One team is ramblin', the other's a wreck
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - We started today's coverage with several questions that have been answered. However, today's 33-3 thrashing of Notre Dame by Georgia Tech has left us with some new ones...
Such as, is Notre Dame that bad, or is Georgia Tech that good? Maybe both.
We knew going in this would be a difficult test for the Irish offense because Tech's defense is a skilled and veteran unit. The Jacket's swarming defense spent much of the game in the Irish backfield. They were credited with nine sacks, thanks to a less than generous scorekeeper. There were at least a couple of times that Demetrius Jones was sacked, but they treated it as a running play instead of a passing play. The Irish had a total of -8 yards rushing and 20 of the 63 plays they ran were for negative yardage.
Which goes back to one of our original questions - who is the Notre Dame starting quarterback? The answer is it doesn't matter if the line can't protect him any better than they did today. Sharpley in particular took a beating, having been sacked seven times and hit hard on several more throws.
Weis pointed out after the game that just because Jones started today doesn't mean he necessarily will next week. The choice to start him was based on the game plan for Georgia Tech. It could be Sharpley next week. More likely, both will play.
The new 3-4 defense was a failure as well. The Tech offensive line blew open big holes all day for Tashard Choice. There were also several big play opportunities in the passing game that Taylor Bennett misfired on or missed entirely. That's right - if Tech had gotten good quarterback play, this score would have been worse.
Weis took full blame for not having his team ready, and promised changes next week. "We won't stay stagnant. We're going to get better, or we're going to get worse. We're not going to stay even."
I would like to point out one positive for Notre Dame. The Irish were a perfect 2-2 on 4th down conversions.
Also, to the fans' delight, freshman phenom Jimmy Clausen made his debut in garbage time. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 34 yards and was sacked once.
So in the end, Georgia Tech looked every bit the sleeper in the ACC that many think them to be. Meanwhile, Notre Dame appears to have put the echoes back to sleep.
Player of the Game: Tashard made it an easy Choice. Choice had 26 carries for 196 yards and two TDs.
Play of the Game: When it was still a 9-0 game, Notre Dame's defense had just held on third down and was going to get the ball back when DE Justin Brown lost his cool and delivered a blow to the head of a Georgia Tech offensive lineman. Tech retained possession and two plays later, Choice was in the end zone and the rout was on.
Up Next: Things don't get any easier for the Irish. They travel to Happy Valley to take on Penn St, a 59-0 winner today over Florida International. Notre Dame whipped Penn St in South Bend last year 41-17, a fact I am sure is not lost on the Nittany Lions.
Georgia Tech has just the kind of opponent a team needs after a big win. The Yellow Jackets will host Samford, which was a 23-21 winner over West Alabama on Thursday night.