Notre Dame has a lot of inter – program turmoil going against them this week. For starters, they are coming off the worst loss of the season. Looking for positives from last week’s loss to Navy wasn’t just like looking for a needle in a hay stack. It more like looking for a good pass to fly from Dayne Crist’s hand.
Yes, that may have been a cheep shot at a college kid, but it’s the truth. In fact, my jabbing at Dayne Crist segues nicely into the overwhelming theme of Saturday’s contest against Tulsa – better play at the quarterback position.
Judging by the games prior to the “new low in the New Meadowlands,” last week’s performance by Dayne Crist was a rock bottom moment. Not to remind you, but Dayne threw for 178 yards, completed only 19 passes (in this offense!), and (brace yourself) threw three interceptions. Without the game film in front of me, at least two of the three killed drives that seemed fairly promising.
Besides this being the worst game of the year for Crist, it brought to light another way the Irish quarterback can loose games. Not only is it possible for the first year starter to disappear during games, but he can also throw interceptions…in bunches.
Thinking about Quarterback play this week, it was hard not to come to the conclusion that Crist can loose the Irish games in many more ways then he can win them. This is a major problem, but not one that the Irish have a solution to. Tommy Rees or Nate Montana aren’t any better the Crist. Actually, they are way worse.
So the Irish are stuck with dear old Dayne. Notre Dame needs to get the “Dayne train” back on track. They have four winnable games left on the schedule, two of them are winnable. Three wins would mark real progress and get them to the 7 wins that this space predicted they’d get to in August.
One of those wins should come against Tulsa. It’s the first meeting between the two teams since the beginning of time, so there’s no history to speak of. Basically, this means that no one will be writing about the Irish’s revenge for a (fill in the blank) Charlie Weis era loss.
The scariest thing about Tulsa is the amount of offense they generate. The Golden Hurricanes have scored over forty points in three of their four wins. They put up a 52 spot against Tulane last week. Quarterback G.J Kinne threw for two touchdowns and 206 yards.
Big play potential abounds on this team. Running backs Damaris Johnson and Ja’Terian Douglas ran for 151 yards on only nine carries. Given the way Notre Dame has had issues stopping the big play on the ground, this could be a major problem. The key to winning this game will be stopping the run. They didn’t do a good job of doing it last week, they have no choice in this one.
Another subplot to this game, something way more real and significant then a football game, will be how the death of team videographer Declan Smith affects the team. Some times I think it’s lost that these are just kids. How a death of a peer affects them is a great unknown. It’s a very personal battle, one that would be both irresponsible and futile to analyze the effect of. But it’s very possible this could affect the outcome of the game, or the way it’s played. After all, who could blame anyone who wouldn’t be at a top performance after a tragedy like that….
The Pick: Notre Dame 30 Tulsa 27 – Notre Dame will play better. If nothing else because they can’t play worse. Dayne Crist and the passing game will bounce back and the running game will play a bigger role then it has at any point this year. This game will be close because of the Tulsa running game but, if Notre Dame gets back to basis stopping the run, they will have just enough success to squeek one out.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1