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A Snow-tastic Domination

Photo Credit: NDinsider

Thirty years ago, on senior day, Notre Dame played in one of the most memorable games of their storied history. It was highlighted by a late touchdown pass from Rick Mirer to Jerome Bettis with 25 seconds remaining to make the score 16-15. Trailing by a point to Penn State, who was ranked # 8 at the time, then head coach Lou Holtz decided to go for the win and the 2 point conversion instead of kicking the extra point for the tie. In very dramatic fashion Mirer found Reggie Brooks who made a miraculous diving catch in the corner of the end zone that sealed the victory for the Irish in what has become known in Notre Dame lore as the Snow Bowl.

It was also snowing on Saturday as the Irish defeated Boston College 44-0 in the final home game of the 2022 season. Though the results of both senior days were similar, Notre Dame earning the wins, the elements were a little harsher for the Snow Bowl II. Visibility was severely limited due to a second half snow storm, and the only thing colder than the temperature is my ex when I have to pass her in the hallway at work.

The game was over soon after the opening kickoff as Boston College’s Emmett Morehead was picked on his third play from scrimmage by the freshman phenom Benjamin Morrison. Morrison, who has the maturity of a 10 year NFL vet, is quickly becoming a fan favorite. He would end the game with 3 interceptions, a feat not accomplished since 2010 when Harrison Smith did it in Notre Dame’s victory over Miami in the Sun Bowl. If Irish fans need help remembering who led them at quarterback that day, they need look no further than their own offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees. Oh, and it snowed that day also.

Speaking of offense, the Irish were led on Saturday by a dominating offensive line. Dominating might not actually be a strong enough word to describe them as they were opening up holes so large, Irish fans suspected all of time and matter was about to be sucked through to a different dimension. It seems puzzling now to think this offensive line was not even nominated for the Joe Moore award this year.

Reaping the benefits of Jarrett Patterson and company’s domination were the “Trinity on the Turf” Diggs, Estimae, and Tyree who combined between the three of them for 281 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns.

Defensively the Irish surrendered 173 total yards, including only 56 rushing. A stark contrast to the 255 rushing yards Notre Dame gave up to Navy the week prior. JD Bertrand, 5 tackles, returned to the field after missing last week’s game due to a groin injury. Jack Kiser also had a solid game with 3 tackles and a sack. The Irish defense would finish the frigid day creating 5 turnovers on their way to pitching the shutout.

History was made right before half as senior Isiah Foskey’s sack of Morehead would earn him the all-time sack leading record at Notre Dame with 25, surpassing the old record of 24.5 held by Justin Tuck.

History was also made, once again, by the, already a legend, Michael Mayer as he would go on to surpass the 2,000 receiving yards mark for his career.

The only thing Irish fans might be a little upset about, other than having to endure another week of Jack Collinsworth and Jason Garrett calling games, was although the kicking game was perfect going 3 for 3 in field goals by Blake Grupe for the day, there was no punt blocked by Brian Mason’s heralded group. A feat many Irish fans of come to expect.

Boston College appeared sluggish from the start. The only life they showed was from a certain former Notre Dame quarterback who chose to look rather petty on social media before kickoff. BC looked about as interested in Saturday’s game as I look whenever my neighbor starts talking about his garden. A man should not be able to talk that much about fertilizer in one lifetime.

Although both Snow Bowls resulted in victories, there was something oddly familiar about Saturday’s game that Irish fans haven’t seen since… well, maybe the last Snow Bowl 30 years ago. It was something seemingly insignificant, and the play wouldn’t result in any yards gained, but in the 4th quarter with Notre Dame already up 44-0, Drew Pyne threw a pass to little used TE Davis Sherwood in the end zone. Pyne would overthrow Sherwood on the play, but the Irish were actually trying to score again, already with an insurmountable lead.

This was a change in the philosophy of old where Notre Dame just wanted to play conservatively and run out the clock with a lead. This play, while ultimately unsuccessful, was a kill shot from a team that hasn’t flexed its muscles or pounded its chest in a very long time.

Was this an attempt not to blow a second half lead like the Irish have done so frequently this season? Was this part of the new culture Marcus Freeman is creating to let his players know they are turning the page on the Notre Dame ways of the past? Or was Freeman sending a message to the college football world that the Irish are working their way back to being the toughest kids on the block?

Freeman and his coaches looked prepared and back in sync after last week’s second half collapse against Navy. They will need to be as they head to Los Angeles on Saturday to take on 7th ranked USC in the season finale. Early weather forecasts are predicting a high of 75 degrees. No need for the Irish to pack the heavy snow coats they wore today, but they will most certainly need to bring their newly discovered killer mindset. Thirty years ago Holtz’s teams had it, maybe Freeman and his team found it against Boston College on Saturday.

Photo Credit: WSBT


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