No. 7 Notre Dame barely gets by Toledo: 5 instant takeaways

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For the second week in a row it wasn’t pretty but it’s a win. No. 7 Notre Dame improved to 2-0 with an incredibly unimpressive 32-29 victory over Toledo on Saturday in a game that Brian Kelly was quick to say after the game the Irish were outplayed in.

It’s 2-0 for the Irish but it again won’t win any awards for its appearance. Here are five instant takeaways from the Notre Dame victory.

5. Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

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You want to keep any team in a game? Go lose the turnover battle 3-0 and you'll keep just about anyone in a game, let alone a solid Group of 5 squad like Toledo brought to Notre Dame Stadium. You lose turnover battles you usually lose the game. You lose the turnover battle 3-0? You're lucky you only lost 29-24 today. Inexcusable. But why did they occur?

4. Tommy Rees Givith, Tommy Rees Taketh Away

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Much of the first three quarters I sat wondering what in the world Tommy Rees was doing. With as much blitzing as Toledo was doing why didn't the Irish attempt much of anything in terms of crossing patterns? Also with the offensive tackles getting owned almost the entire afternoon I would have really liked to have seen much less trying to force the runs outside.

3. Michael Mayer can't disappear like that

Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

I really liked my first experience of having Drew Brees in the Notre Dame booth. More on that later, but one of the things I thought he hit it out of the park on was discussing Notre Dame after Toledo went up late. "Look for players not plays" said Brees Michael Mayer was dominant on the opening drive, then for the next 50 minutes or so had one reception for all of 10 yards before taking over on the eventual game-winning drive led by Jack Coan. That simply can't happen.

2. Offensive Line is a Mess

Notre Dame was sacked six times by Clemson in the ACC Championship game last year. That's how many times Toledo was able to sack Notre Dame passers on Saturday as the tackle positions were turnstyles. It likely won't matter against Purdue next week but if it doesn't improve quickly then it's going to be a real problem doing anything offensively against Wisconsin in two weeks.

1. Two Quarterbacks Better Than One?

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Jack Coan is a statue, something we've discussed a good amount here. That said, I wasn't about to think Tyler Buchner should get the keys to the Ferrari for what was the eventual game-winning drive. I'm about as anti-two quarterbacks as you'll ever find but with the way Toledo was pressuring Coan, there was no choice but to go to Buchner, who especially made the Rockets pay on the touchdown pass to Tyree after rolling out. I do wonder if things would have opened up a bit sooner though had Buchner been allowed to throw the ball a bit earlier. As anti-two quarterbacks as I tend to be, Notre Dame doesn't win today without both of them which could very well be the story for much of the season to come. It's 2-0. It's ugly, but it's 2-0 and I'll take that 10 times out of 10 instead of being 1-1.

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