Well, Dabo summed it up after the game as well as anyone could. It was a flat out "ass-kicking." Dabo put the blame solely on himself, and I don't think I've ever seen him so distraught since I've been covering the Tigers. That being said, I have no doubt that they will grow and get better from this adversity. As he said, they've handed out a lot more of these types of whippings than they've received. The Tigers haven't been dominated for 4 quarters like that since the FSU game in 2013 by Jameis Winston and company. The blocked punt set the tone, and the Tigers couldn't do anything offensively until the 4th quarter when the game was already over. They spotted a good team 21 points on the road with a big, hostile night crowd, and you simply cannot get away with that. The blocked punt and 2 picks were the difference in the score. It's a tie game in the 4th otherwise. That's two games in a row in which the Tigers have been careless with turnovers, and it bit them this time. They didn't have a single turnover against Wake, NC State or FSU.
But the biggest surprise--other than the sloppiness and lackluster effort coming off a bye--was the fact that the Irish ran the ball right down their throats all night for 263 rushing yards with 2 backs over 100 yards! I can't remember the last time that's happened, and no one saw it coming from this Notre Dame team, even though they have a huge offensive line and bruising backs. If you had told me Mayer would only have 44 yards and one score, I would have said the Tigers would win by a couple scores.
It's not the end of the world, folks. The Tigers' last 3 games are at home, and they can still achieve every one of their annual team goals. We all wanted them to win another national title, but I'll never complain about a 13-1 season as ACC and Orange Bowl Champs! We could see a first-ever matchup between Clemson and Michigan in the Orange Bowl, and that would be awesome!
Dabo is going to kick some tail this week and right the ship, I promise you that. The only question I have is whether Dabo will give Cade a start and see how it goes. They can start preparing him for next season starting next week. Either way, I suspect we'll see a lot more of Cade in each of their remaining games.
Post-game interviews are below.