Fact or Fiction: Notre Dame silenced critics with Pitt blowout
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
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1. Notre Dame silenced the critics with blowout of Pitt.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Not yet anyhow. This was a much better offensive performance against a solid Pitt defense, but I’m not ready to buy in yet on their chances against Clemson. Even though the Tigers struggled against Syracuse, we know they can turn up the volume and, again, I want to see this Notre Dame team play from behind before I believe in this offense. It’s a good win but I still need more evidence.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Notre Dame is outscoring opponents 35.6 to 9.8, the Irish have rushed for 15 touchdowns and their defense has only allowed five total touchdowns through five wins. And Notre Dame is still getting criticism?
Sure, Notre Dame might not have tremendous playmakers at receiver and I’m not sure quarterback Ian Book is good enough to lead the Irish to the national title but this is a team good enough to beat every school except one on its entire schedule. If the only measure we’re using for Notre Dame is whether it can beat Clemson, that’s completely unfair. A lot of teams would fall short if the measure of success is whether they could beat the Tigers because not many can even on their best days.
2. Ga’Quincy McKinstry to Alabama will kill all Auburn recruiting momentum.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Well, you could make an argument that Auburn hasn’t had any recruiting momentum, but losing Ga'Quincy McKinstry hurts the Tigers' chances with prospects like Smael Mondon and Jeremiah Williams among others. Recruits are noticing the weak effort on the field of War Eagle and its leading them to other programs.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. There is no hiding from the fact that Auburn not getting McKinstry is a big miss since the Tigers were the early front-runners, but losing to Alabama for the state’s top prospect is completely understandable. Auburn landed early commitments from four-stars Lee Hunter and Armoni Goodwin, so the Tigers have more top-five in-state commitments than any other team including the Crimson Tide. It’s very possible McKinstry, Williams and Mondon all end up at other SEC programs and that’s not ideal for the Tigers, but not all recruiting momentum has been halted.
3. Nebraska fans should be encouraged despite loss to Ohio State.
Farrell’s take: FACT. While Ohio State eventually thumped Nebraska and tore a hole in the Huskers' defense with ease, I saw improved athleticism on the offensive side of the ball and a few leaders emerging, especially part-time QB Luke McCaffrey. At least for awhile this team played hard and looked like they believed in Scott Frost and winning for the first time. It’s a slow build, but it’s headed in the right direction.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Nebraska fans should be encouraged because the Huskers competed, showed some signs that its quarterbacks can be used in the pass and run game and for stretches the Huskers made Ohio State work for everything. With three minutes to go in the second quarter, Nebraska trailed 17-14 and had the ball. With three minutes to go in the second quarter last season, Nebraska trailed 31-0. So that's progress.
But there’s two sides to a coin and here’s the other side: Nebraska lost, 52-17, and that just reinforces how far the Huskers still are from national prominence. The defense forced Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields into just one incompletion all game. Two Buckeyes receivers had more than 100 yards. Ohio State had four rushing touchdowns. Still, Nebraska showed improvement in stretches and that’s something to build on moving forward.