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Brady Quinn is KILLING this team. And Charlie Weis isn't helping. These were the thoughts I gave voice to on Saturday as Notre Dame was stopped after going for it on fourth-and-eight from just over midfield with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.

At the time I was completely convinced they were going to be the lead for this column – even though one of the greatest comebacks in the 20 years I have been watching Irish football was underway. And since I know a good lead when I hear one and I'm a fairly stubborn fellow, I decided to stick with it.

At the time, even at just a 10-point deficit, my mood was sour and about to get more so when a rampaging Spartan running back doing his best to channel Ironhead Heyward ran 30 yards through a blinding rainstorm to get MSU's lead back to a seemingly-intractable 16 points – just one fewer than the number Notre Dame decided to spot the Spartans in one of the most horrid first quarters of football I've ever seen.

As Brady's pass fell depressingly and completely predictably incomplete, my wife, who is surprisingly football-literate and is able to withstand my sometimes violent outbursts during bad games (of which she has seen more than her fair share as we met during the halcyon days of the Bob Davie regime) with equanimity, looked at me and said, "Well, nobody can say Charlie doesn't have huge gonads."

It was a good line and indicative of why I married her. And if I wasn't seething with frustration at the time, I might have appreciated it earlier than I did. I certainly did by the time Jeff Samardzija scampered into the end zone on a fourth-and-five play later on.

But at the time I wasn't able to for a number of reasons. After the ensuing Caulcrick touchdown, here was the situation: It was a monsoon and we couldn't run the ball; on the next series Brady mishandled two snaps in the rain; and until that point, every time we got close we shot ourselves in the foot. Forgive me but, given our decade-long track record and the way we played a week earlier, I found my faith severely tested.

What I did NOT do was what I did on the November 29, 1986. Home from Notre Dame for Thanksgiving break of my freshman year and attending a huge party at my friend's house, I gave up on the Irish. The allure of high school girls, utter frustration at what would be our seventh loss that year and many, many beers all conspired to cause me to leave the TV I was watching and turn my attention away from the beating we were suffering at the hands of USC.

Thankfully, others were watching. Someone remembered my affiliation and called me back to the TV as Tim Brown was finishing up that incredible punt return to set up John Carney's game-winner – during the commercial break, of course. So, CBS' gaffe notwithstanding, I was able to see the end of the game.

I vowed then to never leave the set before time expired, no matter what. From that moment, to this Saturday I remained unrewarded. In 1993 against Fredo and last year against the same MSU team we came all the way back from huge deficits but couldn't close the deal. On Saturday, nearly 20 years later, came the payoff.

I'm not going to lie. It was sweet.

The holes in this team have been well documented in the pages of Irish Eyes. And no one here is being egregiously pessimistic. Brady Quinn HAS been alarmingly erratic. Darius IS getting bottled up behind an offensive line that isn't getting much push. Shark HAS seemed to take some plays off. Rhema IS dropping balls he shouldn't. Tommy Z IS a bit too careless with the ball on punt returns. Our linebackers ARE undersized and getting pushed around a bit. The corners WERE abused against Michigan.

All those facts are true. And they hurt this team. But it's also true that Brady threw one of the nicest fades and Rhema made one of the nicest catches I've seen in a while. That the defensive line sacked up in the second half. That Tommy Z hustled and made a great open-field tackle on Stanton when he had a TON of room to run. That Nedu single-handedly tore the game out of Stanton's hands. That Mike Richardson is the unsung hero of our secondary. That this team won't give up.

My wife is right. Charlie DOES have huge gonads. Whether that's enough to propel this team into Los Angeles at 10-1 is an open question. Regardless, it will pay dividends down the line. His team clearly believes in him and in themselves. On Saturday that translated into the biggest comeback win in 20 years.

No one had to call me back to the TV this time. And no one ever will. Top Stories