It's been hard to see the Irish play well at times and then find ways to lose games. After the end of last year, it looked like we were on our way. Winning the last five (5) games while giving few points was like a watershed moment. No longer were we just a good offensive team, but we looked good on defense. Coach Kelly went out and recruited a good defensive class. It looked like things were coming together.
But, the first two games of the year, were all but wins.
I know it was hard for some ND fans to watch the USF game. I couldn't believe how poorly we played in the first half. I kept reminding myself that we could "Shake down the thunder". I saw it many times during my time in South Bend. We won it all my freshman year (1988). I saw a good team become great before my eyes. Small mistakes were few and scattered. Never more than we could overcome in one game.
So, I was expecting a little more this season. Our (former) penchant for winning in spite of tough odds was the only missing piece. That comes with good coaching and athletes who believe in themselves. I don't want this to sound like we have bad coaches or players who don't believe in themselves. Far from it. It just looks like those two halves have not come together.
We stood at 2-2. Two losses vs USF and at Michigan.
The next game against MSU looked much better.
The last one against Pitt looked like a repeat of the first two. We manhandled Air Force and even broke out Andrew Hendrix, a "BK-type" quarterback. It looked great. We had two weeks before the USC game and lots of momentum.
Then it happened again. More turnovers and an anemic offense. USC took charge and never looked back. They came to play and we laid down.
I know we can put a good game together. The real test will be two of those games, and then three.