I'm back in town from East Lansing, and while the fans were pretty nice, the venue sucked, the game sucked, and despite a fun post-game house party, an unfortunate incident with a tree left my face looking as bad as the Irish did on the field Saturday afternoon.
I was right about the keys to victory, at least.
Shut down the run.
Yes, the Spartans are a one-trick pony, but that one trick is pretty darn good.
Ringer rushed for an impressive 201 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.
Establish the running game.
16 freaking yards. That's pathetic.
Win the field position battle.
Our average field position was the ND 29, and theirs was the MSU 32. Not a huge difference in field position, but it could have been worse. In fact, the only quarter where we won the field position battle was the 4th, which is also, coincidentally, the only time we managed to score.
This year's team is clearly better than last year's. And we have the pair of wins to prove it. But there are too many lingering problems to convince me that we'll have any kind of sustained success this year.
Until we, as a team, can effectively run the ball, we will struggle.