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Notre Dame vs. Louisville score, takeaways: No. 4 Irish survive offensive struggles to squeak past Cardinals

No. 4 Notre Dame overcame Louisville 12-7 on Saturday, extending its dwelling successful streak to 22 video games and its present win streak to a nation’s finest 10 straight. Whereas that is all nice for Notre Dame, it is laborious to think about anyone feels nice in regards to the efficiency general — or, at the very least you’d assume so. However Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly felt in a different way when interviewed on the sphere instantly after the win.

“I do know it is 12-7, and it isn’t going to go down as an immediate basic, however boy, we did a number of actually good issues in the present day,” stated Kelly. “We scored objectives as a substitute of touchdowns. That is in all probability the takeaway right here — that we obtained to get higher within the crimson zone.”

The Irish offense managed solely 338 yards on the day as quarterback Ian Ebook was off-and-on. Whereas Ebook scored a spectacular landing within the third quarter that gave the Irish the 12-7 lead that proved to be the distinction, he solely accomplished 11 of his 19 passes for 106 yards. Working again Kyren Williams was the star of the day for the Irish offense, speeding for 127 yards on 25 carries.

The Irish at the moment are 4-0 on the season and 3-0 within the ACC, leaving them tied atop the ACC standings. The loss drops Louisville to 1-4 on the season and 0-4 in ACC play, successfully eliminating the Cardinals from any slight glimmer of hope that they had about competing for a convention title this season.

Listed below are the three largest takeaways from the Notre Dame win in South Bend on Saturday.

1. Notre Dame is not among the many 4 finest groups

I’ve now seen every of the 4 video games the Irish have performed this season, and whereas they’re ranked No. 4 within the nation and can probably be within the prime 4 once more subsequent week, there are solely two causes that is the case. One is the Irish began the yr at No. 10, and three of the groups forward of them misplaced at the very least as soon as. The opposite cause is that one other three groups that have been forward of them have not began enjoying but.

I am not saying the Irish are unhealthy. They seem to be a top-10 workforce and could be within the prime 10 in any regular season after this begin. But when that is actually one of many 4 finest groups within the nation, then we’re in a number of hassle. Notre Dame’s 4 wins have now come towards groups which might be a mixed 4-15 on the season as I write this. Solely a type of wins, a 52-0 pasting of South Florida, has seen a dominant effort from the Irish. Positive, they have been by no means in deep trouble final week towards Florida State, however the Seminoles regarded higher towards Notre Dame than they did in losses to Georgia Tech and Miami.

Proper now, this can be a workforce enjoying properly sufficient to achieve the ACC Championship Recreation, however it’s not close to the extent it must be if it needs to have a practical probability of beating Clemson.

2. The Irish want to resolve their red-zone woes

Brian Kelly introduced up the workforce’s issues within the crimson zone towards Louisville, and he is proper — it’s a drawback. An issue that wasn’t restricted to in the present day’s motion. The Irish got here into Saturday’s sport having scored a landing solely 68.8% of their red-zone possessions. That ranked thirty third nationally, and that fee has dropped to 60% after the Irish managed just one landing on 4 red-zone possessions in the present day.

You will get away with having to accept a discipline objective quite a few occasions within the crimson zone towards groups like Louisville, however it’s not going to fly towards good groups. As for what the issue is, I am unsure it may be pinpointed to only one factor. As we speak it appeared that the Irish simply obtained a little bit pass-happy contained in the 20. Louisville was content material to drop eight guys in protection on these performs and pressure Ebook to seek out an open goal. Ebook then held onto the ball for too lengthy earlier than both being sacked or simply lacking a landing probability within the again nook of the tip zone. Lastly, on the fourth possession, Ebook took benefit of Louisville dropping so many defenders and took off on his personal for a landing.

Sooner or later, if I am the Irish, I’d take into account working the ball a bit extra usually contained in the 20.

3. Disappointing season for Louisville

There isn’t any bouncing again from this level. This can be a Louisville workforce that went 2-10 in 2018 and fired Bobby Petrino. Then, in Scott Satterfield’s first season in cost, the turnaround was rapid. The Cardinals have been a enjoyable, thrilling workforce that completed 8-5 and got here into 2020 as a workforce some thought would possibly make some noise within the ACC. The one noise they’ve made is a thud as they’re now 0-4 within the convention after losses to Miami, Pitt, Georgia Tech and now Notre Dame.

Sarcastically, Saturday it was the offense that was the issue after the protection had been a sore spot all season. The protection did a improbable job, however the offense could not string sufficient good performs collectively outdoors of its first drive within the third quarter. The excellent news for the Cardinals is that there are a few winnable video games remaining on the schedule, however I am unsure how winnable they’re contemplating how poorly this workforce has regarded. This is perhaps a workforce that finds itself going 2-8 or 3-7 within the ACC this yr.

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