BY SHANNON O’KEEFE
NOTRE DAME INSIDER
Two offensive touchdowns and positive yardage may not add up to a win, but it does soften the blow for Fighting Irish fans in what has begun to feel like the longest September ever. In Saturday’s match up against Michigan State, which the Irish dropped 31-14 en route to their sixth consecutive loss, Spartan quarterback Brian Hoyer threw four touchdown passes. By contrast, the Irish quarterback was only sacked four times – something to take note of, given that 23 sacks were allowed in the first three games of the season, and that Michigan State was leading the nation in sacks coming in to the game.
When did it get to the point that only being down by three points at the half was something to be celebrated by Irish faithful? Probably around the same time they realized the team would likely roll to an 0-8 start, despite the fact that no team in Notre Dame’s 119 season history has been 0-4 before. Despite the fact that as Michigan State went on to their own record – the first team in the nation to win six in a row at Notre Dame Stadium – the Irish were thought to be improving and not looking quite as pitiful as they have in weeks prior.
That being said, there were a few highlights, most notably sophomore halfback James Aldridge’s performance, with 18 carries for 104 yards, including a 43-yard run that led to a touchdown. Still, the Irish are going to have a hard time coming up with enough clips for the highlight reel shown to national television audiences and starry-eyed recruits. Did you notice that NBC’s intro to Saturday’s game showed more Irish players running than catching/throwing/tackling? That’s a problem Notre Dame and NBC will likely face for the next season or two. While Aldridge’s run may end up there, one or two decent plays a game just won’t be enough.