The Notre Dame Fighting Irish suffered their third loss of the season Saturday night. Quarterback Tommy Rees made too many mistakes down the stretch for the Irish to mount a comeback against the Pittsburgh Panthers who won 28-21.
Rees was 18-for-38 for 318 yards and two touchdowns. Rees threw back-to-back interceptions in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 21. He also attempted the throw away a pass on a potential game tying drive, but it was ruled intentional grounding as no one near the pass and he was still in the pocket.
It’s inexcusable that a senior quarterback doesn’t fully understand the grounding rules. He simply made far too many big mistakes for Notre Dame to win the game. It was clear the coach Brian Kelly wasn’t happy with Rees either.
TJ Jones once again led the receiving corps with six receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown. DaVaris Daniels added three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown.
The targeting rule was enforced against Notre Dame in one of the worst possible calls of the college season. Stephon Tuitt was called for an illegal hit on the opposing quarterback who was scrambling with the ball. While the hit was helmet-to-helmet, Tom Savage, the Pitt QB, lowered his head into Tuitt. The targeting rule is confusing in the sense that the officials have no idea when to actually enforce the rule.
Losing Tuitt, across an already thin defensive line, led to Pitt rushing for 113 yards. It also made the Irish defense hesitant for much of the game allowing the Panthers to get bigger yardage.
Pitt won the turnover battle by a wide margin, finishing the game with three takeaways. The Panthers simply dominated the second half.
The loss drops Notre Dame to 7-3 and effectively ends any hope of a BCS Bowl bid. It looks like the Irish will finish the season with an 8-4 record and likely get a decent bowl bid.
Up next, the Irish will have the week off before hosting BYU on November 23rd.
Don’t forget to follow us on twitter, @InkOnIndy.