Well Irish fans, I sit here writing this with the most optimism and confidence that I’ve felt in this team all season. The further removed from the Syracuse win, the more I am appreciating it. The Syracuse Orange got to host a sellout crowd as the Blue and Gold faithful poured into that monstrous dome, where our Notre Dame Fighting Irish pulled out their most satisfying win to date.
While I feel it was a great win, 5 pass attempts in the second half is absolutely astounding. While I would usually think that is terribly sad and would need adjusted moving forward, for THIS YEAR’S ND TEAM I think if we are running a functional offense then let’s not change too much heading into the Clemson game.
Going back and watching that Syracuse game a bit more, I think the Notre Dame offensive line may be BACK! The Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive line bodied the Syracuse defensive line from beginning to end in that bout. Whatever growing pains they had with Marcus Freeman to start the season seem shook off, and there isn’t a better time for that to be the case. Against Clemson, our offense will need all the time and all the space they can get to operate.
Lanes will be needed for our offensive game to get the horses going against Clemson. If we have a chance of beating the Tigers, Notre Dame needs to be what they are to the umpteenth degree. We are a running team, well let’s go out there and make no doubt about it. Let’s run, run, run, all day. Of course it will be more difficult, but if we aren’t going to look to air it out against Syracuse, we aren’t going to hope to against Clemson.
That being said, this game could come down to a handful of throws from Drew Pyne. If Notre Dame can get just a few throws to hit in the game against Clemson that could very well be the difference in victory and defeat. The Notre Dame team that left the field Saturday was a quarterback away from being able to compete with anyone. The Irish will need Drew Pyne to deliver when called upon, even if rarely, in this one. While the Notre Dame running backs will continue to be the featured players of our offense, I have a feeling if Notre Dame can pull this out, there will be at least 2 or 3 Drew Pyne throws to point to. May not be incredibly tough to make, but if he’s called to make the pass, Pyne will need to.
The Fighting Irish were able to outmuscle and dominate Syracuse, and even with Clemson ranked #4 in the CFP, I think we can do the same. This Clemson team, is not one of the Clemson teams of old. While they have plenty of talent, Clemson’s schedule looks weaker and weaker each week. Notre Dame’s ability to go into Syracuse and handle their business has really put into perspective the strength of the ACC for me. That Syracuse team, who by all eye tests was absolutely manhandled and ragdolled by the strengths of Notre Dame’s defense and run game. The week prior to being demoralized by the superior Irish side, they had headed into Clemson and nearly took down the ACC’s top dogs in a drag out battle. While each game presents new circumstances, the games Clemson has played do not have me fearing them as I would in previous seasons.
Clemson will be coming off of a bye week, well rested, sure. But this Notre Dame team looks to be feeling as great as they have all season. If they are able to bring the same intensity to the trenches, the physical nature of Notre Dame’s game could be an unwelcome characteristic in the eyes of the Clemson Tigers. If Notre Dame can keep the Tigers from bludgeoning us for massive broken plays I believe the Fighting Irish have more than a fighters chance in this one.
Get excited Notre Dame fans. While many of the more pessimistic of our fans will be doom and gloom heading into this game, I can’t help but be optimistic about the opportunity to make a statement in this game. This game could be the ultimate exorcism of demons for the Notre Dame team. Quarterback will need addressed and will be addressed in the offseason, but a statement win here could cauterize the wound that has been Marcus Freeman’s growing pains in South Bend. Here’s to the Fighting Irish and here’s to getting Notre Dame back on track.
Down with Clemson!!