Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

ND-Pitt Report Card

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So much for my halftime analysis from Saturday's game. I thought those first-half plays were the turning point in the game. In the end, they weren't even included in my game story. Crazy.

A brief report card from Notre Dame--Pittsburgh. 

Quarterback: This is a tough call. Jimmy played pretty well. Some of the problems he had may have been schematic. They also could've had something to do with Pittsburgh having a better defense than Washington. He made some big-league throws, though, and was good enough for Notre Dame to win. B

Running back: Armando Allen picked up some tough yards, especially in overtime. The problem is, the running game still seems to be more of a complementary part of the offense than a staple. Allen had 86 yards on 19 carries. Robert Hughes and James Aldridge averaged 3.1 yards per carry. That's not good enough. C

Receivers: Michael Floyd and Golden Tate are incredible talents. Tate's catch --- after the ball had been tipped by two Pittsburgh defenders, no less --- for 47 yards was a highlight for the ages. Floyd is developing into more than a freshman sensation. He's a go-to guy in one of college football's emerging passing offenses. How good will these two be next year and perhaps even the year after? A

Offensive line: Another tough one. They only allowed one sack. Clausen was hurried three more times, according to the official stats. The running game was solid but could have been better. B

Defensive line: LeSean McCoy rushed for 169 yards and got better as the game went on. His 18-yard run in the fourth overtime set up the game-winning field goal. No defensive lineman had a sack. Ethan Johnson had the unit's only hurry. C minus

Linebackers: Most of the comments made about the defensive line could also be said of the linebackers. Kerry Neal and Steve Quinn each had sacks. C

Secondary: Pittsburgh quarterbacks (four different players took snaps from center) twice overthrew wide-open receivers. Raeshon McNeil had two picks. He also gave up the game-tying touchdown to 6-5 receiver Jonathan Baldwin with 2:22 left. That's a tough matchup for the 6-0 McNeil, but still ... B

Special teams: Coach Charlie Weis was right when he made sure nobody blamed Brandon Walker for the loss. Yes, he missed a 38-yard field goal in overtime. But he made four field goals in the game, including a 48-yarder in overtime and seven straight overall before missing. B

Coaching: I still can't figure out why Weis went for it on fourth-and-1 near midfield. The logic baffles me. It seemed like Pittsburgh did a better job making second-half adjustments, as well. Weis, the offensive guru, needed to find a way to get his offense in the end zone in overtime. He couldn't. C minus

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on November 2, 2008 11:41 AM.

Key Sequence Could Decide Game was the previous entry in this blog.

Weis Press Conference Transcript for 11/2 is the next entry in this blog.

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