So where are your Fighting Irish this morning, Notre Dame fans?
Yes, they came away from their meeting at Boston College on Saturday afternoon with what appeared to be a relatively easy 49-20 victory, which put them above the .500 mark for the first time since the 2015 college football season.
Yes, if you look at the remainder of the schedule, only games against USC (in South Bernd) and at Miami appear to be a totally uphill climb.
And yes, the offense, which sputtered at times in last week's 20-19 loss to Georgia, produced an astonishing 611 total yards, including an historic 200 plus yard rushing performances each by running back Josh Adams and quarterback Brandon Wimbush.
How big a deal was that, you might ask? Well in the modern history of ND football, the Irish had never had two players rush for more than 200 yards in a game.
The highlight of Wimbush's day was not so much what he did throwing the ball--he was a mediocre 11 of 24 with 0 TDs and 1 interception--but what he did when he ran the ball, piling up 4 TDs for 207 yards, including one highlight weaving 65-yard scoring run.
All of this came after a start in which Notre Dame (2-1) clung to a 14-13 lead early in the third quarter and didn't look like it was that much better than BC, much less a Top 25 quality program looking for a return to the glory days of only two years ago when Coach Brian Kelly's team posted a 10-3 record.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
But let's get real here folks. Not even Kelly, who cleaned out his his staff after last season's 4-8 meltdown, knows what the final product will be.
When asked after the game, if the Irish were starting to establish an identity, Kelly basically said he wasn't sure.
"It's what I was hoping for relative to having a fight,'' he said. ""and we exhibited that fight in the second half, you know in terms of the way we battled and took over the second half of this football game.
"There were a lot of those occasions as you know last year. That's what I was hoping for. I really didn't know how this offense was going to be from the quarterback position in terms of where Brandon was going to take it until we actually got into a few games.
"Now I think we know what part of the library we need to kind of move towards and we've got plenty of defense. Now I think we can start to really focus in on the things that he really does well and that's where this offense will continue to grow and develop.''
Kelly is smart enough to realize that ND can't really move forward until the offense can produce through the air as well as on the ground
""Yeah, I think our passing game will have to be better,'' he said ""and I think that means not necessarily from the quarterback position. I think we're going to have to make some catches that are contested. I think we're going to have step up and make some big plays at the receiver position and assisting our quarterback.''
Beating Temple and Boston College are not resume enhancing games for the Irish. Kelly wants and needs the Irish to be as good at the end of the season as at the start or in the middle.
Here's a startling factoid.
Notre Dame has not won a game in January--the traditional period when championships are decided since the 1994 Fiesta Bowl, compiling an 0-9 January record, a streak which was 8,655 days long and counting as of Sunday morning.
Only a few things have happened this season to suggest the streak will come to an end in January of 2018 or that the Irish will even be playing in a January game.
But on a Saturday afternoon at BC, there were some rumblings that it was time to start waking up the echoes under the Golden Dome.[/membership]