There was no twist. The script was so plain and predictable that the movie looked like a sequel to a reboot to a legend that everyone already knew. The only variable in the game was the clock, which seemed to click at an interminable pace after the first quarter.
Notre Dame put a 13-5 shellacking on Harvard at Arlotta Stadium in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The win sends the Irish to their ninth quarterfinals appearance in the program's history, the fifth straight for the once-outpost concern. Harvard ends their 2014 campaign with 10 wins, the highest total for the team since the Crimson went 10-6 in 2011.
Notre Dame drowned Harvard in a bloodbath right from the start: In a 3:05 stretch midway through the first quarter, the Irish blitzed the Crimson for three goals and set the game's tone and shape. The Irish would stretch their lead to 7-0 over the next 13:27, a 23:35 span that defined the Irish's role as a sociopathic murderer with a desire to splatter the Crimson's insides all over the field in front of a national television audience. Two of Notre Dame's first seven goals came from man-up postures, exploiting one of the Crimson's biggest issues this season (Notre Dame would finish 3-8 with the extra attacker in their favor). Harvard would get its first score of the game 10 seconds after Notre Dame deposited its seventh (ending a 23:45 scoring drought to open the game), but that Will Walker tally was like Lysol attempting mask what was already ingrained in the carpet: The Crimson dug a hole, one of their own issue, that the Irish grasped with an advantageous and emotionless smile.
Walker's bucket would prove to be the start of a four-goal run for the Crimson that drew Harvard within 7-4 with 6:54 remaining in the third period (the scoring rush took 14:21 for Harvard), but the push was merely an outlier to the game's overall scope: Scoring the game's next five goals to take a 12-4 lead, the Irish shut the Crimson out for 19:19 and resumed its merciless serial killing until Deke Burns scored a late goal with just under three minutes remaining in regulation.
In totem, Notre Dame pounded in 12 goals in two combined 43:04 scoreless stretches for Harvard. That's a poor eulogy for a team that helped choose the form of its death.
TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE
|Raw Offensive Efficiency
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities
|Team Save Percentage