Two years ago Toby Gerhart, now with the Minnesota Vikings then with the Stanford Cardinal, ran for over 200 yards on Notre Dame. The performance moved him up the Heisman Trophy pecking order, and he lost (by the slimmest margin of all time) to current member of the New Orleans Saints then member of the Alabama Crimson Tide Mark Ingram.
Tonight Andrew Luck, the mortal lock to the be the #1 pick in the NFL Draft in April intended to stake his claim for the most prestigious trophy in college football by exploiting the Fighting Irish. But there was no luck of the Irish. And it actually wasn’t luck of the Cardinal either. It was skill and talent of the Cardinal: Luck, Colby Fleener, Stepfan Taylor etc.
Luck became just the third QB in history to beat Notre Dame in three consecutive games; going 19-30 for 221, 4 TDs and 1 INT. But the real star maybe have been Taylor, who became just the second running back in school history to gain 1,000 yards in back-to-back years.
The Irish, back in the national rankings for the first time since the preseason, will soon find themselves to back out. At 8-3, there was a very small outside chance they could have made a BCS bowl had they pulled the upset at The Farm. But with Stanford beating them so thoroughly, it looks more like the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, (a match-up with fellow disappointing underachiever Florida State) for them.
Starting QB Tommy Rees looked terrible tonight, going 6-13 for 60 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT, 3 rushes for -10 yards and a fumble. We all know how much Coach Brian Kelly loves Rees, but he gave him the hook in favor of Andrew Hendrix, a true dual threat, and possible quarterback of the future. He looked much better going 11-24 for 194, a TD and a pick. He also added a touchdown on the ground. Hendrix seemed to ask the Cardinal faithful “Are you Experienced?”
Game ball to Colby Fleener, 4 grabs, 6 yards shy of a C-Note and 2 TDs. The Irish had no answer for him.
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the FWAA, USBWA and SPJ. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.