Posted by Tom Fornelli
SOUTH FLORIDA WON. In the first half Notre Dame was begging South Florida to win the game, but the Bulls seemed hesitant to accept. Eventually the Bulls took advantage of the gifts that Notre Dame insisted on giving them. Notre Dame had twice as many yards on offense as South Florida (508-254) but four turnovers by the Irish sealed their fate, especially when you consider that the Irish turned the ball over inside the red zone three times.
WHY SOUTH FLORIDA WON. While the South Florida offense didn't light up the scoreboard like lightning lit up the skies of South Bend, the Bulls managed not to beat themselves. They also forced those turnovers, including a 96-yard fumble return by Kayvon Webster at the goal line following a very impressive opening drive by the Notre Dame offense. Still, it's hard to believe that Skip Holtz will be happy his team had to settle for so many field goals in the first half when it had a chance to bury the Irish early.
WHEN SOUTH FLORIDA WON. While it should have happened in the first half, it wasn't official until the Bulls recovered an onside kick by the Irish with 21 seconds remaining in the game.
WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA WON. This game may mean nothing for South Florida when it comes to the team's top goal of winning the Big East, but it definitely provides a lot of confidence for the team heading into the rest of the season. No, Notre Dame is not the program it used to be, or that many Notre Dame fans still want it to be, but going into South Bend and picking up a win is never anything to not be proud of.
WHAT NOTRE DAME LOST. Any chance to say that the program is back. The team came into yet another season with a ranking higher than it deserved and yet another season of "This is the year Notre Dame returns to glory," but on Saturday we found out that it's just another season in South Bend. One that may still prove to be successful, but also a year that is going to have its share of frustrating moments.
THAT WAS CRAZY. What wasn't crazy in this game? Notre Dame's inability to not turn the ball over in the red zone? The two lightning delays that lasted three hours? There's plenty to choose from, but the craziest thing I saw was the shade of red in Brian Kelly's face on the sideline after Notre Dame's third red zone turnover. Human beings just aren't meant to be that color.