This post probably could have come much earlier in the week, especially since I watched the recording immediately after getting back from South Bend. At any rate, here are my thoughts on the game:
- No matter how sloppy the final score made the game appear, a win is a win is a win, whether it be 21-13, 100-0, or 2-0.
- Jimmy played very well, remarkably improved from last year in fact. His accuracy was reflected by his 62 percent completion percentage (21/34), and it is important to keep in mind that he wasn't merely dumping the ball on screens the whole game. Clausen was given the ability to toss the ball downfield, a trend I hope to see carried into this week's matchup vs. Michigan.
- We did not, as Charlie referenced the Irish running game this season, "pound it." This is a big concern amongst many Irish faithful wishing to see a power game a la the Lou Holtz years. I, however, am not too concerned, as long as there is enough of a balance between passing and running plays to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
- Duval Kamara did not play up to his potential. The first interception was almost entirely his fault, as he tried to trap the ball against his pads rather than using his hands. I'm not sure how I feel about the second INT, but it looked like there was some miscommunication between Clausen and Kamara. Chalk it up to being the first game of the year.
- Our defense performed well as a whole, and I was impressed by the pressure they put on the SDSU offense. They only had one sack to show for it, but there were a multitude of tipped balls, hurries, and other forced errors.
- Staying on the defensive side, we need to learn to cover draw plays better. I know that the purpose of a draw is catch the defense off guard when they're thinking pass, but we let SDSU off the hook several times on draw plays that went for first downs.
- The o-line played ok. Not great, not bad. The best thing about their play was that they kept the white jerseys away from Jimmy. No sacks? Awesome.
- Mike Anello deserved his scholarship. The kid is a force on special teams and will put the Irish in good situations all season long if he continues his stellar play.
- The game could have been 40-0. SDSU's second play from scrimmage was clearly a backwards lateral, which Brian Smith alertly picked up and returned into the end zone. Too bad it was blown dead and therefore non-reviewable. Also, the Hughes fumble was not a fumble. I was appalled after watching the replay that this call did not get overturned. His knee was clearly down.
- Michael Floyd is going to be a name you hear very often in the near future.
- Kyle Rudolph will be good but he needs to learn how to block at the collegiate level.
- I should have worn sunscreen.
- Overall, I couldn't be happier with the outcome.
Next up: Skunkbears