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Irish Report Card: Ohio State 17, Notre Dame 14

By: Phil Kowalis ∣ Writer ∣ Twitter: @PhilKowalisIT

Photo By: Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch


In a game that saw Notre Dame go toe to toe with Ohio State, the Irish somehow managed to make just enough mistakes to once again fall one play short of the much need perception changing victory.


Buckeye running back Chip Trayanum scored on a 1 yard run with one second left on the clock to cap a 15 play 65-yard drive and deny the Irish the win. The Irish played the final two defensive plays having just 10 men on the field. Let's see what grades the Irish received after suffering their first loss of the season.


Photo By: Michael Caterina/AP

OFFENSE:

Offensive Line/ Tight Ends: Grade B-

The offensive line did not play a bad game and actually dominated the Buckeye defensive front for most of the second half. Notre Dame finished the game with 176 yards on 39 carries for an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. Those numbers on most occasions should be enough to secure an Irish victory in most contests.


The Offensive Line came up short on three key occasions. As the Irish offense was unable to convert on fourth and one, inside Ohio State territory, on Notre Dame's first possession of each half.


Then with the Irish attempting to run out the clock, Ohio State defensive tackle Tyleik Williams was able to break through and drop Sam Hartman for a five-yard loss, leading to Notre Dame having to punt the ball back to the Buckeyes and setting up their game winning drive. Notre Dame tight end Mitchell Evans had the best game of his career catching seven passes for 75 yards on the night.


Quarterback/Running backs: Grade B

Sam Hartman completed 17 of 25 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, a two-yard toss to Rico Flores Jr, to give the Irish a 14-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter. In a game that the Irish needed Hartman to be at his best the Irish quarterback fell just a little short, as Hartman was out played by Buckeye quarterback Kyle McCord.


Audric Estime led the Irish on the ground rushing for 70 yards on 14 carries and Jeremiyah Love provided a spark for the Irish running game adding 57 yards on just eight carries. While the five headed monster at running back has been a fun story to follow in the early part of the season, I believe it has come time to shorten the rotation at running back, as Estime only getting 14 carries is just not enough. The fact that Estime was not on the field pounding a Buckeye defense that was clearly on their heels as the Irish were trying to run out the clock is simply inexcusable.


Wide Receivers: Grade C

Irish wide receivers caught eight passes for only 98 yards on the night. The fact that Hartman continues to spread the ball around and take what the defense gives him makes the production of this group hard to evaluate.


Flores Jr. led the wide receivers with three catches and Jaden Greathouse had two catches for 40 yards. Flores Jr. and Greathouse were the only Irish wide receivers to catch multiple passes in the game.

Photo By: Matt Cashore/USA Today

Defense

Defensive Line: Grade - B

The Notre Dame defensive line turned in their fifth straight strong effort against the run, holding Ohio State to 126 yards on 27 carries a 4.7 yard per carry average. That number is a little deceiving as 61 of those yards came on one carry as TreVeyon Henderson took the first carry of the second half to the house to give the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead. Without Henderson's run the Buckeyes were held to 65 yards on their other 26 attempts for an average of just 2.5 per carry.


Javontae Jean- Baptiste was all over the field as he recorded eight tackles against his former team. Howard Cross added six tackles on the night. The defensive line continues to struggle to generate any type of consistent pass rush as the Irish only recorded one sack on the evening.


Linebackers: - Grade B-

JD Bertrand returned from concussion protocol, to lead the linebacking unit in tackles with eight. The Irish linebackers had a strong game against the run but struggled against the pass as Ohio State tight end Cade Stover exploited the linebacking unit for seven catches on the game. The Irish linebackers also continue to be ineffective in the team's blitz packages.


Secondary: - Grade C

The Notre Dame secondary faced their toughest test of the season. While Marvin Harrison Jr. was held in check, finishing the game with only 32 yards on three catches, his running mate Emeka Egbuka was able to beat the Irish secondary for two key catches on the Buckeyes game winning drive.


Facing third and ten from their own 32-yard line Egbuka hauled in a pass from McCord for 23 yards to keep the Buckeye drive alive. Then facing third and 19 from the Notre Dame 22-yard line McCord found Egbuka again this time for 21 yards to the Irish 1-yard line setting up the Buckeyes winning score. Xavier Watts and Thomas Harper each had five tackles to lead the Irish secondary.


Special Teams: Grade - C-

Spencer Shrader made both PAT attempts to remain perfect on the season, but Shrader missed his only field goal attempt of the game a 47-yard attempt in the second quarter.

Punter Bryce McFerson averaged 46 yards on his two punts as he continues to have a strong season punting the football. Devyn Ford had a return of 23-yards on his only kick return of the game.

Overall:

Notre Dame suffered from missed opportunities and questionable coaching decisions and somehow snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, in a game the Irish seemed to have control of with less than four minutes remaining.


The Irish must regroup quickly as they head back to the road to face the undefeated Duke Blue Devils. The Blue Devils defeated UConn 41-7 to improve to 4-0 on the season.

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