his game. He can't afford any subpar efforts between now and the USC game, and that'll only guarantee him a chance to make his case in primetime Thanksgiving weekend. Anything resembling an encore of the Michigan performance will give Smith a Charlie Ward-type lock on the Heisman. And as long as the Buckeyes win out, Smith will get the award anyway.



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