Sunday, September 16, 2007

Notre Dame Football in Freefall? Michigan 38, Our Lady (of Sorrows) 0

This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance; Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for this reason I was mercifully treated so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.
(1 Timothy 1:14-16 from today's reading as well as yesterday's reading for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows)

Perhaps it was apropos that this conquest took place on the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, because the Irish (like St. Paul, now the foremost of football "sinners") gave Our Mother much to weep about as they were whipped by the Michigan Wolverines 38-0.

Unlike its first two games, when the Irish defense helped the rest of the team hang in 'til halftime, this one was over by intermission. The offense, with six fumbles, two interceptions and eight sacks allowed, was as inept as ever, but the defense did allow Mike Hart (35-187 yds.) to basically run over them, and also gave up three touchdown throws by Michigan freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett as the Wolverines cruised to a 31-0 halftime lead. And while Notre Dame has more freshmen starters than any season in recent memory, Irish senior center John Sullivan seemed to symbolize the lack of upper class leadership when he snapped the ball over Armando Allen's head on the first play from scrimmage for a 17-yard loss. Notre Dame freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen (11-17, 74 yds.) again showed promise, but after being sacked seven times including a second quarter play in which four Michigan lineman completely flattened him, you wonder if he'll survive the season or end up as a pickle in a linebacker's sandwich.

Weis vowed to bring the Irish (which currently has the worst ranked offense in the country) back to boot camp Sunday, but it will be up to the players (and fans) to respond. They can either take responsibility for their "sins" and keep fighting (and the fans keep patiently praying), or, like Demetrius Jones (who ESPN reported has enrolled at Northern Illinois) quit Notre Dame and seek those so-called "greener" pastures. Demetrius (who is apparently currently enrolled at two universities simultaneously) can, in his youthful confusion, be forgiven, but Northern, in accepting a player that has without explanation ditched his team before a big game cannot, and despite the fact it is a local university less than an hour from my house, I now vow to never root for the NIU Huskies again.

And one final note to Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak (and Michigan's Lloyd Carr); No one, whether in victory or defeat, wears green prouder than the Irish. And Coach Carr, despite Michigan's nickname of "Big Blue," Notre Dame has cornered that color too.

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