It wasn't a good evening to be a supporter of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Wednesday night.
They set a very ignominious record, having lost their ninth straight bowl game, this time the Sugar Bowl to LSU, 41-14, in the Louisiana Superdome. Their last bowl win was the 1994 Cotton Bowl over Texas A&M. Unfortunately, the Irish (and Charlie Weis) are slowly gaining a reputation for not "winning the big one," and last night's game certainly won't help matters in that area very much.
ND spotted LSU an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but Brady Quinn threw two TDs to tie up the game late in the second. But LSU QB Jamarcus Russell ran five yards just before the half to give LSU the halftime lead, 21-14.
The Irish piled up over 260 yards in offense in the first half, but they fell completely apart in the second half. They were stymied by a tough LSU defense, who allowed just 30 yards the rest of the way. Russell threw a 58-yard bomb to basically put the game away at 34-14 late in the third quarter. Russell, who has a cannon of an arm, made it look easy. The junior QB threw two TDs, and went 21-for-34 for 332 yards. His next stop may indeed be the NFL, as he come out in this April's draft.
It was a miserable ending of a Notre Dame career for Brady Quinn, who went just 15-for-35 and 148 yards and 2 interceptions. He leaves the Irish with most of the school's passing records, but with no bowl victories. ND suffered three defeats this season, and they got hammered in all three. Unfortunately, Notre Dame just wasn't in the class of teams like Ohio State and Michigan.
At the end, the LSU fans chanted "o-ver-rated" at the Fighting Irish. It's painful for me to say it, but it's hard to argue with that assessment. Charlie Weis and his staff have a lot of work to do over the next few months to dispell that notion.