As a Notre Dame fan, my expectations were pretty low coming into this season. After going 4-8 last season and losing Deshone Kizer and a few key defensive starters in Cole Luke and Isaac Rochelle, I wasn’t expecting much more than a 6-6 record. I was only hoping to get to a bowl game. How quickly things can change.
They started out the season amazing and started building up my faith. They followed all this up by being projected to make the college football playoffs; they controlled their own destiny. The one constant issue I had game in and game out was Brandon Wimbush. He’s fast and he’s got great open field moves, but he plays quarterback, and unfortunately, his arm is unreliable. It seemed like he was making the easiest of throws look difficult and he just never seemed to have a good feel for where the ball needs to be and when to get it there.
As much fun as the winning and running for 500 yards a game was, if you wanted to get picky, there were still points being left on the board. Against teams like UNC, Miami (OH) and Wake Forest, you can afford to leave points on the board, but that stuff won’t fly when playing top teams like Georgia or Miami.
I was showing my friends some numbers about the ND games from when they won and it’s astounding: his rushing numbers are through the roof. But the passing numbers are extremely concerning. Brandon Wimbush has thrown for over 200 yards just twice all season. That is partially due to game script, but it also is due to his inconsistency as a passer.
Vs. Temple: 17/30 184 yards
Vs. Georgia: 20/40 210 yards
Vs. Boston College: 11/24 96 yards
Vs. Michigan State: 14/20 173 yards
Vs. Miami (OH): 7/11 119 yards
Vs. USC: 9/19 120 yards
Vs. North Carolina State: 10/19 104 yards
Vs. Wake Forest: 15/30 280 yards
Vs. Miami 10/19: 119 yards
The way Notre Dame was running the ball this was hidden it was an issue that didn’t need to be addressed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the mantra goes. He wasn’t needed to throw the ball, but look at those losses where he averages under six yards per attempt in both games. That would be alright because at his worst he has had games where he hasn’t reached more than four yards per attempt. But when the run game isn’t there to control the game he isn’t polished enough to save the day through the air.
If Deshone Kizer had stayed one more year he would have truly made the Irish a playoff contender, as they have a bunch of play-makers at the WR position — with Kevin Stepherson, Alize Mack, Equanimeous St. Brown and CJ Sanders all being explosive with the ball in their hands or able to make big plays. But with Wimbush at the helm, this team is a one dimensional team, which really is a shame as the defense is a top 50 defense in the country, and with the offensive line they currently have, this offense could have been nearly unstoppable.
This was a one-dimensional team waiting to be exposed, and Miami did just that. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them lose one of their final two games and miss out on a New Year’s day bowl game completely. With most of the offensive line being upper classmen and Mcglinchey and Nelson both likely to declare after this season, Wimbush needs to take significant strides as a passer for next year if Notre Dame wants to repeat this success.