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Here Come the Irish: Notre Dame vs Ohio State

Photo Credit: @ndfootball on Instagram

The Fighting Irish begin the 2022 season with a road game against Ohio State. The excitement surrounding this game cannot be overstated. The Buckeyes are annual championship contenders and bring a lot of NFL potential to this game. Needless to say, this should be a football game for the ages.

For the Notre Dame football program, this may be the biggest game in recent history. Games against Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and others have been exciting to watch, but there is a new excitement around this football team. Marcus Freeman has brought an energy and competitive spirit that seems to have been missing in recent seasons. Like most Irish fans, I find myself cautiously optimistic because our hopes have been quickly brought back down to reality in the past. Yet, many fans continue to find themselves growing more and more excited about this game.

Breaking Down Ohio State

Ryan Day enters his fourth season as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. With a 34-4 record in his first three seasons at Ohio State, Day will bring a competitive football team on September 3. After ending the 2021 season with an 11-2 record and missing out on the playoffs, Day looks to rebound with a big 2022 season. All of that starts when the Irish come to Columbus on Saturday.

Offensive Players to Know

CJ Stroud — QB #7

2021 Stats: 4435 passing yards, 44 touchdowns, 6 interceptions

TreVeyon Henderson — RB #32

2021 Stats: 1248 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns; 312 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns

Jaxson Smith-Njigba — WR #11

2021 Stats: 1606 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns

Marvin Harrison Jr. — WR #18

2021 Stats: 139 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns

Defensive Players to Know

Denzel Burke — CB #5

2021 Stats: 37 tackles, 1 interception, 1 touchdown

Ronnie Hickman — S #14

2021 Stats: 98 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown

Steele Chambers — LB #22

2021 Stats: 47 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception

Zach Harrison — DE #9

2021 Stats: 33 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles


Keys to an Irish Victory

1. Tyler Buchner must embrace the moment

Few quarterbacks in college football history have been able to embrace the moment of a big game, but fans immediately remember those who do. Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, and Deshaun Watson are a few that come to mind in recent history. By no means do I think a victory rests solely on Tyler Buchner's shoulders, but at the end of the day he must rise to the occasion and become the superstar we believe him to be. Buchner has an opportunity to immediately establish himself as a top college quarterback against the Buckeyes. If Tyler can embrace the moment and rise to the occasion on Saturday, I believe the Irish should win this football game.

2. The Defense must make CJ Stroud Uncomfortable

This may seem like an obvious statement, but few teams were able to rattle Stroud last season. After watching last year’s Ohio State game against Michigan, it became clear that the Wolverines never let Stroud get comfortable and this was the key to their victory over the Buckeyes. Isaiah Foskey, Rylie Mills, Jayson Ademilola, Justin Ademilola, Howard Cross III, and others must bring the pressure and make the quarterback feel uncomfortable all night long. If the defense can do this, I believe the Irish should be able to score enough points on offense to defeat the Buckeyes on Saturday.

3. The Offense must generate over 35 points

With an improved offensive line, I believe this offense should be able to become more explosive this season. This offense needs to generate more 35 points on offense, if they are going to stand a chance against an explosive Buckeye Offense. As I stated before, Tyler Buchner must have a huge day for the Irish, but guys like Chris Tyree, Lorenzo Styles, Michael Mayer, and others must play with a competitive edge on Saturday. If they do, I believe we could see one of the most explosive Notre Dame offenses in recent memory.


Final Take-

Will it be easy to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday? No, but I believe Marcus Freeman is reestablishing a competitive spirit at Notre Dame and this is infectious to the players. Notre Dame fans have grown accustomed to Irish football teams treating games like this with a “business-like” approach, but I think we are beginning to see a switch in this regard. This is a football team that is starting to show emotion, passion, and a competitive energy that has been severely lacking under former coach Brian Kelly. If Marcus Freeman can capture the magic that made Lou Holtz so successful, I believe we are going to see an Irish football team that believes they can win against any team in the nation. We will quickly see the answer on Saturday night as the Irish go to battle with the Buckeyes.

Go Irish!


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