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Quick Hitters: Irish Pass First FCS Test With Ease, Roll to 2-0

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter @LiamFarrell_IT

Via Notre Dame Football


Notre Dame had a little bit of a rocky start in the first quarter, but came into shape as the Irish rolled the Tennessee State Tigers. The offense was once again perfect in the first half, as Sam Hartman builds his resume of being the best Irish QB of the 21st century. The defense gave fans some worries early on, but they held strong when needed. Special Teams was a small cause for concern, but even on a rough day, they still had their first FG block since 2021. The game was a good opportunity to get every player quality reps, and some utilized this chance more than others.


Offense

Via Notre Dame Football


Sam Hartman. Another efficient day for Sam Hartman overall. The gunslinger scored every time he had the ball on 14/17 throwing with 2 TDs. In back-to-back weeks, Hartman has driven the ball downfield in a two minute drill, to have the Irish score right before half. This week, Hartman took the offense 80 yards in 38 seconds on 6/6 throwing.


Getting the Tight Ends Involved. Speaking of the two minute drill, Hartman utilized his tight ends on that entire drive. Mitch Evans and Holden Staes displayed the ability to get open and make great hands catches in traffic. Staes also held his own in the run blocking game, and showed that he can be quite physical as a blocker.


Running Back By Committee. Jeremiyah Love got the scoring started on his first rush of the game: a 36-yard touchdown while performing an impressive jump cut in the process. Audric Estime also broke a big run open and showed off some of the speed he gained during this offseason. My roommate, who is new to Notre Dame football, couldn't help but draw comparisons to Frank Gore while watching Estime gash the Tiger defense. Jadarian Price also unveiled his ability to make guys miss in space on a Steve Angeli assisted 40-yard touchdown. Gi'Bran Payne also capitalized on an Angeli check down with a 42-yard touchdown catch of his own.


Offensive Line. The Offensive Line looked a bit shaky on the first drive of the game, but settled in as the game progressed. The false start by Pat Coogan hurt and led to Notre Dame's first punt of the season but, for the most part, Hartman had plenty of time in the pocket.


Thomas and Tyree. Jayden Thomas and Chris Tyree did most of the heavy lifting for the Irish wide receiving room during this game. Thomas totaled 62 yards and Tyree had a 24-yard touchdown catch. Tobias Merriweather, who was anticipated by many fans to get a ton of touches this week, recorded a couple catches but no big explosive plays. Week Zero star Deion Colzie also didn't make an impact in this matchup.


Defense


Via Notre Dame Football


Two Big Takeaways. In the first half, Ramon Henderson showed his range with a diving interception. Henderson has had tremendous growth over the past two years while getting affiliated with the safety position. Clarence Lewis also had a pick six house call, in the second half. The Notre Dame secondary has displayed that they are primed and ready for all tasks that come their way.


Botelho the Beast. Jordan Botelho was the player that stood out to me the most today. Botelho was the most dominant force on the Notre Dame defensive line, having multiple tackles for loss and a sack for the Irish. Howard Cross was also a disruption up front, recording 6 total tackles.


Constant Pressure. This entire game, Al Golden was dialing up pressure from all angles. During the first drive of the game, many linebackers were flooding wrong holes and were mispositioned pre-snap. These errors quickly vanished, as Golden dialed up many blitzes that disrupted the Tennessee State quarterback tandem.


Ol' Reliable. After a Notre Dame turnover on special teams, that should've been called targeting, the Fighting Irish defense was tasked with holding the Tigers on ND's own 12-yard line. The defense was stout and blocked the FG attempt, which halted all of the Tennessee State momentum.


Special Teams


Kick-Offs. Notre Dame had some major lapses with the kick-off department today. First off, I don't blame Devyn Ford for the fumble on the kick-off because the kid got rocked, but the blocking was nowhere to be found on the line drive kick. Then, the Tigers capitalized on the Irish kick-off losing outside containment on one of the kicks. This simply can't happen against good teams.


The Kicking Game. Spencer Shrader looked good on the extra points, skying them into the high into the crowd and going a perfect 7/7 on all kicks.


Punt. Bryce Mcpherson had a touchback on his first punt of the year, with it being a 54-yard kick with a net of 34 yards. His second punt was only a 32-yarder as well.

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