North Carolina Review: Solid First Book Report

I was expecting a North Carolina team that, despite heavy injuries and numerous new starters from a year ago, to show up and play a tough game in front of their home crowd. You could say the Tar Heels hung around for a bit and then were slowly strangled by the more talented and determined Irish. Once again, Notre Dame runs away with another victory and heads into the bye week an uplifting 5-1 on the season.

PASSING OFFENSE

Ian Book’s first career start could be broken up into 3 phases: First, a strong beginning, then a poor middle, and lastly a second half where he wasn’t asked to do much.

Book started the game 9 of 12 for 95 yards and a nice touchdown pass to Cam Smith to provide the game’s first score. He then finished the game 8 of 19 for 51 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

The good was that Book looked entirely comfortable from the first snap, delivered mostly quick and accurate passes, and showed that in a couple years he’ll probably be good enough to start at a lot of Power 5 programs. The bad included a pair of turnovers and an inability to get the ball vertical down field. We’ll see if in the future the latter changes as the gameplans evolve for a more experienced quarterback.

The stat box shows a meager 38 receiving yards for Alize Mack but he did haul in a career-high 6 receptions, including 4 first down catches. He did have another bad drop on an inside screen, though.

Something doesn’t seem right with Equanimeous St. Brown and my gut instinct is to wonder about some sort of nagging injury. He was targeted 5 times on Saturday and only had 1 reception for 9 yards. That’s 15 catches through 6 games.

RUSHING OFFENSE

Ho hum, just another 300+ yards rushing, another long Josh Adams touchdown, and 3 more scores on the ground.

Player 1st/2nd Yes 1st/2nd No 3rd/4th Yes 3rd/4th No Total
McIntosh 7 2 2 1 75.0%
Adams 4 5 3 1 53.8%
Book 5 4 0 2 45.4%
Holmes 3 3 1 1 50.0%
Jones 4 3 0 2 44.4%
Smith 0 1 0 0 00.0%
Total 23 18 6 7 53.7%

 

To be fair, the Irish finished strong but really didn’t light the world on fire for large stretches of this game. The offense began the contest with only 1 successful run on their first 9 carries, for example. However, given the loss of Wimbush, all the banged up running backs, and some interesting play-calling the ground game persevered and got the job done.

This one of those games where success rate isn’t a huge deal if you can bust enough long runs (Adams’ long TD was plenty enough), convert enough short-yardage scenarios, and be successful on a high enough volume of runs. To put things into perspective, the 29 successful runs tied for the 2nd most of the Kelly-era with the 2012 Navy game. It also works well when you can trust your defense.

We’ve been tough on Deon McIntosh recently for being pretty mediocre but against North Carolina he put together perhaps the best non-Josh Adams performance from an Irish running back this season. He showed off good speed, improved vision, and ran incredibly angry on his way to 124 yards on just 12 carries. Thanks partially to injuries, McIntosh is now the second-leading rushing tailback on the team.

As noted prior to the game the team was going to burn true freshman running back C.J. Holmes’ redshirt, and while he picked up an offsides penalty on kickoff coverage, he looked modestly effective on his first 8 career carries.

I think it’s pretty clear that Tony Jones’ pass catching ability and/or all-around game is highly favored by the staff because as far as comparisons in strictly running the ball he might be 5th among the backs when this season is over. I’m not sure he has to be your backup when he’s only chipped in 3 catches for 9 yards on the season.

Book ended up being serviceable as a runner, finishing with 47 yards on 11 non-sack carries.

PASSING DEFENSE

To be blunt, North Carolina got smashed to bits trying to throw the ball and protect quarterback Chazzzzz Surratt. The Heels mustered 179 passing yards for a paltry 4.2 yards per attempt while allowing Surratt to be pressured an incredible 11 times.

Notre Dame finished with “only” 2 sacks but the pressure was constant all game and clearly affected North Carolina’s ability to run their offense smoothly.

I should also note that the Heels largely made a living off short horizontal passes and the Irish came up and tackled really well for short gains.

RUSHING DEFENSE

North Carolina lost a robust 19 yards on 2 sacks but even without considering those stats their ground game was entirely non-threatening and kept in check by the Irish. They finished the day with 86 net rushing yards and were only successful on 9 out of 26 carries.

Once again, if the Irish defense can keep any offense to only a third of successful runs they can win big against just about any team without great quarterbacking.

The ability to make a lot of plays in the backfield still isn’t great (5 tackles for loss) and this continues to be an area for improvement holding the defense back from becoming a nationally recognized unit.

SPECIAL TEAMS

While the game was close in the first half it felt like special teams–especially in the rain–could play a pivotal part in the outcome but it was another quiet day overall.

Yoon hit his only field goal and Newsome’s punting was solid. North Carolina out-kicked their coverage a couple times which allowed Chris Finke to total 44 yards on punt returns. The kickoff returns for both teams were pretty nondescript.

TURNING POINT

With just over 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter Notre Dame took possession following a Book interception and quick 3 & out from the Heels. Book ran for 11 yards on first down and McIntosh followed it up with this 35-yard touchdown run to effectively seal the game.

McIntosh already has 4 career touchdowns!

3 STARS

  • Deon McIntosh
  • Julian Okwara
  • Jerry Tillery

FINAL NOTES

Even with 2 interceptions from Ian Book the Irish turnover margin remains quite healthy (+7 overall, tied-9th nationally) thanks to an incredible 14 forced turnovers through 6 games. Those takeaways are tied for 7th nationally and already match last year’s total for 12 games.

We have enough of a sample size for me to say that Julian Okwara may have the highest ceiling among the current defensive linemen, and maybe the entire defense. His numbers aren’t crazy to date (7 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 5 QBH, 1 FF, 1 INT) but I also don’t think they do his impact justice.

We’re half way through the season and I’m not even sure what would be the biggest complaint with the safeties right now. That’s a credit to the coaching of Mike Elko.

If there’s a reason to be humbled by the offensive performance it was a modest 5.53 yards per play, the second worst performance of the season. That dropped the season average by two-tenths to 6.4 yards per play.

On the flip side, the 3.79 YPP on defense against North Carolina was a season-low for the Irish. That keeps the team at a very healthy +1.6 YPP differential on the season.

Perhaps the worst news from this game was the red zone stats being destroyed. Book’s touchdown pass came in the red zone, then the offense followed that up with a field goal, interception, and the game-ending kneel down in the red zone. That was the first red zone turnover of the season and now the TD percentage falls to 21/24 for 80.7% still good for 11th nationally.

This was a pretty ugly game for penalties, a combined 20 flags for 184 yards.

There were 3 really dumb things from this game. One, the Irish burning a timeout on a kickoff to then kick it short and give the Heels excellent field position. Two, going for it on 4th and a long 2 yards with an Ian Book sneak that was stuffed immediately. Three, North Carolina throwing a pass from their 1-yard line with 38 seconds left in the first half only to allow a safety on the very next snap.

Were there too few rushing attempts in the first half? Perhaps, the play-calling was pretty even with 26 runs and 23 passes before the break. In the “win to run” category the Irish finished the game with 64.7% runs thanks to a run heavy 2nd half featuring 31 rushes to 8 passes.

By |2018-05-09T22:25:53+00:00October 8th, 2017|Football|68 Comments

68
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
8 Comment threads
60 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
22 Comment authors
juiceboxBrendan Rcwoda domerMichael Bryan Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
tlndma
tlndma

I love how McIntosh is carrying the ball as he gets to the line of scrimmage. How many fumbles do our RBs have? Not many.
I thought ND going for that 4th and 2 was not smart. UNC had been winning on field position up to that point and punting at that point, after a couple of 1st downs, would have changed that. UNC, up to that point, had shown no ability to move the ball. A decent punt would have pinned UNC back and ND could have expected at worst to get the ball back in good field position. The QB sneak play call, made it even worse.
We know the feeling UNC fans must have had, when their QB didn’t get under center on their own 1 yd. line. Is it really so hard and time consuming to practice for that scenario? It seems like Football 101 to me. Three runs into the line, ends the half with UNC only down 7 after totally sucking for 30 mins.

Scarponi
Scarponi

I was all for going for it on 4th down there. I like seeing ND be aggressive and having an “assert your will” mindset. What is more, the analytics say to go for it there, and I’m a big fan in maximizing value. However, based on the distance needed, the sneak did seem like the wrong play to pick up the two yards and I’d rather have seen some other play call.

I was also very pleased to see them go for it the second time in the same situation. Just because going for it didn’t work the first time, doesn’t mean it was the wrong call. If you legitimately believed you had the advantage by going for it, you better keep doing so.

a domer
a domer

I don’t know if anyone mentioned this in the long argument about analytics, but it was pretty clear to me that they had the sneak called in the huddle as an automatic play if the 3rd down run didn’t convert. Someone should have had the presence of mind to change the play, or failing that, Kelly should have called timeout, but it makes the call a lot more understandable at least.

tlndma
tlndma

We can agree that if you’re going to go for it there you should have a better play call. That was a long way for a QB sneak.
Does analytics take into account that the other team has had nothing but 3 and outs? Or that you have a 1st time starter at QB ? I think in this game with the way the game was playing out, pinning UNC deep was the way to go.
Just my opinion.

Scarponi
Scarponi

Analytics can certainly be tailored to a specific team, situation etc. Though how each factor affects expected outcomes is not always immediately as expected.

So… an opponent who has done nothing but 3 and outs would boost the benefit of punting as you would (1) likely get the ball back without them scoring and (2) likely get it back with decent field position. However that same fact decreases the drawback of going for it because if you go and fail, it’s less likely they can hurt you with their improved field position. So that doesn’t automatically make punting the better option.

Likewise with a 1st time starter, if you go for it and fail, assuming your defense holds and you get the ball back, you’d probably have to sustain a longer drive which is harder for an inexperienced QB (though this isn’t taking into account that Josh “50+” Adams can eliminate that drawback on any run). However, because the QB is inexperienced, going for it with a short field attempts to take advantage of the precise current situation that is desired for a 1st time starter: that is, one already has a short field. So again, not necessarily something that pushes towards punting being the better option.

For what it’s worth, the question always comes down to: [Success rate of going for it in that moment] x [Expected value given a successful outcome] + [Failure rate of going for it] x [Expected value of failure] compared to [Expected value of an average punt result in that situation].

Scarponi
Scarponi

So found myself thinking about this more and thought I’d actually check the numbers.

For average teams:
-A first down on the 47 yard line (what they would have had if they converted) has an expected value (EV) of 2.735.
-A first down for NC on their 49 yard line (on a failed attempt) has an EV for ND of -2.634.
-A first down for NC on their 15 (approx. avg punt distance from 49) has an EV of -1.406.

I couldn’t find college conversion rate by yards to go, but in the NFL, it’s approx. 75% for 4th and 1, and 65% for 4th and 2 (ND had about 1.7 yards to go). so lets say 67%.

So for average teams
Going for it EV: (0.67 * 2.735) + (0.33 * -2.634) = 0.963
Punting EV: -1.406
Difference: 2.369 expected points better to go for it.

Now for ND and NC… I would say ND’s offense Saturday was right around “average,” with a 1st time starting QB balanced by an above average running game, but against a below average defense in NC. Meanwhile NC was a below average offense (though it would have been reasonable to think they were going to improve above what they had showed so far that game) against our slightly above average defense.

So with some conservative spit ball tweaks:
Successful conversion EV: 3.009 (+10% – our offensive advantage)
Failed conversion EV: -2.239 (-15% – their poor offense)
Punt EV: -.984 (-30% – greater decline for their inept offense needing a longer sustained drive).
Conversion rate boosted to 70% for NC’s below average defense.

Going for it EV: 1.435
Punting EV: -.984
Difference: 2.419 better to go for it (and actually a hair MORE beneficial to go for it once “spit-ball” adjusting for the given situation).

*For more on this type of analytics a good article: http://www.advancedfootballanalytics.com/index.php/home/research/game-strategy/120-4th-down-study
**Where I pulled EV numbers for yard lines: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NYu-TRB0vd_KaPC9sfDW_R-bp6iryigk987QzRh2BXM/edit#gid=0

cwod
cwod

The subsequent thread went about how I expected. Hmm.

My .02.

Probably don’t want to “factor in” too much. I suspect then you’d over fit the model or have small n problems? Best to keep it simple to come up with a decent enough rule of thumb. Kind of like what you did!

It’s also worth pointing out that maybe using observed conversion rates would bias you in positive direction because those are nonrandom. But also probably true that on the margin coaches should go for it more.

tlndma
tlndma

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

“It’s less likely they can hurt you with improved field position.” Really ? I wonder what analytics would say about that.

Scarponi
Scarponi

To clarify if context didn’t make it clear, they are less likely to score from the 50 than if they had a good offense.

Basically saying, if the argument is to punt because their offense is weak: it’s true that the drawback of giving up possession (by punt) is reduced against a poor offense compared to the average opponent, it’s ALSO simultaneously means there is a reduced drawback (compared to an average opponent) if you go for it on 4th and happen to fail. Sorry if my wording was unclear.

Or put simply, bad offenses are less likely to score at any point on the field than a good offense at the same point on the field. So bad opponent’s offense doesn’t necessarily imply punt.

tlndma
tlndma

It goes without saying that a weak offense is less likely to score than a good offense, from anywhere on the field. Same as a weak offense is more likely to score starting at midfield than if they start on their own 20.

At the time of the call, the ND offense had just done what needed to be done by getting a couple first downs. This was going to flip field position if the defense continued to perform. With a 1st time starter, ND would benefit from a short field as much as having to drive the length of the field was going to hinder UNC and it’s struggling offense. I thought going for the first down showed a lack of patience on Kelly’s part. His decision undid the good the offense had just accomplished. A UNC three and out and a punt and ND was going to have a long field again.

Scarponi
Scarponi

I completely agree with your RISK assessment, but imo, it seems to ignore the REWARD. To use your own words in a reward focused approach one could say:

“At the time of the call, the ND offense had just done what needed to be done by getting a couple first downs. This [had currently flipped] field position… With a 1st time starter, ND would benefit from [taking advantage of the current] short field as much as having to drive the length of the field was going to hinder UNC and it’s struggling offense. [BK’s] decision [was capitalizing on] the good the offense had just accomplished.”

tlndma
tlndma

That’s a nice fantasy compared to the reality of what happened.
I’m not ignoring what the offense had accomplished at all. Punting in that situation is not giving up. There was ample evidence that showing faith in your defense would not be pissing away field position. Putting UNC’s offense closer to their own goal line could only increase the pressure on their struggling offense.

Scarponi
Scarponi

You’re wanting to punt in hopes to return to an approximately similar field position with a fresh set of downs by forcing a 3 and out after the punt.

This same result is gained by simply converting on 4th down instead of punting.

tlndma
tlndma

Except converting didn’t prove to be so simple.

Scarponi
Scarponi

But the question is not whether it worked, but whether it’s a good choice. If I bet that a 6-sided die will be a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, it was the right bet, even if when the die is rolled it circumstantially turns out to be a 1.

You asked whether analytics support going for it given the situation. When asked with regard to analytics, it’s basically asking, given this situation repeatedly, what action would on average produce the best result. And the answer was (and still is) – going for it. Whether it worked in that particular case (and we already both agreed there were better play calls that would have improved the chances), is immaterial.

tlndma
tlndma

I didn’t ask that. What I asked was if analytics took into account several other factors involved with the situation.
Whether it works or not is totally material. This is a football game not a mathematical equation. Show me the data on 1st time starters making it on fourth and 2. Show me the data on how this UNC team performs in a close game backed up in their own end. Doesn’t it matter how the ND defense has performed so far in the game? If you don’t have the correct data, if you don’t have all the data, your math equations don’t mean squat.

Scarponi
Scarponi

I took those things into account with the above calculations which you have ignored. If you think the adjustments are off I’d be happy to discuss those further, but ignoring them and then claiming that I haven’t considered them doesn’t get us anywhere.

Why would we talk about whether a choice was right or not based on the result. If that was the case there would NEVER be any discussion about ANY play. Given the result that the play worked: Everyone 100% agrees it was right. The play fails: Everyone 100% agrees it was wrong. We all agree going for it failed. The question was whether it was good choice based on the POSSIBILITY of success.

If “your numbers” are ND didn’t get the 1st down, therefore the chance of a first down in that situation was 0% – then I entirely agree – based on that egregious number it was better to punt.

If you want to talk numbers, I’m happy to. If you want to say that you disagree with the analytics and in your opinion regardless of what the analytics say it was better to punt – I’m fine with that, you’re welcome to that opinion and many prefer the risk-adverse approach regardless of the numbers.* But if you ask whether the analytics take certain things into account, and then ignore the numbers showing how one might take them in to account and don’t want to engage the analytics directly, then I’m not sure what we’re talking about.

*This view is actually held by most coaches. But there is repeated evidence that while the majority view is risk-adverse, following the analytics can produce better results. It wasn’t that long ago when the majority view in the NBA was that 3-point shooting teams can’t win. Or for another example, checkout “Moneyball.”

tlndma
tlndma

You cited NFL numbers. LOL

Scarponi
Scarponi

Yep, and in the NFL teams are more evenly balanced skill-wise, so if those numbers are off, it’s going to be in the direction of it being MORE favorable conversion rate given the talent difference between ND and NC.

Want to try again?

tlndma
tlndma

MORE favorable…. LMFTFY…. MORE unpredictable

juicebox
juicebox

tlndma, there is no debate about this. Everyone who has ever analyzed the results has determined the same thing. It is basically never wrong to go for it on 4th.

There can be a debate about whether to go for 4th and 2 on your own side of the field (the numbers still suggest you should), but it is never questionable when you are across the 50. This was 100% the correct call, every time outside of maybe 30s left in the game.

Even the New York Times knows you always go for it on 4th and 1 or 2 when across the 50.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/upshot/4th-down-when-to-go-for-it-and-why.html

“On fourth-and-2, go for it everywhere beyond your 28-yard line.”

AND

The only argument against going for it is purely the outcome of the play in hindsight. BUT THEY DIDN’T SCORE AND WE SCORED A TD ON OUR NEXT POSSESSION. So the actual outcome of points scored was the maximum that it could have been even if we punted.

So even a failed 4th down conversion optimized points scored.

KG
KG

Get a room already, you two! 🙂

Scarponi
Scarponi

Or better yet, YOU give me a number. Given ND’s offense and NC’s defense what percent of the time do you think ND would convert 4th and 1.7 yards to go? You pick the number, and I’ll run the math.

tlndma
tlndma

I’ll leave the guessing on percentages up to you.

Scarponi
Scarponi

Like I said, refuses to engage. Don’t ask about analytics if you don’t care about them.

tlndma
tlndma

I have nothing more.

Clearwall
Clearwall

I didn’t mind the call. I figured we had the running game to pick it up so the risk was very low. Even though we didnt convert, the likelihood of them driving the field was low so THAT risk was also lessened. Then, if we could force a three and out there, they’re punting even closer to our EZ which might go for a touchback which would have flipped field position back to our side.

tlndma
tlndma

Starting at your 20 is not flipping the field.
Not only did I not like them going for it but, I think the play call showed that either the QB or the coaching staff was not ready for the situation.

Clearwall
Clearwall

It is if they’re consistently punting from their 40 and pinning you inside the 10, which they were. Pulling them out to the 50 or our 40 and getting a TB flips that

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

The short version is it almost never makes sense to punt on 4th and short on that side of the field. I’d rather Kelly operate using that heuristic and go for it there then try to balance what’s going on in the game, because he would invariably overshoot in the wrong direction.

tlndma
tlndma

Well there’s some faith in the coach.
Though I appreciate you expanding my vocabulary, I pretty much disagree with all you wrote.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I mean, what I wrote w/r/t going for it is a fact: the math indicates that to be the case, and coaches are systematically conservative on such calls to the point of being self-defeating. The operating theory is that coaches don’t take the best approach because they are afraid being called out on talk radio etc. if it goes poorly, because fans are uninformed and don’t get it. Relatedly, the only coach in the NFL who goes for it nearly as much as one should according to the math is Bill Belichick, because he has infinite job security. While of course he has had a number of other things going for him with his roster (of course), his going for it so much has decidedly help him more games than he otherwise would have.

That said, another useful heuristic would be “don’t QB sneak if you’re more than a yard away from a first down.”

tlndma
tlndma

Belicek having Tom Brady helps him in his decision making. The guy may be the best ever at the QB sneak. They still talk about an epic fail by the Pats on 4th and 2 up here. Belicek didn’t trust his defense vs. Peyton Manning.
To disregard personnel, opponent, game situation, etc. and rely on math? Foolish.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

That they’re still talking about that 4th down goes to prove the point that maybe coaches should punt for their own job security’s sake, because loud fans are dumb and don’t understand probability and expected value.

If I recall correctly, there were articles around the time of that Belichick call that indicated that he made, in fact, the correct decision a priori. Of course it looks bad after when you don’t get it, because, like, duh. But you don’t have that information at the time, so you should do the best you can, and doing the best you can involves going for it a *lot* more than coaches generally do.

The point is, the math generally includes the personnel, opponent, game situation, etc. The point is that you should go for it 90%+ percent of the time there. If you think that you should punt more than one in ten, you are wrong.

irish_bandit_10
irish_bandit_10

I don’t think many (if any) people disagreed with the decision to go for it. The stupid part about it was trying a QB sneak to pick up 2 yards – with a QB who is shorter than 2 yards.

sleepy man
sleepy man

Y’all check that AP poll? Sitting at 16 with a whole bunch of opponents in the top 25. And also sitting one spot ahead of… well, I’ll let you guys look yourselves for the satisfaction 🙂

KG
KG

For what it’s worth (and it’s ESPN, so it isn’t much), ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) has us favored to beat USC, and has Miami and Stanford as our only projected losses, with a 48.1 expected win % and a 43.4 expected win percent, respectively. Road v. Home obviously has a lot to do with that. I generally think FPI is more smoke and mirrors compared to S&P+, but still, I like being “statistically favored” over SC.

DrIck
DrIck

What about being “schematically favored” over anyone?

KG
KG

Dude, that’s so 2007.

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

And the most important part, the AP ranked us one ahead of Michigan.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I’d be interested to hear the voters explain why they put Michigan State behind Michigan.

CleverScreenName
CleverScreenName

And what about the 4 voters who put MSU ahead of the Irish?!?

Jerry DiPaola, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, MSU #15, UM #16, ND #20
Brent Axe, Syracuse Media Group, MSU #14, UM #15, ND #19
Ed Daigneault, Republican American, UM #13, MSU #18, ND #21
Robert Cessna, Bryan-College Station Eagle, UM #14, MSU #20, ND #21

KG
KG

Well, but you see, Sparty beat Michigan, who was a top 10 team. Who has ND beaten? Only unranked teams. Ergo, Sparty must be better.

KG
KG

It’s a very complex formula, most of which consists of “they lost by 20 to Notre Dame, they can’t be that good.”

KG
KG

“Oh, and Michigan must be good despite the results on the field because HAAARRRBBBAAAUUGHH”

Did anyone else notice they kept hyping Harbaugh’s post-game press conference, before the game was over? I’m no buddy of Dantonio’s, but come on. Pretty clearly shows their interest is in the mayhem that comes from Harbaugh speaking, and not, you know, getting quotes from the winning coach.

Scarponi
Scarponi

Currently 7 of this season’s opponents are in the AP top 25. It seems probable that both USC and NC State will win their contests between now and when we play them. That should give us a very strong resume for the first CFP poll if we win both games.

Clearwall
Clearwall

I have a feeling that when the first real poll comes out we’ll be solidly in the top 15 if we keep winning. Clearly, we’d be over USC since we’d have beaten them and Wiscy will get no love because of SOS. I think we’d be looking like the best or second best one-loss team in the country.

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

Another solid win against a bad team. I had to cringe a little bit when they said on the broadcast we were still 1-9 in our last 10 single score games.

Anybody else concerned about our sneaky bad special teams? Yoon has been just okay, punting is inconsistent, i feel like we were giving up a lot of hidden yards in that 1st half from punt exchanges. I don’t want to talk about punt returns.

Brendan R

I like this year’s strategy of pummeling the living daylights out of (almost) everybody so we don’t get into one score games.

KG
KG

So much this. I love how the “criticism” is being leveled at BK “Sure, we’ve beaten everyone handily, but how’s he going to react in a tight game?”

Keep winning by more than 2 scores (that’s 14 points, if we don’t take into account 2pt conversions, for the record) and we don’t have to worry about it! Do these people want us to tank part of a game just so they can see “how BK reacts”? That’s the dumbest thing ever. “I want to see how they do in a tight game.” NOOOOOO. I want every game to be boring 20+ point wins! I get it, they won’t always be, and they want to see he’s changed from the last 2 years and can win a close game, but I just don’t get the idea of wanting a game to be close so you can gauge that.

dannan14
dannan14

Is the punting really that inconsistent? Newsome is 10th in the nation at 45.68 yards per punt.

Michael Bryan

31st in net punting, so between punt/coverage we could be doing better (also incorporates things like touchbacks – a 60 yard punt into the end zone vs a better 45 yard punt downed). Punting has been fine,kickoffs have been bad (both kicks and coverage…. hoping CJ will break one on the return side, but that also hasn’t been great)

Scarponi
Scarponi

(Totally unrelated, but your sentence reminded me…) I had to cringe watching that NC ram mascot trying to walk. Was anyone else in pain just watching that clip?

Clearwall
Clearwall
KG
KG

There is a reason their school color is “blue”

CardinalBaseball
CardinalBaseball

Did Brock huard call the Syracuse game last year and pretty much complain the entire game? It was certainly a different tone yesterday but I get it. That Syracuse game was a microcosm of all the crappy football nd played last year.

KG
KG

YUUUUUP. He’s objectively awful. Not just in our games.

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

But but he’s in love with our offensive line!

KG
KG

Q. Nelson is one smooth dude. May not have the classic looks of a Cam McDaniel, but you should see what he can whip up in the kitchen!

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I think, other than the Okwara point above, the key positive takeaway from this game is that we have a very, very solid backup QB for the foreseeable future. The spring game definitely pointed to that, as has the garbage time play, but you couldn’t be sure until he got some real reps.

To be clear, there is no real QB controversy here, Wimbush’s accuracy issues notwithstanding. But Book’s skillset will be valuable if needed going forward, plus that stability has ancillary benefits like basically guaranteeing – barring an awful injury situation – Jurkovec to be able to take a redshirt year.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

Don’t sleep on Avery Davis.

Orlok
Orlok

How great is it to be talking about what we can learn from another blowout win against a bad time? I’m nervous about the second half of the schedule, but seem to be beating bad teams like we’re a good team and it’s been a while since we did that.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Late to the party here but just got back from Chapel Hill. Turns out my seats were 2 rows behind the ND sideline, too close really to see much but cool to see the experience of being that low.

Love the energy of the defense, they were amped up all day, and didn’t give up much of anything early which was necessary for Book to get into the swing of things after a few 3-and-outs to start. It was also cool to be low and see Newsome (who definitely wins the Joe Schmidt award for ceaseless positivity and good teammate-ship) go and give hugs to all the defenders after the safety, which was made possible by a great punt to pin UNC back. It was a really cool touch to watch.

To Eric’s point in the article, I did notice ESB seemed to be walking with a bit of a hitch in his giddy-up. Same for Wimbush too, he didn’t look very comfortable moving around normally on the sideline. Adams was getting his ankle worked on/re-taped during the 2nd too on the bench. Bye week definitely is a good time for the skill players.

The 2 INT’s by Book were awful decisions, and it looked like he was a little late at some reads and open players but for a first start, young player, can’t complain at all. I’m also glad they threw a lot (it wasn’t really raining too much early in the game) because it did look like UNC was loading the box and crashing safeties and begging them too.

The o-line is all business. It was wild being so low and seeing how monstrous they are. Nelson’s basically a refrigerator with arms. McGlinchey’s size just doesn’t make sense. That’s not breaking any news, but seeing it up close in person certainly wows. I loved the coaching too, they all looked so calm, controlled, confident.

All in all, very happy day. I didn’t even mind the rain, luckily at 80+ degrees it wasn’t all that bad, though it was very heavy at times.

gambit1077
gambit1077

Anyone have a gif or clip of Chase Claypool’s pancake block?