December 21, 2007

There's No Quit in Navy

SAN DIEGO - There was a time when Air Force ruled the roost among service academy football programs. In fact, it was earlier this decade. That was before Paul Johnson came to Annapolis and turned Navy into a premiere non-BCS conference program. Johnson may not have been on the sideline Thursday at Qualcomm Stadium, but the players that won 17 games the last two seasons, dominated the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and beat Notre Dame were. And they fought until the bitter end.

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Johnson a Gem in Poinsettia Bowl Win

SAN DIEGO - Brian Johnson has had expectations to deal with throughout his tenure at Utah. He took the quarterback reins from Alex Smith, a No. 1 NFL Draft pick and leader of the unbeaten 2004 Utes. In his first season, Johnson posted more total yardage than Vince Young, Matt Leinart or Reggie Bush. So in '06, Johnson entered with enormous hype, which was deflated by injury. The Johnson of '07 never quite reached the level Johnson '05 attained -- until tonight.

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December 20, 2007

Big Play, Big Pay

SAN DIEGO - It wasn't a lack of big plays hampering Navy's offense in the first half, rather an inability to translate those plays into scores. That's not the case early in the third quarter. Eric Kettani broke off a 43-yard run for six to give Navy a double-digit less than four minutes into the second half. The scamper was the longest rush play for a touchdown in the bowl's three-year history.

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Navy Leads, But Edge Could Be Utah's

SAN DIEGO - Surely Navy and interim head coach Ken Niumatalolo is happy to lead Utah at halftime of the Poinsettia Bowl, but a 10-7 score plays into Utah's hands. The Utes are on pace to hold one of the nation's most prolific offenses to nearly half its season average, and though Utah has only seven points to show for it, the offense has sat on the ball nearly 17 of the first 30 minutes.

Continue reading "Navy Leads, But Edge Could Be Utah's" »

Utah Breakthrough

SAN DIEGO - It took over 100 minutes, but finally an opposing offense found paydirt against a suddently stingy Navy defense. Utah broke the scoreless tie with a clock-consuming, rush-heavy drive that culminated in a Darrell Mack two-yard scoring jaunt on third down.

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Poinsettia Bowl First Quarter

SAN DIEGO - Uncharacteristic mistakes were the story of a scoreless first quarter. Navy started off with a bang when Reggie Campbell returned the kickoff 39 yards, which was the first of a specatular play bookend. The Midshipmen also ended the quarter in style with Campbell rushing for 44 yards. That Mids' opening drive stalled out about where it started, however.

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Poinsettia Bowl Kick-Off

SAN DIEGO - An offensive juggernaut and one of the top 40 defenses in the nation: Navy and Utah could not be any more different on the stat sheet, but tonight each has the same goal -- win the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl.

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October 20, 2007

Trojan dominance complete

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame tried to avoid the shutout, but came up short. USC won 38-0 and looked like a BCS contender for the first time in a month. While the team and band celebrate in the corner of the field, the Notre Dame band is playing the Notre Dame Victory March, which sounds a lot more pleading than it does confident these days.

This was a defeat of historic proportions for the Irish...

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Rough crowd - what's left of it

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A Bronx cheer went up from the student section when Armando Allen rushed for a first down a moment ago. It was Notre Dame's first first down of the half.

Hey! Where's everybody going?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame fans have begun streaming for the exit with just under 12 minutes to go and their team trailing 31-0. This is yet one more thing I have never seen before, but Notre Dame hasn't been 1-7 before either. At least not in my lifetime.

Make that 38-0 on a Joe McKnight run off tackle. Now, you'd think the place was on fire.

And the hits just keep on comin'

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The third quarter was yet another disaster for the Irish, starting with the fumble by Thomas and ending with a generous spot by an official that gave USC a first down.

When USC had the ball, they ran it down their throats and threw it over the top. On defense, they delivered hit after hit, especially on Evan Sharpley, who was sacked three times, including one where nose tackle Sedrick Ellis jumped up and landed on Sharpley's shoulder pads.

USC outgained Notre Dame 130-0 in the quarter.

The Trojans seem pretty committed to the ground game right now, so Pete Carroll may have called off the dogs.

Between quarters, a Delta jet flew low, right past the north end of the stadium. It was close enough that we could see what the passengers were eating (peanuts). I don't remember the stadium being in a flight path before.

Smashmouth football in the passing game

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - You might not think a 48-yard touchdown pass qualifies as smashmouth football, but this one did. After two tough runs up the middle, Vidal Hazelton was left uncovered down the left sideline and caught the ball around the 25. He cut back inside, stiff-armed one defender, spun, stiff-armed another defender and dove into the end zone for the score. USC now leads 31-0 with most of nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Hazelton, by the way, is one of two #7s that started for USC today. The other is CB Cary Harris. Did USC retire all their numbers?

Big hittin' early

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Trojan defense came to hit in the second half. On the first play after the kickoff, they gang-sacked Evan Sharpley, which was the second sack of the day for USC. On the second play, Cary Harris stuck Travis Thomas hard right after he caught the ball, causing a fumble, which USC recovered. Two plays later, it was 24-0.

Which reminds me that I need to make a slight correction to an earlier report. I said USC had two sacks at halftime, but the official stats only show one. One of the plays I assumed was a sack is a rush for negative yards in the stats. On that play, Sharpley dropped back to pass, was flushed from the pocket, scrambled and tackled two yards short of the line of scrimmage. In the pros, that's a sack, but I guess it isn't in college.

More of the same for ND

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - USC drove down for a field goal with 11 seconds left in the half to give the Trojans a 17-0 lead at the break.

Evan Sharpley hasn't been living up to his name in the first half. He was 6-16 for only 41 yards before USC conceded three underneath completions at the end of the half. As those numbers indicate, he hasn't been terribly accurate. He's faced some pretty good pressure, even though the Trojans only have two sacks. He seems to be rushing throws even when he's not under fire, which is not terribly uncommon phenomenon for quarterbacks facing a lot of heat.

Not surprisingly, Notre Dame isn't getting much going on the ground either. The Irish only have 22 yards on 10 carries in the first half. They are playing today without James Aldridge, who hurt his leg last week.

After a rough start, Matt Sanchez has acquitted himself reasonably well for USC. He's 18-32 for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

The Trojan band is on the field. Nobody cares because the Song Girls are out there too.

What's a fair catch?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Tom Zbikowski waved off his teammates on a punt that was going to bounce short, but when it hopped right to him, he grabbed it and took off running. The refs stopped the play though saying he called for fair catch.

I wonder if we got the same refs they had at Connecticut last night. There, a UConn player called for a fair catch, caught the ball and ran it for a touchdown while Louisville's players stood there in shock.

You wouldn't think the fair catch rule would be so difficult to enforce.

Methodical march

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Time for the Trojan band to break out that march. That's what their team just did to the Irish - march down the field. They 79 yards in 10 plays for a 14-0 lead.

Up until this drive, the Notre Dame defense had done a decent job of getting off the field. USC would get a first down or two, but eventually, the drive would stall.

Notre Dame's offense is also doing a good job getting off the field. The Irish only have 51 yards and two first downs with just under 4 minutes left in the half.

-15 yard punt, no return

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame made its own break in the punt game on a play I haven't seen before. David Bruton broke through the middle and, while diving to make the block, actually caught the ball right after it came off the punter's foot. That set the Irish up at the USC 29.

However, because this is Notre Dame, they went three-and-out, giving up a sack along the way, and then their field goal attempt was blocked.

USC has now sacked Sharpley twice and hit him hard a few other times. Still, I've seen worse pressure on ND quarterbacks this year than he is getting today.

Unluck of the Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A USC punt turned into the first big break of the game when a punt hit Notre Dame's Munir Prince in the back. Vincent Joseph pounced on it at the Irish 6 for USC and one play later, Sanchez hit TE Fred Davis for the score.

USC is having success throwing the ball in the flats and getting the receivers one-on-one with the Irish linebackers and DBs.

A big kick return by freshman Armando Allen has the Irish faithful excited and the offense in Trojan territory.

Trying too hard to get McKnight involved

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - USC's second offensive possession was going great until the Trojans tried a little too hard to get freshman Joe McKnight involved. Three plays had USC in Irish territory, but then they like up McKnight at tailback and gave it to him twice on runs between the tackles, which he kind of shied away from. Notre Dame wasn't fooled at all. He lost three yards on those plays and USC was eventually forced to punt once again.

While USC was on the field, Evan Sharpley was warming up behind the Notre Dame bench, which you don't usually see someone who is already in the game doing unless they're checking for a potential injury.

Another thing you don't usually see is two guys who play a lot wearing the same number. McKnight wears #4 for USC, but so does starting strong safety Kevin Ellison.

USC off to rocky start

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - About the only thing the Trojans offense did right on the first possession was not turn the ball over.

After a good kick return set them up at the 42, a run by Chauncey Washington went nowhere and then Matt Sanchez was forced to call a time out because his formation was wrong.

That was followed by an incompletion, a false start penalty and a 14-yard gain on 3rd and 15.

Sanchez brought them to the line to go for it on fourth down and when USC lined up, Notre Dame was still scrambling to get guys in position. Instead of snapping the ball and falling forward for a first down, Sanchez delayed and by the time he got the ball snapped, Pete Carroll called USC's second timeout from the bench.

Then, they punted.

That's not exactly the kind of start you want on the road against a fired up and undermanned opponent.

Please have your pencils and scorecards handy

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - We've just been given the lineup changes for USC. Baker is out, replaced by freshman Butch Lewis. Also, Brian Cushing will start at LB after missing five games with an ankle injury.

Our pregame ceremony included half a dozen parachutists landing on the field...

Continue reading "Please have your pencils and scorecards handy" »

USC injury update

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - RB Stafon Johnson was out with the team during warmups and participated in the drills. OT Sam Baker was nowhere to be seen.

USC-ND Pregame Thoughts

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - When these teams last met here in South Bend, USC came from behind to beat the Irish 31-28 when Matt Leinart completed a fourth down pass to Dwayne Jarrett for 61 yards, which set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Leinart that is now known as the "Bush Push."

Getting that close to the Trojans now seems like a pipe dream.

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September 15, 2007

The first wave of the season

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - With six minutes left in the third quarter, the Michigan student section has decided the game is over. They've started the wave.

It's the first time this season the Big House has seen the heralded wave, usually started in the third quarter of blowout games.

Ryan Mallett just complemented the wave with a touchdown strike to Mario Manningham, open in the back of the end zone. It was a 13-yard pass that finished off a 79-yard drive.

Michgan 38, Notre Dame 0.

September 08, 2007

Nittany Lions Dominate In Happy Valley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Beaver Stadium was being referred to as the "White House" and if we continue with that theme then on Saturday night Penn State linebacker Dan Connor was the Commander in Chief.
Connor anchored a stingy Penn State defense that led the Nittany Lions to an impressive 31-10 victory over Notre Dame in front of 110,078 fans, the vast majority of which were wearing white.

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Insult To Injury

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Today was not Jimmy Clausen's best day. He orchestrated a successful drive late in the fourth quarter but threw an interception in the endzone to stall the drive. Penn State's Justin King secured the interception. There is under six minutes to go in the game.

Fans Pack the "White House"

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Today's attendance was announced as 110,078, the second largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. The vast majority of the energetic crowd wore white to the game.

Icing On The Cake

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State adds to its lead with an Austin Scott touchdown run that culminated a 10-play drive. The Nittany Lions now have a commanding 31-10 lead with 7:40 remaining. There is little hope for Jimmy Clausen and Notre Dame.

End Of The Third

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Time is running out for the Irish. They start the fourth quarter down 24-10 and Penn State has the ball in Notre Dame territory.

Starting To Pull Away

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A 1-yard touchdown leap by Austin Scott gives Penn State its biggest lead of the game. The Nittany Lions now lead 24-10 with 4:47 remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown was set up by a beautiful 51-yard pass completion from Anthony Morelli to receiver Chris Bell. It is still early but the way Notre Dame has been struggling on offense, this 14-point lead may be insurmountable.

Irish Settle For Three

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Notre Dame's offensive woes continue. Given amazing field position the Fighting Irish could only muster a field goal. Penn State now leads 17-10 with 8:16 left in the third quarter.

Back In The Game

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Just like that Notre Dame has a glimmer of hope. Punt returner Tom Zbikowski, who has already forced two fumbles today, returned a Penn State punt to the Penn State 7-yard line. Can Clausen and Notre Dame capitalize?

Nothing Doin'

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Notre Dame is stuck in reverse. The Fighting Irish could not answer Penn State and for the seventh time tonight were forced to punt. Once again, Notre Dame went three and out.

Jump Start

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Nittany Lions quickly added to their lead with a 37-yard field goal by Kevin Kelly with 13:13 left in the third qaurter to give Penn State a 17-7 lead. The field goal was set up by speedy kick returner A.J. Wallace who returned the kickoff 68 yards, much to the liking of the Penn State crowd. Notre Dame will have to get busy if it wants to come back against Penn State.

14-7 At Half

For the first time tonight the rowdy Penn State student section can sit down - because it's halftime. They can relax happy knowing that their Nittany Lions have a 14-7 lead at halftime despite three turnovers.

Continue reading "14-7 At Half" »

Dropping the Ball

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - For the third time tonight, Penn State has turned the ball over. This time Anthony Morelli fumbled and gave Notre Dame the ball at Penn State's 44-yard line. The Penn State defense has forced Notre Dame to go three and out twice in a row and Clausen has been constantly pressured in the pocket.

Lions Take The Lead

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State takes the lead with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Morelli to Jordan Norwood. Kevin Kelly kicked the extra point to make it a 14-7 Nittany Lion lead with 6:37 left in the half. Morelli and the Penn State offense seem to have relaxed and settled into a groove. Can Jimmy Clausen and Fighting Irish answer?

Pick Six

STATE COLLEGE, Penn - The Irish strike first. Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls returned an Anthony Morelli interception for a touchdown with 8:23 left in the first quarter. The Fighting Irish steal momentum and take a 7-0 lead. Prior to the touchdown, Notre Dame got the ball first and drove down the field with ease but kicker Nate Whitaker missed a 50-yard field goal. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen looked steady in his first drive and completed five passes but they were all of the screen variety and he never looked down the field. The Beaver Stadium crowd contributed to a false start call on the first play of the drive.

Penn State-Notre Dame Preview

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - We are about 15 minutes from kickoff in Happy Valley and there is a truly electric atmosphere inside and outside of Beaver Stadium. A raucous crowd of well over 100,000 fans is expected and legions of Penn State fans wearing white for the "white out" of Beaver Stadium have already begun to take their seats and cheer. The hostile atmosphere does not bode well for Notre Dame's true freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who is making his first career start. The venue couldn't be much tougher for Clausen and he will also have to deal with Dan Connor, Justin King and a tough Penn State defense.

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September 07, 2007

Rice Makes Nice

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Ray Rice is amassing quite a lot of milestones in his career at Rutgers - in fact, on the first series of plays tonight he became Rutgers' all-time leading rusher - but after the second game of his junior season, Rice actually accomplished a career first in the Knights' 41-24 win over Navy Friday night.

"It's a lifetime achievement," Rice said of breaking Rutgers' rushing record. "I never really cared about individual awards, but this one means a lot because I did it here at Rutgers Stadium"

The junior running back rushed 37 times for 176 yards and two TDs in front of 43,514 Scarlet-clad fans, the 3rd biggest crowd in Rutgers history, but it was his other touchdown that was the sweetest. In the first quarter, Rice took a Mike Teel pass 22 yards for a score, notching his first-ever TD catch. In all, Rice finished with 40 yards receiving.

It was the first time since 2003 that anyone rushed for over 150 yards against Navy.

Rice now has 360 yards rushing and 5 TDs in Rutgers' two wins on the season. Mike Teel also had a stellar day, finishing 14-for-19 for 266 and 3 TDs to go with one pick.

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Teel Bombs Kenny

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - No this wasn't a Southpark moment but a Mike Teel 53-yard bomb to Kenny Britt for a score to make it 34-17 Rutgers.

The Knights have seemingly pulled away with 9:05 left in the game.

Teel now has 242 yards and 3 TDs to go with one INT. Britt is his leading receiver with 3 catches for 99 yards and the score. Tiquan Underwood is also having a solid game with 5 catches for 80 yards.

For the Mids, Enhada has now thrown 4 completions and 3 interceptions. Not the greatest of ratios, if you ask me. Right now he is 4-for-10 for 32 yards.

Good Knight?

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Well, Navy started the second half least.

The Mids started the second half with a seven play, 67-yard drive that took 2:41 off the clock and resulted in a QB keeper by Enhada for a score to make it 24-14 Rutgers.

Mike Teel was then picked off by Navy's Ketric Buffin, his 3rd pick in his past 5 games and the 2nd this season, that gave Navy 1st and 10 on the Rutgers' 22 yard line.

But that is when the Navy bubble burst. Last season the Mids had four interceptions all season long, today they have three as Enhada threw another pick, the most in his career and the most by a Navy QB since 2000 agains Tulane, as Courtney Greene got a diving pick in the back of the endzone to give Rutgers the ball back and quiet the Navy drive.

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All Rice And Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Amazingly enough, Ray Rice has never scored a receiving touchdown. It seems the theme of the night is, he has now.

With 34 seconds left in the half, from 22 yards out, Rice took a Mike Teel pass to the house for his first career receiving TD to make the score at halftime 24-7 Rutgers.

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I'm Calling Him Enhada

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Navy junior QB from Hawaii has never thrown two picks in the same game.

He has now.

Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada - I won't spell that out again - threw two terrible passes to no Navy player imparticular. And apparently that is the first time any Navy QB has thrown two picks in a game since 2005, against, coincidentally, Rutgers.

With 46 seconds left in the half, Rutgers is driving again.

Injuries For Navy

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Navy suffered two big injuries already tonight.

I've already reported that senior safety Jeff Deliz is out for the game with a left leg injury.

Now, it is being reported that junior linebacker Clint Sovie has also been lost for the game with a left ankle injury.

And after another Rutgers scoring drive, a field goal that saw the Knights go 51 yards in 12 plays, including eight in which Ray Rice touched the football--seemingly a good idea for Rutgers to give him the ball every play.

With 8:00 left in the first half, Rice has 13 attempts for 69 yards and a TD to go with two catches for 18 yards.

Too Easy Ray

PISCATAWAY, NJ -- Ray Rice isn't wasting any time for Rutgers.

He quickly became the school's all-time leading rusher on the first series of plays. Now, after scoring a TD, with 4:58 left in the 1st quarter, he moves into 5th place on the school's all-time rushing TD list with 29.

Navy safety Jeff Deliz is likely out for the game with a leg injury.

Rice's TD was from 4 yards out. He rushed right, redireted, bounced off the Navy line and found paydirt in the endzone. It was as pretty as a 4-yard rush could be.

Continue reading "Too Easy Ray" »

RU-Navy: Rutgers Red

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Scarlet Knights have come out fired up.

After pinning the Mids deep in their own territory, the Knights D held and forced a punt.

That punt was either tipped or the pressure caused a poor punt as the Knights rushed the kicker. Rutgers got the ball back in Navy territory on the 40.

Continue reading "RU-Navy: Rutgers Red" »

RU-Navy: Welcome...A Little Late

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Welcome to the State University of New Jersey, AKA Rutgers, AKA the most inaccessible stadium in the country.

Anyway, after parking fiasco after parking fiasco, your man from She's On Fire is on the move at Run And Shoot.

And we only missed one series of plays.

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September 01, 2007

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...

Continue reading "One team is ramblin', the other's a wreck" »

Grade A Choice

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Tashard Choice picked up another 59 yards on the latest Georgia Tech touchdown drive. The drive ended with Choice going up the middle 7 yards for the score. Choice now has 196 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries.

This followed a three-and-out by the Irish, during which Sharpley was hit hard once on a sack and after he threw on another play. The Irish offensive line is having a lot of problems with Tech's blitzes in particular. It seems like Sharpley is having to dodge three or four guys every time he drops back.

Irish on the board

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Evan Sharpley started the second half for Notre Dame and was pretty efficient leading the team down the field for what ended up being a disappointing field goal.

Sharpley, when given time, threw the ball well, completing 5 of 6 on the drive. He converted two third downs and a fourth down on the drive. He even completed a pass after fumbling on a fake handoff.

Running the ball still isn't working because Tech is getting great penetration against the Irish line. That's what makes the final play call of the drive so baffling. On 3rd and inches at the 2, Notre Dame handed off to Travis Thomas off tackle and he lost four yards. That play lost yardage the previous two times they ran it on that drive. That forced ND to take the three points.

I expect we'll continue to see Sharpley as long as it's still working.

Georgia Tech right tackle AJ Smith injured his elbow and is out for the game.

Bennett trying to keep Irish in it

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Taylor Bennett's accuracy issues are keeping Notre Dame's fading hopes alive. When he saw Greg Smith open in the end zone, he got so excited that he overthrew him by 15 yards. That's the second time he's done that today. On the next play, a short pass to a wide open James Johnson only got about 3/4 of the way there.

Tech ended up settling for the fourth Travis Bell FG of the game and leads 19-0.

Ugly half for ND

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - If the first half is any indication, it could be a long year for Notre Dame.

Demetrius Jones was ineffective at quarterback. He only completed 1-3 passes for 4 yards and had only 28 yards rushing on 12 carries.

The switch to Sharpley worked for two plays, which were completed passes for nine yards. After that, he took a beating on some delayed blitzes that the line didn't pick up.

In fact, Jones was under a lot of duress when he tried to pass also. Notre Dame's line is being bamboozled, and sometimes just manhandled by Georgia Tech. The Irish weren't even pretending to mount a passing game in the first half, but the run wasn't doing much either.

When the Irish have done some good things, they have shot themselves in the foot to make up for it. The most egregious error was Brown's penalty and ejection after the Irish stopped Georgia Tech on third down. That turned out to be a seven point mistake.

Tech was also very committed to the run early, and that is still the bread-and-butter for the Yellow Jackets. Tashard Choice had 16 carries for 110 yards and a score in the first half and he's been the best player on the field by far. Choice has now gone over 100 yards for the eighth straight game, a Georgia Tech record.

The Jackets will be without safety Joe Gaston in the second half after he went out with an injured hamstring. CB Jahi Word-Daniels left with a head injury and may yet return.

The only thing injured on the Irish sideline is their pride. We'll see what they have in the second half, which will start with Tech receiving the kick.

Trying to get sharper

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Evan Sharpley has entered the game at QB for the Irish with 2:38 to go. Notre Dame wasn't even attempting to mount a passing attack with Jones in the game, but with the two-minute drill on, it was time to switch.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Justin Brown of Notre Dame was just ejected for a blow to the head after the play. Brown, a senior, committed the infraction after the Irish had stopped Tech on a 3rd down play. The guy sitting next to me just said what I was thinking: I wouldn't want to be Brown in practice this week.

Two plays later, Tashard Choice goes around end 22 yards for a TD. GT leads 16-0.

My how things have changed

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - With 8:50 to go in the half, Notre Dame has just completed its first pass of the game (on only two attempts). Brady Quinn's records appear to be safe.

Ringing the Bell

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Notre Dame defense stopped Georgia Tech all the way out at the Irish 23, but Travis Bell hit his 3rd FG of the game to make the score 9-0.

In spite of a bad case of greasy fingers, Jones is still quarterbacking the Irish.

Line of the day

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Following the play-by-play on the internet, the last fumble by Demetrius Jones read like this:

"D. Jones rushed up the middle for no gain. D. Jones fumbled. D. Jones recovered fumble and returned for 12 yards"

It was recovered by DJ Jones of Georgia Tech and returned to the ND 45.

A flag on the play was picked up because the ref who threw it meant to throw his beanbag, but grabbed the wrong thing.

Getting some answers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - One quarter in and we're getting some early answers to our questions.

ND starting QB?: Demetrius Jones. He's been the only one out there so far.

Can ND replace other skill position players?: So far, not much happening in the running game and the passing game has been a big zero.

Is the Irish defense better?: It's been a wall from its own 10-yard line in. The other 90 yards are still a problem. Tech has had three series and on the first play of those series, they have a total of 55 yards and five plays of double-digit yardage.

How about Taylor Bennett: He got off to a slow start, but completed three passes on the last drive. He missed two possible TD passes though. One he overthrew badly and one he threw to the wrong guy.

A blocked FG attempt has kept the game 6-0 at the first quarter break.

Passing on passing

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Both teams have decided to stick to the running game so far. Each team has attempted only one pass and neither was completed.

Tech took over at Notre Dame's 48 after a shanked punt and, just like last time, marched right down to the Irish 10 before stalling and kicking a field goal.

Highly touted freshman QB Josh Nesbitt came in for one play on that drive. He faked and handoff and ran up the middle for no gain.

The Yellow Jacket's offense has more a a rhythm so far. Notre Dame is struggling to get anything going and the crowd is pretty much out of the game.

This one counted

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The second time Jones dropped back to pass for the Irish, he panicked in the face of the rush and got careless with the ball. Jamal Lewis knocked the ball loose and Tech recovered at the Irish 32.

Tech RB Tashard Choice went for 22 yards on the first play, putting him over 2000 for his career. He is the ninth Tech RB to reach that mark.

The Irish defense stiffened after that play forcing Tech to settle for a FG and leads 3-0.

Someone behind me is struggling with the "No Cheering in the Press Box" rule. Actually, that implies an effort to comply, which isn't really happening.

After further review...

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -The fumble was overturned by replay, so Notre Dame kept the ball, and as expected, Demetrius Jones led the Irish onto the field.

The review gave those of us in the press box to catch the end of the App St-Michigan game. I think the replay ref was watching that game too.

Is there something going on here?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - We're sitting in the press box at Notre Dame completely oblivious to what's going on beyond the glass because we all have our faces pressed into our computers tracking Appalachian State's upset attempt of Michigan. I think this game is about to start, but nobody here cares.

We thought we were about to find out who the Irish QB would be, but they fumbled the kick, so Tech starts at the ND 29.

More questions than answers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - With the opening of the 2007 season about an hour away for Georgia Tech and Notre Dame, We find that both teams have a lot more questions than answers right now...

Continue reading "More questions than answers" »


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