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One Inch From Bedlam In The Bend: Looking Ahead To Top 20 Showdown In Durham, NC.

By Cade Harper Contributor|Twitter/X|@CadeHarperIT

Photo from Matt Cashore


Whether you like it or not, Ohio St - Notre Dame will go down as one of the greatest games ever played in Notre Dame Stadium and without a doubt, college football history. Obviously it didn’t turn out the way we all hoped and dreamed it would, but this team played their heart out till the very end and it showed. Giving credit where it’s due, the Buckeyes capitalized on opportunities that were given to them unlike the Irish multiple times by missing their opportunities and conversions. Now that this week is over, the Irish have fallen two spots to #11. So what’s to learn from and how to get past the heartbreak?


Photo by Notre Dame Athletics

You can blame the referees, the coaches, whatever you want. Notre Dame didn’t capitalize on the opportunities given to them. Was it the controversial failed 4th down conversion on Notre Dame's first drive when they marched down the field? Was it Spencer Shrader's missed 47 yard field goal? Was it multiple missed calls on both sides of the ball, for both teams even? Notre Dame lost this game themselves more than Ohio State won it if you can find a way for that to make sense to yourselves. However, I want to give credit where credit is due, the Buckeyes played their own gutsy, classic Ryan Day, type of game and Notre Dame tried going to the redzone twice in the first half coming out with zero points due to once again, failed opportunities. I want to make it known that I, along with very many other fans I'm sure, are incredibly impressed with how this team played on Saturday night. This isn't the same team 4 years ago where it could've been a blowout with Brian Kelly. Freeman has our guys where we want them, it's only a matter of time. Multiple guys stepped up to the tough challenge being Javonte Jean-Baptiste tying the team high of tackles with 8 total. Top defensive backs Benjamin Morrison & Cam Hart kept amazing coverage all night on the #1 Wide Receiver in the 2024 NFL Draft Marvin Harrison Jr holding him to just 3 catches for 32 yards. Best of luck to him as his ankle continues to heal. As always the running backs showed up after having a slow start. Jeremiyah Love had some electric plays as did Gi'Bran Payne putting the Irish on the board first with a fantastic run out of the Wildcat formation. Audric Estime per usual used his 227 lbs of pure muscle to get us hard fought gains with some strong breakthroughs for big yardage here and there rushing for 70 yards on 14 carries. Hartman is still turnover-less through 4 games and has done an exceptional job protecting the football. Hartman is still Top 10 in QBR with 86.8. Best player on the offensive side of the ball for the Irish on Saturday was easily Mitch Evans. The kid played out of his mind having a SportsCenter Top 10 moment early on with the stunning one handed snag. Not to mention being leading receiver in catches and yards by a decently large margin (7 Catches, 75 yards) Gerad Parker is finally using these tight ends the way we should and it seems like him and Holden Staes are finally starting to breakout of their shell. I'd also love to give an honorable mention to Rico Flores for getting his first collegiate touchdown on the biggest stage with a clean toe tap in the back of the end zone for a clutch touchdown to give Notre Dame the lead in the half way point of the 4th quarter.

Photo by FanSided


If there’s one thing we learned from this Saturday's game it’s to own our mistakes, which I think we did as Coach Freeman stated in the post game press conference, but it’s time to move on as we have an extremely tough game under the lights in Durham, NC on ABC primetime as the Irish take on Duke. The Blue Devils aren’t to be messed with as they are still currently 4-0 with a nice 40 point win over UCONN this weekend and an impressive blowout ranked win over Clemson in Week 1. The last time the Irish played in Durham was 2019 with Ian Book, it was an absolute massacre of a win (38 - 7). This time, it's a bigger test after an interesting week after all the panic and concern. One of the most talented dual threat QB's in the ACC, Riley Leonard has been nothing short of great so far. The Blue Devil defense is the best defense in the ACC and top 5 across the NCAA allowing just 8.8 points per game, that's 4th in the league to be exact. Much like Notre Dame, they have a very talented pass defense with high pass efficiency numbers. This should be a fun one this coming Saturday. Notre Dame opens up as just -2 point favorites with an over/under set at 51.5, some sportsbooks have the Irish set at -5.5 point favorites. Despite coming off the heartbreaking loss, I'm very confident that this team will not miss a beat and prove their best football is yet to come. It's still early in the year and the mistakes will correct themselves. As fans, we have to stick with these players and do nothing but give them our support and scream our heads off for them in the stands and through our TV's. I truly believe our College Football Playoff hopes are very much still alive and well. Notre Dame's next home game is another ranked showdown against our rivals in Southern Cal, currently ranked 8th in the country again on NBC primetime in two weeks, then we will travel to off brand Death Valley on November 4th to take on Clemson who just fell to a heartbreaker at home as well to 4th ranked Florida State. If we win out, they will end up being two very good wins on our resume if we can make it happen. Let's take it one game at a time though and believe in these boys that they get the job done this week first. Beat Duke. Love Thee. Go Irish.

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