The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 9, 2013

Rout takes shine off of Irish’s season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Was it all just wishful thinking?

Notre Dame put together one of its most magical seasons in years, winning its first 12 games and climbing atop the rankings in what many Fighting Irish fans hoped was a return to glory for one of college football’s most storied programs.

Following an embarrassing 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game, the worst loss in three seasons under coach Brian Kelly, the offseason will be filled with questions and a concern that Notre Dame had simply spiked again — seemingly back among the elite — only to fade back to mediocrity or worse.

If recent history is any indication, Irish fans have reason to be concerned.

Notre Dame hasn’t won the national championship since 1988 or even a major bowl game since beating Texas A&M 24-21 in the Cotton Bowl following the 1993 season. It hasn’t put together back-to-back strong seasons since 2005-06, when Charlie Weis and the Irish lost 34-20 to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and then 41-14 to LSU in the Sugar Bowl. The Irish went 3-9 the next season.

The Irish also had similar good seasons in 2002 under first-year coach Tyrone Willingham and coach Bob Davie in 2000 followed by disappointing seasons — and firings. Notre Dame didn’t do much Monday night to suggest they will compete at Alabama’s level next season. The Irish were thoroughly beaten along the line on both sides and the defense that played so well all season, making key goal-line stands against Stanford and Southern California, missed tackle after tackle against the Crimson Tide. Even when Notre Dame defenders were in position to make plays, they couldn’t.

Kelly said playing the Crimson Tide showed the Irish how much they need to improve.

“We’ve got to get physically stronger, continue to close the gap there, and just overall you need to see what it looks like. Our guys clearly know what it looks like,” he said. “We all now know what we have to do to move from where we are, which is a 12-0 football team, pretty darned good football team, but not good enough.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

  • The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline Hall of Fame class

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats....

    July 28, 2014

  • Telling The Boss, sorry

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech....

    July 28, 2014

  • Wainwright bounces back to beat Cubs

    CHICAGO — When St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh inning on Sunday, he had no idea whether he was going to replace starter Adam Wainwright....

    July 28, 2014

  • A’s rout Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso drove in three runs, helping Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 Sunday night....

    July 28, 2014

  • Clark rallies in Montreal

    MONTREAL — Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk....

    July 28, 2014

Facebook