Set aside for the moment the injuries and the suspensions, the botched holds and the missed kicks.
It's the offense.
More specifically, it's the inability of the offense to be effective when the game depends on it.
To be clear, I don't care how often we run, or what scheme we use. I care only that when the game hangs in the balance, we can count on our offense.
And we'll never find a better example of just how ineffective this offense is than our lone series in overtime against Northwestern.
At that point, we had a chance to win. Despite the horrific defense and the missed field goal in regulation. Despite the brain cramp in going for two and in failing to efficiently run out the clock with the game in hand.
So what do we do against Northwestern, which just this week surrendered 291 yards rushing (6.2 ypc) against Ill-a-fucking-nois?
Three straight passes.
That tells anybody all they need to know about Brian Kelly's offense.
With a quarterback with roughly 20 career starts, who according to Kelly fits what Kelly prefers to do on offense. With an experienced offensive line. With numerous capable targets at receiver. With two talented running backs.
Kelly's best shot at moving the chains and winning the game -- against a spectacularly horrible Northwestern rushing defense -- is to chuck the ball three times.
Three passes, three incompletions.
Put it on Kelly's tombstone.
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