This past Saturday, Notre Dame faced Ball State in football for the very first time. I was in attendance and three major things stood out in my mind.
ND’s Wimbush Must Play Better
It’s no secret that Notre Dame has College Football Playoff aspirations, however, consistent quarterback play will be a big factor in all of that. Brandon Wimbush came out and looked solid versus Michigan the week before, he was anything but versus Ball State. Wimbush went 17/31 for 297 but threw 3 picks and no TDs to show for the impressive yardage. He also rushed the ball 11 times for a tune of -7 yards. Notre Dame must have better play or when it comes down to big time competition they will fold, no matter how good the defense is.
Notre Dame has leaned heavily on its defense for about two years now, and it certainly lived up to its name. The Fighting Irish defense against Ball State looked really good and stout, but as they spent more time on the field it then became a “bend but don’t break” approach. For a team that relies so much on its defense, the offense has to do its part and step up to make sure it’s not winded by the time it gets on the field again and can get the takeaways that every Irish fan knows the defense specializes in.
Playing Down to Ball State
Many can admit that the night game against Michigan was a thriller and one that both programs had been looking forward to since the annual rivalry game had been called off. ND almost seemed somewhat punch drunk from the win the week before, and they either toyed with Ball State or simply played down to the competition. Not taking anything away from the Cardinals, they played amazing and a lot of fans were thoroughly impressed as we left Notre Dame stadium, but this cannot happen anymore because if you aren’t bringing your A-game against inferior squads, who knows what’ll happen when November rolls around.
Notre Dame will continue their home stand against Vanderbilt this Saturday, hopefully not playing down to an SEC team that has no business competing with them.