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Saturday, November 25th 2006

USC v. Notre Dame Open Thread

For when I return from studying…

Until Then Enjoy This Long Running Commercial

Video is H/T The Irish Trojan

*10:10 AM*

Before I go, could this be a “bounce back” week for my Pick’em league? Could I end the season strong? I’m three for three so far (Texas A&M over Texas, LSU over Arkansas, Nebraska over Colorado).

*10:12 AM*

I’ve listed them in the post below, but as a summary these are the keys to the game for the Trojans:

  • Get pressure on Brady Quinn
  • Sure Tackling (When The Pressure Forces Brady Underneath)
  • Balanced Offensive Attack (Don’t Get Obsessed With This Irish Team’s Terrible Pass Coverage)
  • Clock Control (Which Comes With A Balanced Attack & No Turnovers)

And here’s my prediction:

  • USC 35 – Notre Dame 23

*7:41 PM*

We’re two touchdowns into the game before I comment. But man, the Irish are getting rolled. That can change in a minute, don’t be cheering just yet.

Brady Quinn is looking like the emotion is getting to him. Overthrows. Missed receivers. Even though the Trojans are getting some pressure, expect Quinn to calm down and improve.

What bodes worse than the offensive play is how hapless the Irish secondary looks. I mean I know they’re constantly criticized but if they play like this all night then all the criticism will be more than valid.

*7:44 PM*

This might be part of his play script but after trying to go long early, get into a shoot out, Weis seems to have toned down the offense for Brady. Two runs, a short dump pass…make that three runs. Probably just trying to get Brady’s emotions under control.

If those first few shots are any indication Weis actually wants to spread the field and go for the big play often. If he’s waiting for Brady to get under control to go back to that…well, I think it is a mistake.

*8:01 PM*

That field goal really was a victory for the Trojans. Clearly Weis is trying to keep the game short, although Brady took some endzone shots after the 30, to get Brady into the game.

The Trojans are keeping balance in the offensive game. Don’t let the long balls deceive you, it is 9 and 9 right now in terms of pass and run.

We’re having some difficulty pounding the ball in for the touchdown. Chauncey was stuffed, now Booty took it on a bootleg and was stuffed short. Nevermind, there goes Washington in to make it 20 – 3.

*8:15 PM*

Wow, the one thing the Irish cannot do. Turn the ball over. And inside the red zone. Is this 1974 redux, with the roles reversed? That is the one thing the Trojans must worry about. No let downs as we approach the half.

*8:21 PM*

How quickly they’re in it. A blocked punt. Wow. I thought special teams might have been an advantage for the Irish. Expect a “trick” play here to put the ball in the end zone.

*8:22 PM*

Not so much a trick play. But clearly one Brady favors/is comfortable with. The answer of course is for the Trojans to march down the field. Booty must not get so comfortable in the pocket. We must maintain a balance on offense. Do not allow the Irish to get any closer on the scoreboard!!

Currently: USC 21 – Notre Dame 10

*8:26 PM*

What did I say about not cheering? A blocked punt. A touchdown. An interception. The Trojans must hold the Irish here to a field goal or nothing.

*8:30 PM*

That was a bad call by Weis (an option on third and short). But holding the Irish on fourth down is not enough. Now that they have the ball the Trojans, specifically JDB, must do something on this drive.

Oh my. Another interception. Sark and Kiffin need to sit Booty down right now. Sit him down right now.

Well, our defense is playing well still. Although McKnight has dropped some balls without our help (such as that fourth down ball). We need them to come up big again. This momentum could be all ND going into half time.

*8:45 PM*

We’re getting a lot of talk about dropped passes, but especially in the “big play” arena the Trojan defense is playing astounding. Just amazing, and the booth guys have given some nods to that but the half time crew needs to as well. That, at least as much as those two drops, is why the Irish have only 10 points despite their field position at times (also, apparently their field goal kicker sucks).

JDB needs to calm down. If he does that, we will be fine. No matter if we force some Irish turnovers, if we turn the ball over we will have trouble. We cannot continually give them opportunities. That should be the main goal. To keep with a balanced attack, with Booty calm and making throws, and to not turn the ball over.

We are getting pressure on Brady Quinn but in case you forgot (or didn’t know), he’s elusive. Still, it is serving some purpose, forcing him to make throws on the run (never easy) and to throw it before he is set and ready. That is reflected in his completion %, which is also hurt by the very nice defense the secondary is playing on the deep ball. Still, Quinn has proven he has a level head even with all the emotion for this game.

We were playing a balanced attack early. Got into throwing on early downs, got some interceptions. Then tried running it and wasting the clock. We’ll get back to a more balanced attack in the second half.

I’m not terribly concerned. No one should doubt after this first half that we have the more talented team (on both sides of the ball) by a large margin. Despite the black and white nature of the first compared to the second quarter, I actually think the early second half will tell most of the story. USC gets the ball, and it is our offense (so potent in the first quarter) which must regain its composure. It isn’t as if the Irish were playing notably tougher, smarter, or with more skill in the second quarter. USC just got flustered after some missteps. Don’t make those missteps and we will continue to move the ball on Notre dame and put up points.

See you after the break.

*9:02 PM*

Man, the booth crew has a more balanced view of the game. But listening to Lee Corso and Desmond Howard, and to a lesser extent the studio crew for ABC you’d think Notre Dame was ahead in this game!

I know fans take slight at the words of pundits all the time. It just happens. But I really think this is a legitimate observation in this instance. They need glasses.

Then again the Trojans may come out and have a pick returned for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage or something and then they’ll be vindicated. *Knock On Wood*

*9:07 PM*

I know he’s throwing short timing patterns on some of these passes I’m making this complain on, but Booty (as I said in my preview) must stop staring down his first option.

*9:13 PM*

Stud. Need More Be Said?

*9:17 PM*

No better way to start the second half. A balanced, long drive down for a touchdown. What would a stop of Brady & Co. do for the Trojan momentum? Then again we don’t need to get too overzealous (as we did when the first 21 points came so easily).

*9:36 PM*

That was a terrible, godawful challenge. I know Pete is a demigod, but if the fact we only have one time out and it is still the third quarter comes back to bite us, then it is a completely valid criticism of the wonder boy.

He never should’ve made that. And Pete ain’t exactly the best “clock management” guy in D-I.

*9:40 PM*

More success on fourth down. That isn’t good for the Trojans.

Onside kick anyone from Weis? Seems like a good spot for the trickster, and it wouldn’t surprise me. USC needs to watch for it. And with the ball in our hands, go and score. Don’t allow ND any momentum.

*10:09 PM*

I dare now to dream.

I heard a comment once that DJ was a great reciever because he played his best in big games. I dared not to believe he dogged it at other times. But can you refute that comment after this game? 3 touchdowns, amazing catches, 100+ yards. He has been the Trojan offense.

*10:12 PM*

High hit? What an awful call. Even the booth thinks it is a poor call. It really is. You cannot make that call this late in the game, it has to be more definitive.

*10:38 PM*

What a win…and now to the future…

Beat The Bruins!!