Stream of Consciousness Notes - Sugar Bowl

Posted Jan 3, 2007

LSU and JaMarcus Russell bombed away, and Notre Dame stunk it up against another good team, in a 41-14 Sugar Bowl blowout. Check Pete Fiutak's thoughts in the Stream of Consciousness Game Notes.

By Pete Fiutak
Welcome again to my pretentious, goofy and self-serving stream-of-consciousness thoughts and notes on the big games, the broadcasts, the ads and the teams for the attention deficit disordered. E-mail me with your own thoughts and notes and what you'd like to see. 


- Alright Notre Dame, win this, and you can shut everyone up.

You didn't deserve this game, and you're only in the BCS over Wisconsin and Auburn because of some quirky rules. I don't think you can win this, no one else thinks you can win this, and LSU definitely doesn't think you can win this. All you have to do is beat the Tigers, and you'll have finally earned all the publicity, all the accolades, and all the hype.

Domers think saying stuff like that is "hating" or "being negative." It's the truth, but to think I, or anyone else in the media, wants to see the Irish fail is flat-out moronic. We WANT the Irish to be good. We NEED the Irish to be good. But when the team doesn't match the ink, it has to be called out.

With that said, I think Notre Dame can pull this off. From all indications, this is the 2006 Sugar Bowl all over again when it comes to overconfidence. LSU doesn't think it has any shot of blowing this, just like Georgia took West Virginia too lightly last year. When you have the number one pick in the draft, two first round-caliber receivers, and a head coach like Charlie Weis, you have a chance.

- You've got to hand it to those southern schools. When it comes to hot chicks, they don't mess around.

- Three hours of Terry Bradshaw. (Deep breath). I actually like him in the studio, but as a color commentator, I really hope he doesn't do shtick and plays this for real.

- Welcome to the JaMarcus Russell salary drive. He's probably coming out for the draft no matter what, but with a big game, he can go from being a curious top 50 flier to the second quarterback taken behind Quinn. If he doesn't torch the awful Irish secondary, his stock will drop like a stone.

- Has there ever been a college game with two bigger arms? Quinn and Russell could throw a grape through a brick wall.

First Quarter
Notre Dame on its own 20

- You have the best pro prospect in college football, at least according to the scouts. You let him throw it 65 times if you have to.
- First play, Quinn tries a little dump off pass that gets blown up. He does the same thing on the second play and it goes for nine yards.
- The key will be getting the ball out of Quinn's hands in a hurry. ND has to neutralize the swarming Tiger pass rush.
- Running inside isn't going to work. Of all the mismatches in this game, the LSU tackles on the Irish interior might be one of the biggest.
- ND seems to be playing a bit scared, at least in the play-calling, in mass protect to start off, but it could work. If Quinn gets time, he'll be fine. LSU can be thrown on; it hasn't seen too many good quarterbacks.
- Jeff Samardzija gets nailed with an unsportsmanlike penalty. That's not a bad thing. The team needs to play with an attitude.
- Ohhhhhhh. LSU had an end-around dead-to-rights, but Samardzija made a brilliant play to get some positive yards.
- ND is trying to take advantage of the overpursuing, overhyped up Tiger defense.
- Third and three and Marcus Freeman drops the ball. This might not have been a great drive, but at least ND knows it can give Quinn some time.
- Why do I have a feeling the Irish might go for this?
- Nope ... a punt.
- Nope ... a fake. LSU had it sniffed out and stuffed. Now LSU is deep in Irish territory. Come on ND, play like you think you can actually win this.

LSU on the Notre Dame 36
- Russell to Early Doucet to get down to the two, Keiland Williams runs it in for a score, and America is flipping to see how Deal or No Deal is going and if The Knights of Prosperity doesn't suck.
LSU 7 ... Notre Dame 0

Notre Dame on its own 18
- Fight right back ND. Start bombing away. 
- Did Howie just repeat the LSU first quarter scoring stat that Terry just read off?
- Nice downfield blocking by Rhema McKnight on an eight-yard play to Samadzija. The pro scouts are going to like that play.
- Those short plays will only work so long. ND can't out run LSU; the yards after the catch will be limited.
- Quinn had Samardzija and over shot him. That might have been pass interference.
- Nope, it was holding. ND first down. A huge, huge, huge break.
- Interesting. The holes are sort of there on the right side early on.
- Howie has said the word wham about 19 times in the first five minutes.
- ND can't keep relying on converting on third downs.
- The LSU corners are popping the Irish receivers. They're not afraid to be physical.
- No fake this time.

LSU on its own 20
- Jim Belushi vs. Cedric the Entertainer. Who's the least talented big name in entertainment? Discuss.
- The Irish are being a bit choppy right off the bat. Ol' Chuck Weis is firing on
Chinedum Ndukwe.
- Ohhhhhh. Tom Zbikowski just missed an interception. Dwayne Bowe couldn't handle the Russell 98 mile per hour fast ball.
- LSU is doing a nice job of getting its guys in space. If ND isn't tackling well, this is going to be a long, long game.
- ND's corners aren't even close. Uh oh, there's no pass rush, there's no new wrinkle, there's nothing happening with the ND defense.
- Could Terry and Howie compare Russell to more black quarterbacks? They've fired out Daunte Culpepper, Doug Williams, and Randall Cunningham (who Russell is nothing like, even though he just tore off a 15-yard run). How about Warren Moon, Michael Vick, and Kordell Stewart?
- Nothing ND's defense is doing is working. Every LSU play has been possible.
- Russell has five days to throw, hits Dwayne Bowe, and this game is on life support.
LSU 14 ... Notre Dame 0

Notre Dame on its own 20
- O.K. Notre Dame, come up with some of that magic.
- Step one will be to start stretching the field. The offense hasn't actually tested the offensive line and has just assumed it couldn't block LSU. Try a deep ball or two.
- Quinn has to be smarter than that. He danced around, ran away from the blitz, but didn't dumb the ball or throw it away. ND can't be in 2nd and 20 on its own nine.
- I'm shocked. That trap play keeps on working. Darius Walker is getting room to move.
- See, that sort of works. Quinn went into a straight drop, the Irish line gave him time, and Walker was hit on a crossing pattern for a big game.
- Quinn's starting to find his groove. LSU has slowed down its blitzing and Quinn is doing what he wants.
- Why has LSU stopped bringing the house? Quinn is going to kill them.
- Yup. No pass rush, Quinn has time to let the deep play develop, and he hits David Grimes with a first-pick-in-the-draft pass for a touchdown.
- That was way too easy. ND survived the early haymakers and are right back in this. Now it needs a big break from the defense to really turn this thing around.
LSU 14 ... Notre Dame 7

LSU on its own 20
- A Justin Vincent sighting. Once again, there hasn't been one LSU offensive play that hasn't been positive in some way.
- Finally, Notre Dame comes up with an effective blitz, gets to Russell, and forces the fumble. He needed to flick his wrist and throw the ball into the tenth row.

Notre Dame on the LSU 21
- This has to be a touchdown drive. ND can't blow chances like this.
First Quarter Score: LSU 14 ... Notre Dame 7

Second Quarter
- It's cliché, but ND should take advantage and go for the end zone. Use the great receivers.
- Walker's running continues to be effective.
- Strange play. Samardzija seemed to have the matchup, but he didn't see the ball and it hit him in the bean.
- Field goal attempt. Nice stop by LSU.
- He missed it. Ugh.

LSU on its own 20
- Once again, another positive play. ND had better start getting into the backfield.
- OHHHHHHHH. Ndukwe read the screen perfectly, topped it, and almost had a pick six.
- Why isn't Russell testing the ND corners? There are too many dinks and dunks.
- Nice job of the ND defense of coming up with a stop. It seems more like LSU's offense isn't sharp than ND's D is doing anything.

Notre Dame on the LSU 21
- Once again, nice pass protection. It seems like ND is getting more and more aggressive with its play calls since Quinn is getting time.
- For the second time this game, LSU swallows up the trap. This time, it blows it with a face mask call.
- Walker keeps finding room to run. The ND offensive line has been fantastic so far.
- The early LSU adrenaline appears to be gone. The D isn't bouncing around anymore.
- Ooof. The left side of the line just collapsed LSU on a third and one.
- What does that say about Louisiana Tech? Terry comments about how he signed with LSU, but couldn't get in because of his ACT score. We're not exactly talking about the Harvard of the south here.
- What a catch. Rhema McKinght did everything he could with a bad Quinn pass to get a first down.
- Great, great, great job by the LSU secondary. Quinn had time, he bombed deep to Samadzija, LaRon Landry came over in time and Jonathan Zenon made the pick. ND can't let that discourage them from throwing that.
- Bad, bad, BAD reversal. Zenon had it, hit the ground on his back, and lost it. His arm was around that ball. You can't reverse that; it was hardly conclusive.
- Oh great. I'm sure I'll have to hear about this about 172,000 times if Notre Dame scores on this drive and goes on to win. It really was an awful call.
- Awwww Brady. He gets blitzed and makes a freshman throw hanging it up for an interception when he should've thrown it away. He has to be much smarter than that.

LSU on its own 40
- Uh oh. The play action freezes the ND defense and Russell hits a wide-open Bowe for a big gain.
- Ooooooh. It looked like Bowe fumbled, but he might have been down.
- His butt hit the ground first. And he was ruled down by contact. It can't be challenged.
- Why isn't LSU testing the ND corners deep? The offense isn't doing all it can to take advantage of the speed advantage.
- Nice, nice, nice play by Ndukwe to stop Bowe in the open field. I love these Irish safeties.
- Speaking of which, where's Zbikowski?
- Once again, LSU is getting positive plays, but it just doesn't seem like it's getting all it can from its offense.
- Ooooops. Colt David blows a field goal wide right. The two teams are even on missed field goals after turnovers.
- How on-sight detestable are these Irish fans Fox keeps showing? It's like the producer is intentionally picking shots of the most obnoxious fans the camera can find. 

Notre Dame on the LSU 20
- Four minutes left. 3rd and 8. Don't take chances.
- Quinn makes the play. Nothing was there downfield, and he weaved his way for the first down.
- Every time Walker gets to the outside he's making big plays. Great, great, great blocking by the Irish line and the receivers on Walker's 35-yard run.
- Wow. 102 rushing yards for Walker.
- And why not try the other side. Walker tears off a 15-yard run. It's almost like LSU didn't think Notre Dame would dare try to run, and isn't prepared for it.
- What a drive. ND is on the 14.
- Weis understands what not enough coaches do. In college, unlike the NFL, if something works, you do it over and over and over again.
- It's almost like Quinn has just one option on each throw. Obviously that's not the case, but he's doesn't appear to be looking around too much.
- There it is. It had to work at some point. Zenon missed Samardzija and it was an easy pitch and catch to tie it up.
- This sucker is tied. Cool.
LSU 14 ... Notre Dame 14

LSU on its own 16
- Alright, LSU. You have the speed at receiver. You have Russell. There's 2:09 left. Please. For me. Try one 55-yard fly pattern.
- Great run by Justin Vincent. He got through the traffic to pound his way to a big run. Now LSU is in scoring range, but it has to pick up the pace.
- LSU has a quarterback who can hit the three-point shot from anywhere, but is trying to get him the layups.
- LSU's receivers aren't finding the holes in the zone.
- Thank you. I feel better now. Doucet blows through the secondary and Russell throws the ball 58 yards like most quarterbacks would throw a five-yard slant.
- Russell appeared to be able to run for a score, but fired it through the end zone. Why? I could've even run that.
- He makes amends. With the Irish looking for the pass, Russell buries his head and runs up the gut for an easy score.
- LSU should be able to drive like that anytime it wants to.
LSU 21 ... Notre Dame 14

- And with the third pick, the Cleveland Browns select, Ja ...

Notre Dame on its own 16
- LSU still isn't getting enough pressure on Quinn. The D needs to get its blitz back in the second half.
- :38 left.
- That's not Chuck Weis football. After a near-pick, ND runs the ball and lets the clock run out. It seems like there should've been at least a few more shots down the field.
First Half Score: LSU 21 ... Notre Dame 14

Third Quarter
LSU on its own 19

- This is where LSU has to drop the hammer. One big drive and ND has to change things up and likely has to get out of its game plan.
More positive plays from the LSU offense. It seems like the Tigers are going to try to establish the run.
Can LSU's receivers find the holes in the zone that they couldn't in the first half?
- Uhhhhhhhhh, that wasn't a recovered fumble, was it? Why aren't the announcers all over this? It's not even close! Doucet fumbled, but if Zenon didn't have control on that reversed first half interceptions, then Ambrose Wooden absolutely doesn't have control or possession before losing it out of bounds.
Replay has bombed throughout the bowl season. This would be the biggest gaffe of the bunch if it's Irish ball.
- It's reversed. Nice job, officials. I hate seeing games decided on bad calls.
- I just don't understand the reasoning. The officials screwed up, and LSU's coaches corrected them. Why should LSU (or anyone) lose its challenge? It doesn't seem right or fair.
- The LSU receivers are open on EVERY PLAY.
- ND has to generate turnovers; the D doesn't have any ideas.
- Did Zbikowski hit the French Quarter? Where is he?
- I'm going to keep harping on this because it's driving me nuts; LSU isn't taking full advantage of its speed on the outside. It's not like last night when Wake Forest's Riley Skinner couldn't throw the deep ball. Russell is getting time, let him wind up and fire it.
- Why, why, why, why, why? LSU is doing everything possible to stop itself. Third and four and Russell runs the draw? Every downfield throw was working.
- A fake field goal with a perfectly executed option pitch from Matt Flynn to Chris Jackson for the first down.
- Yeah, it worked, but would you rather get cute with a gimmick like that, or have a red-hot Russell drop back and hit a receiver five yards down the field?
- I said before how Weis keeps going to what works; LSU isn't doing that. I want to see a stat on Russell's throws ten+ yards down the field. If he's missed more than three, I'd be shocked. Even so, LSU is trying to run the ball, even though the linebackers are able to cheat up in the shadow of its own goal line.
- Go for it. Russell just missed Bowe and now it's fourth and two. You've got ND pinned deep.
- Field goal from Colt David. ND is still hanging around, and it's LSU's fault.
LSU 24 ... Notre Dame 14

Notre Dame on its own 22
- According to Howie, Weis said that Quinn will be the third best quarterback in the NFL in three years. I hope he was including Vince Young in his calculations.
- Notre Dame has to get into a rhythm. The offense seems to be a bit flat; why not going into a two-minute mode to get Quinn lathered up?
- That outside run from Walker isn't there anymore.
- Jonathan Zenon is getting picked on more than 12-year-old redhead with a lisp, but he's coming through. He's won more than his share of battles.

LSU on its own 21
- This game is starting to drag. Notre Dame has to show it has the potential to make this more interesting.
- Maybe LSU doesn't believe ND has anything left in the bag. Now the offensive line is starting to beat up the Irish front four. The more the running game works now, the less gas the Irish will have for a pass rush.
- Yup, ND wasn't even close to getting a hand on Russell and he threw a strike to Bowe for a first down.
- The fresh legs of Keiland Williams are killing the Irish back seven.
- Another easy throw to Bowe for a first down.
- That's a hilarious story from Terry about how Bowe broke up with his girlfriend once he went from legally blind to being able to see.
- The 20th play in the third quarter for LSU. Notre Dame has run four.
- Third and seven from the 22. I'd make this two down territory. ND can stop LSU once, not twice.
- Oooooh. Russell and Bowe were just a bit off on a throw into the end zone.
- David hits the field goal.
- ND is ridiculously fortunate to just be down 13.
LSU 27 ... Notre Dame 14

Notre Dame on its own 21
- LSU didn't drop the hammer. One touchdown drive and we'll have a whale of a fourth quarter.
- Does LSU really respect Quinn? It stopped blitzing altogether.
Where's McKnight? Where's John Carlson? It's Samardzija, Walker, and a whole bunch of nothing.
- Quinn's not doing anything remotely special ...
- ... and neither is the Notre Dame coaching staff. The LSU tackles are rested. Those tricky, fluky draw plays aren't going to fly, especially on third down.
- There's no truth to the rumor that Jimmy Clausen is warming up on the sidelines.

LSU on its own 36
- Cumulative GPA of the ND football team is 3.041. And LSU's .... ?
- Broken record time ... TRY A FLY PATTERN.
- LSU keeps shortening the field with these short passes.
- It's not a positive when the hardest hit of the night for ND is Maurice Crum's inadvertent shot on Terrail Lambert.
- I told you so I told you so I told you so I told you so I told you so I told you so I told you so I told you so I told you so.
- Russell unleashes the gun and hits Brandon LaFell for a 58-yard score. Thank you very much, good night.
- Did you see that freakin' throw?! Russell was off balance, on the move, and put the ball in a place no NFL quarterback since Brett Favre pre-2000 could make.
- And with the second pick in the draft, the Detroit Lions select, Ja ...
Third Quarter Score: LSU 34 ... Notre Dame 14

Fourth Quarter
Notre Dame on its own 29

- Can we finally ditch the Notre Dame special BCS rules for Notre Dame?
- I want to see that again. It looked like McKnight dragged down Chavis Jackson, but it's being called pass interference on LSU.
- AWWWWWWWWWW. LSU got royally hosed on that one.
- And justice is served. A Quinn pass bounces off McKnight and into the arms of LaRon Landry. 

LSU on the Notre Dame 49

- LSU is starting to get chippy. This might get ugly in more ways than one.
- That's why you keep throwing it deep. Russell threw a bomb into triple coverage and Bowe should've adjusted to get it.
- Bowe just doesn't seem to have it as a pro prospect. He can certainly play in the big league, and he has all the measureables, but he doesn't seem to have enough NFL polish.
- 330 yards for Russell.
- Russell gets sloppy and lazy. He throws it off his back foot into double coverage on a play that wasn't even close to being there. Mike Richardson picks it off. He should've seen the coverage on that right off the bat

Notre Dame on its own
- I always love the aerial coverage of games like this ... IT'S BEING PLAYED IN A DOME.
- Come on Notre Dame. Show that you don't really suck this bad.
- Is Quinn doing anything to make everyone around him better?
- Quinn is lucky he got hit third down pass batted down. He was going to Samardzija and missed the safety flying up about to pick six it.
- zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

LSU on its own
- 11:24 to play. Oh dear heavens.
- Basically, it seems like Zbikowski is hanging about 35 yards deep on every play.
- Stay in bounds stay in bounds stay in bounds stay in bounds stay in bounds ...
- Crap.
- Oooohhh oooohhh. LSU left tackle Ciron Black just BURIED two Irish defenders on one block.
- Now ND is missing tackles.
- Eight ...thirty ... nine to play.
- This is a clinic. Black is obliterating anyone lining up in front of him.
- I want someone to invent a DVR that can fast forward through live sporting events. Someone get on that.
- And now this has gone from a blowout to embarrassing. Keiland Williams rolls for an easy score with the Irish nowhere to be found.
LSU 41 ... Notre Dame 14

- It's not like there's anything else on. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is on HBO.

Notre Dame on its own 25
- There's no reason whatsoever for Notre Dame to play Quinn or its other starters now. Brady, have a seat. Don't risk injury when you have $50 million waiting for you in a few months.
- Of course, he's back out there.
- 7:08 to play.
- The Chicago Cubs are on the line. They're respectfully requesting Samardzija leave the building. Now.
- Great ... a screen and a running play. Why not just take a knee?
- McKnight drops the first down pass. Ugh.

LSU on its own 25

- Five minutes to play. Time to get Matt Flynn some work and get the Ryan Perrilloux era started.
- Yup ... off comes Russell. Nice career. 21-34, 332 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one rushing touchdown. That's a day.
- Just under four minutes to play and the Gatorade banter has already started.

Notre Dame on its own 11
- Does Notre Dame have a first down in the second half?
- Evan Sharpley is in for Quinn.
- 15-35, 148 yards, two touchdown, two interceptions for Quinn. Sell that to the Raider Nation.
- That was a clinic in the second half.
- Can we fly in Wisconsin to see if it can do any better?
Final Score: LSU 41 ... Notre Dame 14