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No More New Year's Six: Irish Fail on All Facets against Tigers

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter/X: @LiamFarrell_IT

Via Clemson Football


Clemson, SC. - Notre Dame had their most flat performance on the 2023 season today against the 4-4 Clemson Tigers. A multitude of errors occurred in the first half for the Irish, which can be highlighted by a Chris Tyree dropped punt, and a Sam Hartman pick six. Clock management was another issue this week with Marcus Freeman electing to take two timeouts into the half with him as Clemson had 3rd and long in their own territory. The defense had massive missed tackling issues, as well. In the second half, the Irish offense just couldn't get anything going. The Notre Dame defense kept the Irish in the game with countless amounts of stops; however, the Irish were pinned deep in their zone on every offensive possession and couldn't get anything going. Let's breakdown the Irish performance from today's game.





Offense

Via Notre Dame Football


Audric Estime. Estime was the lone shining spot for the Irish offense today. He had ___ yards on ___ carries, and was single handily moving the ball for the Irish. He was breaking multiple tackles, and even hurdled two players on one play, as shown above.


Lack of Efficiency. Anytime you have to kick field goals instead of punching it in for 7, it hurts. Notre Dame had three good scoring chances in the first half of the game that all resulted in a Spencer Shrader field goal. These stands by the Clemson defense continued to build momentum for their entire team.


Sam Hartman. Hartman didn't have his A game in this one today, and has been an extremely inconsistent player this year. The pick six was a gut shot in the first half, and the tipped pass to Gi'Bran Payne on 3rd down really hurt. However, in the second half after Clemson's long touchdown drive; Hartman took matters into his own hands with a gutsy 26-yard touchdown run. Nonetheless, as a whole, it appears the Irish offense has just become extremely stagnant, and Hartman hasn't been able to revolutionize and be a game changer on the offensive end.


Gerad Parker. If you look anywhere on Notre Dame twitter, everyone wants Parker fired. Some people asking why we aren't throwing the ball at all, and others asking to give Audric Estime the ball every time. Parker hasn't been great, yes, but his offense isn't helping him out either. Interior O-Lineman missing blocks and wide receivers not being able to create separation have been the death toll for this Irish offense.





Defense

Via Notre Dame Football


4th Quarter Play. Even though this game might have been the worst for this Notre Dame defense, they kept the Irish in the game with their incredible fourth quarter defensive performance. Countless times, special teams and the offense left Clemson with a short field, and the Notre Dame defense did not give up a point.


2nd String Substitution. On the Clemson scoring drive that went 9 plays for 75 yards, and didn't feature a single Klubnik incompletion, the Irish had both Jaden Mickey and Christian Gray in the game. In a game with this magnitude, I have to wonder why Benjamin Morrison and Cam Hart aren't in every snap of the game. We didn't do this against USC or Ohio State, so why would we do it on the road against Clemson in a one score game?


Tackling. The missed tackles were atrocious in this one. Howard Cross had a missed tackle that led to a big gain on Clemson's scoring drive, and Marist Liufau was late to spots on many plays in this game. The Irish defense, which has been the absolute backbone of this team, just threw out their poorest performance of the season in this one.


Pass Rush. Klubnik was barely pressured in this one, and the Irish pass rush was nowhere to be found, with the exception of one play at the end of the third quarter. Many of Clemson's throws were quick hitters, but Klubnik never got hit today. The quick throws against the blitzes killed the Irish, and the slants on 2nd and long and 3rd and long were very predictable from offensive coordinator, Garrett Riley.





Special Teams and Coaching


The Muff. Chris Tyree had that extremely electrifying punt return last week; however, his dropped punt was an ultimate momentum shifter in this one. Special Teams were the reason the Irish were able to absolutely control Clemson last year in South Bend, and it seemed a bit deja vu for this year.


Punts. The Special Teams punting unit did not do a great job on containing the Clemson return. Many line drive punts allowed Clemson to set up and formulate a big punt return, leaving the Notre Dame defense short handed.


Clock Management. I touched on this last week, but I am unsure what Marcus Freeman is doing with the clock at the end of the first half. You have Clemson behind the chains, on 3rd and long, and elect to not call a timeout with 46 seconds left. You have Shrader and his giant leg. His trust in Hartman and the offense has significantly depleted since the beginning of the year, and that was evident with his extremely conservative coaching.

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