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There Goes The Playoff: Notre Dame Suffers Excruciating Loss

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter @LiamFarrell_IT

Via Louisville Football


Notre Dame drops their second loss of the season against #25 ranked Louisville. The Irish failed to convert on a multitude of 3rd downs, along with having two costly turnovers, which killed Notre Dame's college football playoff hopes. The Cardinals did a great job burning clock all night long, and stopping all of Notre Dame's offensive attempts. A Marist Liufau penalty on 3rd and 15 when the Irish had the Cardinals off the field was the final straw. Notre Dame did not deserve to win this game. This is a poorly managed, undisciplined team that simply has had their soul taken away. It is truly sad to see.


Offense


Early Drive Woes. The first couple drives of the game, the Irish offense looked extremely stagnant. Hartman threw his first interception of the season, and then the running game showed promise, but to no big avail. The offense line also shifted early, with Billy Schrauth getting some in game reps at left guard.


The Walk-On. Jordan Faison, welcome to college football. The walk-on wide receiver shined in the light of a thin wide receiver room tonight in Louisville. He is quite shifty and displayed great speed downfield. With his much needed contribution, the Notre Dame offense finally found a spark play for a touchdown.


Pass Blocking. The pass blocking was abysmal. Hartman was on his back plenty of times tonight, and it makes you wonder what was the final factor that had the coaching staff put Schrauth in the game.


Third and Short. The Irish had a tremendously tough time capitalizing on third and short all throughout this game. The offensive line couldn't get any push in the run game, and the Notre Dame offense looked like a high school team in the short yardage game.


Turnovers. If you want to win Top 25 games, you cannot be negative in the turnover game. The Hartman interception was an ill-advised shot while the offense had momentum on the first drive, and on first down. The second fumble was Gerad Parker trying to get too cute, and resulted in the bad turnover in Louisville territory.


Defense


Pass Pressure. The Notre Dame defensive line is continuing to do a good job getting pass pressure as the season progresses. Howard Cross continues to get pressure in the middle, and Javonte Jean-Baptiste got pressure during the game, as well. With Jordan Botehlo out during the first half of the game due to last weeks targeting penalty, it was good to see young players in Josh Burnham and Junior Tuihalamaka get meaningful reps.


Lack of Linebacker Speed. This is a topic that has come up multiple times this season. Marist Liufau continues to not be able to make tackles in space, and Bertrand and Kizer cannot keep up with Top 25 speed. This makes me worry, especially for next week, when the Irish have to deal with legitimate game-changing speed.


Game of Adjustments. After Notre Dame couldn't tackle anything that was in front of them in the first drive of the game, the Irish really did a great job adapting to the RPO natured Louisville offense. The tackling got better throughout the affair in the first half, and Notre Dame was able to get the Louisville offense in multiple 3rd and long attempts.


Penalties. Penalties continue to kill this team. The Marist Liufau penalty on 3rd and 15 absolutely killed the Irish, in an event that led to a Louisville touchdown. Penalties ruined Notre Dame this entire season, and it was no different tonight.





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