Irish Beat Buckeyes Through Trench Warfare

The only guy that can stop Zach Brenneman is Kevin Corrigan. via www.hamptons.com

You know when you're driving down the street and some old bag in a Cadillac has her left turn signal on for, like, your entire trip to the grocery store?

Well, that's Notre Dame lacrosse.  You'll eventually get to your destination, but you're going to pull your hair out while en route.

After a week or so lay-off, the Irish held on last night against Ohio State, securing an 8-7 victory over the Buckeyes in South Bend.  It was an exciting ending -- Ohio State used a three-goal run over the last five minutes to tie the game, only to lose on a Sean Rogers goal with about 30 seconds left -- but an exciting ending should not be confused with a thrilling game.

Let me explain that last statement a little bit. Have you ever watched a movie that was mind-numbingly boring for an hour or so, and then an awesome fight scene happens in the last 30 minutes?  In the overall, the movie was garbage, but the ending was cool.  That's essentially what Ohio State-Notre Dame was last night.

When it was all said and done, the Buckeyes and Irish played a 51-possession game.*  Fifty-F'ing-One possessions.  If that game was a team, it'd be three possessions slower than Princeton.  This is the impact of the zone defense and an incessantly prodding, pragmatic offense: The game gets stuck in the mud, especially when Notre Dame wins 85% of its draws and has the opportunity to push the pace square into the ground.

This petulant style of play is nothing new to Notre Dame.  The Irish have played one game above the national pace average of 61 possessions per 60 minutes -- against Denver (a rollicking 62-possession affair).  In its other three games, Notre Dame has played a 51-possession snoozer against Penn State (a 6-2 victory, yeesh), a 52-possession shocker against Duke, and a 59-possession game against Drexel.

If it takes Kevin Corrigan winning a national title in 2011 for the agenda-setters of college lacrosse to do something about opening up the game, I will gladly welcome our one-year Notre Dame overlords.  On the other hand, if this is merely an indication of where teams will go in order to be successful, I'm probably going to go on a stabbing spree.

* For those that are a little lost on what a 51-possession game looks like, think about the Hopkins-Syracuse game from last weekend.  That game was in warp-drive compared to Ohio State-Notre Dame -- the 'Jays-Orange game was played at about 62 possessions per 60 minutes.  Yup.

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