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Irish Report Card: Notre Dame 56, Tennessee State 3

Written By Phil Kowalis|Writer|Twitter: @PhilKowalisIT

Photo by ON3

Notre Dame struggled early as Irish fans had to wonder what had happened to the team that had dominated Navy the previous week. Any concerns were put to rest as the Irish scored 28 unanswered points in the second quarter and held a 35-3 lead at the half.

Notre Dame had a chance to rest their starters for most of the second half as Tennessee State never posed a serious threat after the break as the Irish posted their second straight impressive performance cruising to 56-3 win over the Tigers to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Let's take a look at how the offense and defense preformed in the victory


Offensive Line/Tight Ends - Grade B

The Offensive line produced another solid outing against Tennessee State, but they did struggle against the Tiger's run blitz package allowing Tennessee State to rack up six tackles for loss on the afternoon.

The Irish's offensive line still managed to clear the way for 221 yards on 33 carries and three rushing touchdowns and did not allow a sack for the second consecutive game.

After not being targeted last week against Navy, Notre Dame's tight ends recorded their first catches of the season against Tennessee State.

Mitchell Evans racked up four catches for 61 yards and Holden Staes pulled in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hartman that put The Irish up 35-3 at the half.

Quarterbacks/Running backs - Grade A+

The Irish backfield produced another strong performance against Tennessee State.

Sam Hartman was nearly perfect again completing 14 of 17 passes for 194 yards and two scores and added a 5-yard rushing touchdown in his one half of action.

Steve Angeli saw the first extended playing time of his Notre Dame career as he replaced Hartman to start the second half and went completed eight of his 11 passing attempts good for 130 yards and he also threw a pair of touchdowns.

Audric Estime led the Irish in rushing for the second week in a row with 116 yards on only 13 carries and added a touchdown.

Jeremiyah Love continued to impress as he added 46 yards on 5 carries and scored the game's first touchdown on a 36-yard scamper through the Tiger's defense.

The Irish running backs were also active in the passing game as Jadarian Price and Gi'Bran Payne both caught touchdown passes from Angeli.

Wide Receivers - Grade B-

While not as impactful as last week the Irish wide receives had another good showing.

Jayden Thomas again led the group in both catches and yards with 4 catches for 62 yards on the afternoon.

Rico Flores Jr. and Jaden Greathouse each added two catches and Chris Tyree caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Hartman in the second quarter.

Irish fans are still waiting on the breakout game from Tobias Merriweather.

Merriweather did have his first two catches of the season, but they were good for only five yards.

Photo by 247 Sports


Defensive Line - Grade A

The Notre Dame Defensive line played another strong game holding Tennessee State to 91 yards rushing on 35 carries allowing only a 2.6 yard per carry average for the game.

Howard Cross again led the defensive line in tackles as he recorded six total tackles two of which were solo.

Jason Onye added five tackles two of the solo variety, and Jordan Botelho had a sack for the second week in a row.

Joshua Burnham had another impressive game with three tackles one for a loss.

Linebackers - Grade B

The Irish had another strong showing against Tennessee State helping the Irish defense hold Tennessee State to 158 yards of total offense and only 12 first downs for the game.

JD Bertrand led the Irish linebackers in tackles with five three solo and a tackle for loss.

Jaiden Ausberry and Marist Liufau each had three tackles in the game and Jack Kiser and Jaylen Sneed added two each.

Defensive backs - Grade A

After barely being challenged by Navy last week the Notre Dame secondary turned in a great performance against the Tigers.

The Tiger quarterback tandem of Deveon Bryant and Draylen Ellis combined for to complete only eight of 22 passes on the day for 67 yards, and Bryant was intercepted twice.

Notre Dame safety Ramon Henderson made a diving interception of a Bryant pass in the second quarter and cornerback Clarence Lewis picked off a Bryant pass late in the third quarter and returned it 33-yards for a pick-six to put Notre Dame ahead, 49-3.

Thomas Harper led the Irish secondary in tackles with three before being ejected late in the second quarter on a very controversial targeting call.

Special Teams - Grade C

It was an up and down performance for the Irish special teams unit as kick returner Devyn Ford fumbled, setting Tennessee State up at the Irish 12-yardline. Three plays and no yards later the Tigers were kept off the scoreboard when Jason Onye blocked the field goal attempt of Tigers kicker James Lowery.

After not punting in last week's win over Navy, Irish punter Bryce McFerson punted twice for a 43-yard average but was unable to pin the Tigers inside their own 20-yard line with either of his punts.

Matt Salerno averaged 10.5 yards per return on two punt returns.


Notre Dame did exactly what they were supposed to do by completely dominating an overmatched FCS opponent to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Next week the Irish will face their first true test of the season as they go road to face the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

The Wolfpack are 1-0 on the season after defeating UConn 24-14 to open the season.


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