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Notre Dame Dominates Undefeated Clemson

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

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Written by Nick Kremer, Editor for The Irish Tribune

Nine games into his coaching tenure at Notre Dame, and Marcus Freeman has his first victory over a top 5 opponent. The Irish dominated undefeated and number 4 Clemson under the lights in Notre Dame Stadium Saturday night 35-14.

Photo from 247 Sports

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☘️ Special Teams

Brian Mason’s impact on the Notre Dame football team did not take long. Just nine games into his coaching career at Notre Dame, and he has the Irish Special Teams playing at an elite level. Once again, the Notre Dame Special Teams came up with a huge play that completely changed the game. Jordan Botehlo came right up the middle, got a hand on it, and Prince Kollie was able to take the blocked punt to the end-zone. That makes 6 blocked punts in 9 games, and puts the Irish at number 1 in the nation for blocked punts.

Special Teams Player(s) of the Game - Jordan Botelho/Prince Kollie

☘️ Defense

Al Golden and the Notre Dame defense put on a show Saturday night. Notre Dame forced two interceptions, both by Freshman Benjamin Morrison, who had a phenomenal game. Morrison had the two interceptions, one for a touchdown, and added 7 total tackles. Morrison is a future All-American if he keeps playing this way.

The front seven played extremely well in this game. Play after play their physicality over-matched Clemson. The Tigers struggled to get a consistent ground game going, rushing for 90 yards on 25 attempts. JD Bertrand had an outstanding game, leading the Irish defense with 9 solo tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for loss.

The Notre Dame defense was able to dominate the Tiger’s offense with great stunts and blitzes called by Golden. This led to Clemson struggling to find any rhythm offensively on Saturday night. DJ Uiagalelei went 27/39 for 191 yards passing in the game and the Irish had 4 sacks and 7 tackles for loss in the game. Overall, Al Golden and his game plan was extremely impressive, and a huge reason the Irish won this game over the #4 Clemson Tigers.

Defensive Player of the Game - Benjamin Morrison

Photo from Ben Morrison Instagram @bennmorrisonn

☘️ Running Game

Coming into this game, Clemson had the #7 ranked rush defense in the country. That did not slow down Tommy Rees and this rush attack. The Irish offense carried the ball 47 times for 263 yards against this stout defense. Diggs had 17 carries for 114 yards (6.7 YPC) and Estime had 18 carries for 104 yards (5.8 YPC) and a touchdown.

Tommy Rees has been the focus of a lot of criticism throughout this year, but you have to give credit where credit is due. Tommy Rees put together, and executed a phenomenal game plan. He was a step ahead of Clemson’s defense all night, all while being limited to a barely functional pass attack. Tommy Rees had his unit prepared and firing on all cylinders in this one, and it paid off in a huge way.

Harry Heistand has the Offensive Line playing elite football. The legend that is Harry Hiestand is very much real, and it shows with the production up front; This unit is excellent. Joe Alt, Jarrett Patterson, and Blake Fisher are all going to be making big-time money in the NFL. Zeke Correll and Josh Lugg have elevated their game in an enormous way since the start of the season. The Clemson defense knew what was coming, and they could not stop it; that is 100% due to the Oline play. The Offensive Line was physical, assignment sound, and dominant in this game. Give Hiestand a huge raise, Notre Dame.

Offensive Player(s) of the Game - The Offensive Line

☘️ Atmosphere

Over the years I have heard and witnessed all the complaints about the atmosphere at Notre Dame stadium: It’s not loud enough, we need a better home-field advantage, we aren’t crazy enough, etc. Those days are over after this game. The atmosphere at Notre Dame stadium was absolutely electric Saturday night. There were multiple moments in the game that Clemson was impacted by the thunderous atmosphere.

The green pom-poms for the crowd were a great touch, and if the Irish fan-base could somehow find a way to wear one color (green), then we could see the atmosphere take another step forward. In talking with people that were at the game, and hearing it on tv, the crowd was the loudest it has been in a long time.

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☘️ Pass Game

Notre Dame dominated Clemson for the entire game in every category except one, the passing game. Drew Pyne played well, for what he was asked to do, and led the Irish to an emotional victory. Drew Pyne went 9/17 for 85 yards and 1 touchdown. Tommy Rees and the Irish offense have embraced this identity, and it should lead to a strong finish to the season, but the passing game has to improve in a big way for this team to take the next step.

Photo from Elizabeth Michelle Gaines


Overall, this was a win that can propel Marcus Freeman and the Notre Dame football team to monumental heights. This game showed everyone that Freeman is capable of taking this team to the next level. We did not get many victories over a top 5 team under the previous head coach, or even the past 4 coaches. This is one that we, as fans, should truly cherish and embrace. However, something tells me that this is just a glimpse of the great things to come for this new era of Notre Dame football; The Freeman Era.


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