Grading the game

Quarterback

First of all Jake Locker had a much better game this week. He took the loss pretty hard and blamed himself for letting down his team but I think he is being too hard on himself. Jake was back to his old playmaking self on Saturday and even though we didn't win the game he definitely put his team in position to win it. His stats aren't exactly breathtaking but if you figure in the number of drops by his wide receivers it could have been a career day. He nailed some long passes hittting his receivers in full stride on the hands. I wouldn't put the failure to get into the end zone on two second half drives on Jake. The play calling was a little predictable, a little questionable, but when you cont the number of chances we had you have to put the blame on the offensive line who failed to provide the adequate push.

Grade B

Running Backs

Chris Polk had the best day of his career and would have had the game winning TD if the ref's hadn't have robbed him of it in the fourth quarter. We had a clear view of the play and he was more than in from our angle. Chris is a big time back who only keeps getting better. Paul Homer also had a chance to win the game but fell inches short of the goal line. Johri Fogerson continues to impress with his receiving ability.

Grade A

Wide Receivers

these giuys made a lot of play on Saturday but they also had some important drops here and there which changed the outcome of the game. As young as they are I thought they did fine over all. The drops weren't exactly easy catches either with the xcepting of Kearse's in over time. Did I say easy? Nothing is really an easy catch on a rainy day on the road.

Grade B

Tight Ends

Kavario Middleton had a better day. Was he better than his counterpart at Notre Dame? No, but that will happen over time. Kavario had a big catch on fourth down that kept a drive alive.

Grade B

Offensive Line

We put up a lot of yeards and scored 30 points but when we had a chance to put the game away twice in the second half this unit came up short. Forget the bad calls...we had enough chances to overcome it and did not. One interesting thing is that Nick Wood played most of the second half in place of Greg Christine. Not exactly sure if that will be a permanent move.

Grade C

Defensive Line

Jimmy Clausen had way too much time on Saturday. He was coming  off a turf toe injury so he wasn't exaclty mobile.  We just didn't get to him enough annd he had a career day passing the football. We did fine against the run keeping the Irish to around 3.7 yards per carry, but when the Irish needed a big play on the ground in the fourt quarter they got it.

Grade D

Linebacker

I thought our linebackers did a decent job and I really like what Cort Dennison is bringing to the squad in the absence of EJ Savannah. They filled in well on the run and Mason Foster was the only guy out there that was really pressuring Clausen. donald butler picked up an interception and was solid in the middle.

Grade B

Defensive Backs

They gave up a lot of passing yards and both our starting safeties were injured. Justin Glenn is going to be out for awhile with a broken fibula, Nate Williams suffered a concussion. I really like the way Desmond Trufant is developing. He is going to be an All Pac Ten player sooner than later. Missed tackles throughout the night lower the overall score for this unit. Golden Tate and the ND receivers picked up way too many yards after the catch.

Grade C

Special Teams

Erik Folk seems to be golden in clutch situations. All he does is hit one clutch FG after another. Kickoffs are a completely different matter. The distance is not there and it is giving the opposition way too much of an advantage when it comes to field position. Mahan was accurate with his punts. He placement is great and ND was unable to make anything out of them. The return game isn't working. We need to start getting yardage out of punt and kickoff returns.

Grade B

Coaching

I think the coaches made some questionable calls in the red zone. Sark doesn't seem to like spreading the field or trying to exploit Jake around the end when the middle is plugged up. I didn't like the decision that led to zero points in the third quarter when we were at the one yard line. If we took those points we win the game. That of course is all about hindsight. You convert the TD situation and Washington puts the game away. We can nitpick all we want but if you compare the coaching to last year it is night and day. Willingham walks in here with the same talent and loses by 30 points. You have to give Sark and his staff credit for getting us in th eposition to win games. You have to give them credit for going for the jugglar when it was exposed. Winners do that and we are just learning how to win.

Grade B

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