Notre Dame’s season came to a sudden end at the hands of Clemson University.
The University of Notre Dame’s remarkable season came to a sudden, and disappointing end after losing to Clemson University by a score of 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Months from now, the Irish will look back on the season and appreciate all the incredible moments and accomplishments.
However, this game will take a while to get over. It will take a while to heal from not only the disappointment but from the inevitable chorus of naysayers who didn’t think Notre Dame deserved a spot in the College Football Playoff. While the Irish put forth a disappointing showing, to say they didn’t belong is both wrong and an abuse of revisionist history.
Be that as it may, there is no arguing the Irish’s terrible history in bowl games, especially in the BCS/New Year’s Six/CFB Playoff games, where the Fighting Irish are now 0-6. It’s been an eternity since the Irish have won a major bowl game, and the tragedy is they truly had a chance against Clemson — until they didn’t.
Notre Dame had a chance to seize the momentum on the first drive, which could have altered the complexion of the game. They had picked up a first down and had the ball at their own 36-yard line. It was 3rd and 10 and Ian Book rolled out to his right and threw a touch pass to Chase Claypool, which hit him in the hands and would have been a first down had he not dropped it.
They got the ball back on their next possession at the Clemson 49-yard line down 3 but fumbled on the first play. Even despite those costly mistakes, they were only down 9-3 with just under five minutes left in the first half. Then the wheels fell off and ND surrendered 14 points to close out the half. The Tigers never looked back, tacking on a touchdown in the second half to seal the victory.
Notre Dame, on the other hand, failed to take advantage of Dexter Lawrence‘s absence, mustering only 88 rushing yards in the game. Their passing game wasn’t much better, managing only 160 yards through the air.
There is no taking away the success the Irish had this season under Brian Kelly, but it will take some wins in big bowl games to remove the sour taste from the mouths of Irish fans.