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Irish Report Card: Notre Dame 45, NC State 24

Written By: Phil Kowalis ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter: @PhilKowalisIT

Photo By Ethan Hyman/The Charlotte Observer

Notre Dame faced its toughest test of the season on the road against North Carolina State. While the offense struggled for the first time this season, they managed to create enough big plays to put 45 points on the scoreboard.

The Irish defense completely shut down the Wolfpack running game and the Irish secondary picked off Brennan Armstrong three times as the Irish used a big fourth quarter to cruise to an easy victory over the Wolfpack to go to 3-0 on the season.


Offensive Line/Tight Ends - Grade C

The Wolfpack defense provided the toughest test to date for the Irish offensive line, and for the first time this season the Irish offensive line struggled in both the running game and protecting the passer.

The Irish finished the game with 170 yards on 37 carries for a 4.6-yard average, but 80 of those yards came on one carry, as Audric Estime galloped through the Wolfpack defense on the first play of the second quarter to put the Irish ahead 10-0.

Take away that long run and the Irish finish the game with less than 100 yards rushing.

The offensive line also struggle in pass protection as quarterback Sam Hartman was under pressure most of the afternoon and was sacked four times.

The only reason this grade is not worse is because of the production of the Irish tight ends. Holden Staes caught four passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns and Davis Sherwood also found the endzone as the tight end group had its second straight strong performance.

Quarterback/Running backs - Grade B

Sam Hartman struggled at times but produced big plays when the Irish offense needed them and finished the game going 15-24 passing for 286 yards and four touchdowns on the afternoon. Hartman had three competitions of more than 40-yards as the Irish offense relied on the big play all afternoon.

Audric Estime led the Irish on the ground with 134 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, Estime also caught two passes for 22 yards.

Jadarian Price added 31 yards on 7 carries and Jeremiyah Love had six carries for 24 yards as Notre Dame continues to rotate four running backs.

Wide Receivers - Grade C

For the second game in a row production from the wide receivers was almost nonexistent. Chris Tyree had two catches for 68 yards Tobias Merriweather had a 45-yard reception and Jaden Greathouse caught a 13-yard touchdown pass and ended the day with 3 catches for 15 yards.

Dion Colzie went without a catch for the second week in a row and Jayden Thomas was also held without a catch but did have a key block on Estime's 80-yard touchdown run.

Photo By Ethan Hyman/ The Charlotte Observer


Defensive Line - Grade A

The Notre Dame defensive line turned in their third straight strong performance, as they shut down the NC State running game limiting the Wolfpack to 84 yards on 30 carries holding the Wolfpack to only 2.8 yards per attempt.

Howard Cross and Javontae Jean-Baptiste each recorded 5 tackles on the day and Junior Tuihalamaka added four tackles and Donovan Hinish had three tackles and recorded the only sack of the day for the Irish defense.

Linebackers - Grade B

The Irish Linebackers had another good performance as they teamed with the defensive line to keep Wolfpack quarterback Brennan Armstong from making any big plays with his legs as they held the Wolfpack signal caller to only 26 yards on 12 carries on the day.

Jack Kiser led the linebacking corps with six tackles three of them being solo.

Marist Liufau had five tackles one for loss and JD Bertrand also added five tackles before leaving the game early in the third quarter with what is being reported to be a head injury.

Defensive Backs - Grade A-

The Notre Dame secondary turned in a game changing effort against the Wolfpack intercepting Armstrong on back-to-back Wolfpack possessions early in the fourth quarter,

to set the offense up in short field situations that were both cashed in for touchdowns as the

Irish were able to turn a close one score game into a comfortable win.

DJ Brown and Xavier Watts had the fourth quarter picks of Armstrong and Benjamin Morrison also had an interception early in the first quarter, Morrison should have had another interception but let what should have been an easy interception slip through his fingers.

Thomas Harper had his best game of the season, leading the Irish in tackles with seven, three of them being solo tackles. Harper was also credited with two pass break ups on the day.

Brown added 5 tackles four of them being of the solo variety as the Irish secondary had their best game of the season.

Special Teams: Grade B

Kicker Spencer Shrader was a perfect six for six on PAT attempts and went one for two on field goals making a 54 yarder and having a 56-yard attempt bang of the left upright.

Punter Bryce McFerson had a good game punting averaging 50.7 yards on his six attempts, with a long of 59 yards.

Jadarian Price averaged 22.5 yards on his two kickoff returns.


The Irish did not play their best game but still made enough plays to escape Raliegh with a fairly easy 21-point victory to stay unbeaten on the season. Next week Notre Dame returns home to face the Central Michigan Chippewas.

The Chippewas defeated New Hampshire 45-42 on a field goal as time expired to improve to 1-1 on the season.

1 Comment

Need to clean up all the penalties.Hartman played well but missed a couple of throws he normally makes. Offensive lines needs to work on pass protection, Also Notredame needs to start fast every game. Start with a few wrinkles.

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