Notre Dame bye week breakdown: what we know through 4 games

What do you KNOW about this Notre Dame team 1/3 of the way through the regular season?

As is often the case when discussing Notre Dame football, how you feel about the Marcus Freeman led Irish after his first month at the helm depends much upon your perspective and what lens you choose to view things from.

Certainly there are justifiable reasons for concern in the short term such as the lack of collective production out of the wide receiver group or the entirety of the Marshall game debacle. At the same time there are justified reasons for optimism in the long term after the impressive offensive performance the Irish delivered in Chapel Hill last week and the resolve the team has shown after a rough start to the season .

While there is much nuance to navigate and grey area to ponder when analyzing the infancy stage of the Freeman era, I do feel that there are some knowns that we can count on as we transition into the second phase of the season.

Let’s discuss them.

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College football in a hurricane: Notre Dame tries throwing 31 times in middle of literal hurricane

What is your pick for all-time most memorable “weather game” in Notre Dame history?

This week ESPN’s “College Gameday” travels to Clemson, South Carolina for a battle between a couple of unbeaten squads as the host Tigers take on North Carolina State.  Notre Dame is off for their bye this week but with the weather that is expected it’s seemingly fitting from a Fighting Irish fan’s perspective that these two are meeting up.

Hurricane Ian is making landfall on Wednesday on Florida’s gulf coast and with it is bringing an incredible amount of rain and dangerously high winds.  In all seriousness, far beyond the importance of a silly football game this weekend or from years ago now, all the best to those having to evacuate or ride this thing out.

Clemson playing host to North Carolina State on Saturday will be played in what should be a ridiculous amount of rain and probably wind, too.  With it being at Clemson it brings back memories for Notre Dame fans as in 2015, the unbeaten Fighting Irish and Tigers met in Clemson and played a classic while being poured on by the rains from Hurricane Joaquin.

We looked back at that memorable night with photos here.

For Notre Dame fans it also brings back memories of one of the ugliest games in Notre Dame football history, the 2016 game at North Carolina State as the rains from Hurricane Matthew took a toll on the east coast.

The game was only memorable for all the wrong reasons, especially for Notre Dame.  Brian Kelly’s questionable game plan that afternoon called for 31 passes (five of which resulted in sacks) in conditions that featured a constant downpour as well as wind gusts north of 50 miles per hour.

It’s no surprise that the teams combined to throw for less than 100 yards and the only touchdown came on a botched punt.

Said [autotag]Brian Kelly[/autotag] after the 10-3 defeat, “I think it was pretty evident to me that we were in need of throwing the football when we did throw it. We just weren’t as effective as I thought we could be.”

That one is still mind-numbing six years after the fact.

Perhaps it would have been wise to have pushed that one back a few weeks.

Then again, would anyone really look back on this meeting had it been played in sunny conditions?

Enjoy some incredible photos below from perhaps the most infamous weather game in the long history of Notre Dame football.

College football in a hurricane: Notre Dame-Clemson from 2015

Did someone say hurricane levels of rain on a Saturday at Clemson?

This week ESPN’s “College Gameday” travels to Clemson, South Carolina for a battle between a couple of unbeaten squads as the host Tigers take on North Carolina State.  Notre Dame is off for their bye this week but with the weather that is expected it’s seemingly fitting from a Fighting Irish fan’s perspective that these two are meeting up.

Hurricane Ian is making landfall on Wednesday on Florida’s gulf coast and with it is bringing an incredible amount of rain and dangerously high winds.  In all seriousness, far beyond the importance of a silly football game this weekend or from years ago now. all the best to those having to evacuate or ride this thing out.

Clemson playing host to North Carolina State on Saturday will be played in what should be a ridiculous amount of rain and probably wind, too.  With it being at Clemson it brings back memories for Notre Dame fans as in 2015, the unbeaten Fighting Irish and Tigers met in Clemson and played a classic while being poured on by the rains from Hurricane Joaquin.  It also brings back memories of one of the ugliest games in Notre Dame football history, the 2016 hurricane game at North Carolina State, something we also took a look back on.

Thanks to costly Notre Dame turnovers it looked like most of the night that Clemson was going to run the Irish out of the building.  Stretching their lead to 21-3 just after halftime, the rout was seemingly on.

However, Notre Dame mounted a comeback by dominating the fourth quarter and a touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Torii Hunter, Jr. with just seven seconds left brought the Irish within two.  Brian Kelly called a Kizer designed run to the outside for the two-point conversion try that was stopped and with that, Clemson escaped with the 24-22 victory.

Take a look back at that memorable but heartbreaking night in Clemson below:

Notre Dame offensive lineman named Campbell Trophy Semifinalist

Great to see!

IRVING, Texas – University of Notre Dame senior offensive lineman [autotag]Josh Lugg[/autotag] was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy. The William V. Campbell trophy is presented to a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, keeping a grade point average above the 3.2 mark, displays outstanding football ability, as well as exemplary school and community leadership.

Lugg, a starter at right guard on the offensive line in 2022, graduated with his undergraduate degree in the fall of 2020 and is studying for his masters of science in business analytics with a concentration in sports analytics. He was a 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, and was named to the 2020 ACC Academic Honor Roll.

Through his playing career, he’s played in 51 games, starting 23. Prior to the start of the 2022 season, he was named to the 2022 Outland Trophy Award Watch List. He played a pivotal role in helping running back Kyren Williams rush for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, and played on an offensive line unit that won the Joe Moore Award in 2017, and was a finalist during the 2020 season. In his career, Lugg has earned starts at right tackle, center and has taken over at right guard for his final season.

The Fighting Irish have advanced to two College Football Playoffs during Lugg’s time with Notre Dame. Additionally, the Irish have played in the Fiesta Bowl (2021), Camping World Bowl (2019) and Citrus Bowl (2017).

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Notre Dame assistant named as Georgia Tech possibility

Who should Georgia Tech make their top priority?

Georgia Tech became the third team to fire their head coach since the 2022 college football season started when they fired Geoff Collins on Monday.  Some have stated that Deion Sanders deserve a long, hard look from Jackson State, but if it isn’t him, who might it be for the once-proud Yellow Jackets?

Pete Thamel, ESPN’s college football version of Adrain Wojnarowski, listed 17 names of possible candidates to be the new Georgia Tech head coach and one of them is a Notre Dame assistant coach.

No, not that Notre Dame assistant.

Al Golden, the Temple coach from 2006-10 and Miami head man from 2011-2015, was among those named.  Golden went a combined 59-59 between those two stops before landing in the NFL as a defensive assistant.

Joining Golden on Thamel’s list were these 16 others, several of which you’ll notice are offensive assistants from right up the street:

  • Thomas Brown — Los Angeles Rams TE coach
  • Troy Calhoun — Air Force HC
  • Jamey Chadwell — Coastal Carolina HC
  • Bill Clark — Former UAB HC
  • George Godsey Baltimore Ravens TE coach
  • Alex Grinch — USC DC
  • Charles Huff — Marshall HC
  • Brent Key — Interim Georgia Tech HC
  • Sean Lewis — Kent State HC
  • Bryan McClendon — Georgia WR coach
  • Dell McGee — Georgia RB coach
  • Bronco Mendenhall — Former Virginia HC
  • Jeff Monken — Army HC
  • Todd Monken — Georgia OC
  • Bill O’Brien — Alabama OC
  • Kane Wommack — South Alabama HC

In case you are wondering, yes, George Godsey is the older brother of former Notre Dame quarterback-tight end [autotag]Gary Godsey[/autotag] who one did enough to help Notre Dame beat a [autotag]Drew Brees[/autotag]-led Purdue team.

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Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees named to Herbstreit’s top performing coaches of Week 4

How impressed were you with Tommy Rees on Saturday?

All too often in life we go around searching for someone to blame for something.  Instead of it being a collective failure, it has to fall on one person.  One scapegoat, if you will.

That one person seemed to be offensive coordinator [autotag]Tommy Rees[/autotag] after the first three weeks of struggles for the Fighting Irish offense but before their 45-32 dismantling of North Carolina.  It turns out Notre Dame fans weren’t the only ones giving praise to Rees for the offensive breakout but that [autotag]Kirk Herbstreit[/autotag] took note as well, listing the former Notre Dame signal caller as one of his top performing coaches in all of college football for Week 4.

Notre Dame’s offense scored six touchdowns, nearly a seventh before a goal line fumble, and totaled 576 yards on the afternoon.

Rees was one of seven coaches mentioned by Herbstreit as he actually ranked second for the weekend.  See the seven Herbstreit ranked in order below:

Notre Dame football is ‘just who we are’

There wasn’t a certain moment that John decided to be a Notre Dame football fan, it just kind of happened like it does for many like him…

It’s not a choice, it’s just who we are. Hundreds of times in my life I’ve used this phrase either in person or in type in response to the same question. Why Notre Dame, John? And why love it so intensely?

It’s just who I am. I didn’t choose it on a whim or a hot run of late 1980’s Notre Dame football. To families like mine, South Side Chicago Suburban Irish Catholics, Notre Dame football is just an inherent way of life. Watching “Rudy” was a part of the curriculum twice a year in school. We wanted to be Notre Dame players for Halloween every year, not ghosts or goblins. We waited for the recruiting magazine to hit the front stoop like we were 7 year olds on Christmas morning looking under the tree.

Notre Dame is just different. It doesn’t represent a geographical region like most colleges, it represents folks’ religion, heritage and values. The “Fighting Irish” moniker, once an insult, is now taken as a compliment as a nod to our ancestors’ journey, struggle and rise in America. For so many of us, Notre Dame represents these very personal, deep, meaningful and existential familial tales of struggle and triumph. The football team is the most iconic visual publicly known representation of Notre Dame and we value this entity being respected more than anything else. It’s personal to us, it’s just who we are.

Notre Dame bowl projections following Week 4

Where do you most want the Irish to head this post-season?

After a brutal 0-2 start to the 2022 season, Notre Dame has bounced back with a narrow escape over Cal before thrashing North Carolina this past week.  2-2 might not be where Notre Dame fans expected to be at this point but compared to how things looked a couple short weeks ago, the 2-2 mark is pleasing.

How did the latest Notre Dame win change where prognosticators have the Irish heading this bowl season?  The last few weeks we’ve seen a few baseball stadiums featured as possible landing spots for the Irish but none appear this week.  Is that a sign that things are pointing up for Marcus Freeman and the Irish?

One outlet that hasn’t even had Notre Dame playing in a postseason game the last couple of weeks finally does again this week.  Here are eight different national projections as to what bowl game Notre Dame will play in this year:

ESPN FPI projects remainder of Notre Dame football season

Eight games to go and the Irish are 2-2. How do they finish this fall?

Notre Dame is still just 2-2 on the 2022 season after their dominating performance at North Carolina this weekend but with eight games still to go there is plenty to play for even if the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six are off the table.

Is Notre Dame certain to go bowling at all this year?  How likely are they to win eight or more games?  Both seem a lot more likely following the 45-32 victory in Chapel Hill that can simply be described as better.

I’m in a love-hate relationship with ESPN’s FPI.  I say it almost weekly but it’s true.  It takes emotion out of it’s rankings and uses all mathematical formulas to rank all FBS teams 1-131 weekly.  However, it seems to lack when it comes to teams that manage to regularly find ways to lose or sneak out wins.

The day after: Lasting thoughts on Notre Dame’s win over North Carolina

What still sticks out in your mind?

After a rough first two games the Irish finally righted the ship over the last two weeks. An escape at home against Cal and a very solid road victory should give Marcus Freeman and his team some momentum as they enter the bye week. Yesterday’s 42-35 win was nice, especially on the offensive side. There are still are a few things that stuck out in my mind since the game ended, and here they are.

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Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikeFChen