On Saturday, Notre Dame and Clemson faced off in what was arguably the most anticipated college game of the season. As a Notre Dame fan, I was very nervous watching this game. There are a lot of emotions when you watch ND take on a top 5 team, let alone the number 1 team in the country. They jumped out to a big 23-13 lead at half but knowing Clemson you knew it wasn’t over, and it was far from it.
Ian Book earned all the respect on Saturday. I already loved Book, but I know a lot Irish nation had their doubts about the senior captain. But the facts are there, Ian Book wins games! Let’s repeat: Ian Book wins games!
At the end of games, I want Ian Book to lead a team down 7 with two minutes left to go 80 yards and that’s exactly what he did in the fourth quarter. Outside of Ian Book, Kyren Williams is starting to become an elite college running back. He finished with 140 yards and 3 TDs with two of them coming in OT. That’s just huge.
But outside of Book and Williams, ND looked very flawed in certain areas. None bigger than their poor defensive performance. The last 4 years, ND is known whether they are good or bad for two things: their offensive line being elite and their defense being elite. The offensive line held up, but the defense looked terrible. DJ Uiagalelei, starting in place of Trevor Lawrence, was throwing all over the ND defense like they weren’t even there. I mean he finished with 439 yards and 2 TDs. Remind you, this is his only second start. This kid is going to be a stud, and he is going to continue to carry Clemson for years to come after Lawrence leaves.
But, as an elite defense like ND, you can’t get lit up like that against a freshman. Which makes me a little weary if this team can compete with them again when Lawrence is playing. I think I’m going to lean yes. But the defense needs to step up when they meet again.
As much as I love ND, they are still so far away from being an Alabama or Clemson. If Book was hurt and they had to rely on a freshman QB, that game would have been a shit show. Like the talent gap is there. Doesn’t mean they can’t win it all, but they have to play a near perfect game and have everything going for them to beat one of these elite teams.
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