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Senior Day Success: Statement Victory in Last Home Game of 2023 Season

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

Via The Irish Tribune


SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame honored their 31 seniors today with a solid victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Irish got off to a rather lethargic start, but the offense got into a rhythm as the day progressed. The defense, somewhat did the opposite, as the defense forced the Demon Deacons to punt on their first two possessions, and then suffered two extremely long drives, one of which resulting in an easy walk-in touchdown. However, Al Golden made the needed second half adjustments to get his unit back in check. Clock Management was yet another struggle this week, as the Irish were executing a very successful two-minute drill before taking their last timeout, after spiking the ball. Let's take a deep look at Notre Dame's last home game of 2023.





Offense


Sam Hartman. This was an extremely emotional game for Sam Hartman. His Notre Dame senior day pitted against the team he spent the past 5 years with, had Hartman overcome with emotion. Hartman delivered in this one, totaling 277 yards and 4 touchdowns, each to a different target (Ford, Merriweather, Raridon, and Greathouse). The throws to Raridon and Greathouse were perfect throws on the money, but he had a couple bad misses as well in this one. Even on Hartman's 35-yard Touchdown pass to Tobias Merriweather, the ball was under thrown and forced Merriweather to make an in-air adjustment. Hartman returned to his previous self that we saw at the beginning of the year in this one.


Young Interior Offensive Line. The interior offensive line did a pretty good job today. Ashton Craig and Billy Schrauth both got their first starts of this season, with Zeke Correll and Rocco Spindler both out. Craig and Schrauth really held their own, especially in the pass blocking game, and displayed that their can hold their own with the first unit.


Audric Estime's likely final game at Notre Dame Stadium. Estime has been an absolute delight to have at the running back position. With his current draft stock, it wouldn't make much sense for Estime to return to school for his senior season, which would make today the last time #7 ran out of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium. Estime finished the game with 115 yards, along with a touchdown.


Gerad Parker. Most of the Notre Dame fanbase has been calling for the firing of Gerad Parker. Parker was on-fire early in the season against less than average competition, but his in-game adjustments against better teams have been non-existent. This offense just frankly isn't cutting it for the Notre Dame team to be considered elite. His play calling is extremely predictable, and his dedication to running the ball in heavy sets is mind-boggling. When he finally added the play action element to the offense, the Irish dominated in the 2nd half. It should be interesting to see the direction new Athletic Director Pete Bevacqua goes to fill this clear and evident void.





Defense


Pass Pressure. The biggest question mark for this Notre Dame defense was always the pass rushing pressure. Javontae Jean-Baptiste has single handily put these rumors to bed, as he has played phenomenally this season. Al Golden has also done a great job utilizing secondary and linebacker blitz to continue to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.


Defense has been Elite. Look, this Wake Forest offense came into this game struggling. Only scoring 6 points against NC State surely won't get it done, but they have some players at wide receiver that could make plays. With that being said, the Notre Dame defense sure keeps teams under control when it matters. The Irish incorporate a certain, bend-but-don't break at times, but when the Irish need to get a stop, they do their job. You can't ask anything more from a defense than what Notre Dame has this year.


The Future is Bright. In this blowout victory, it is good to see the future of the program, even on senior day. Cornerback Christian Gray is going to be a certified stud, along with Morrison and Mickey. At linebacker, Jaylen Sneed looks like he will be the next in line to take over the reigns at the senior heavy position. Games like this provide a good look to see what the future may possess.


Special Teams


Onside Kick. Beautiful play call, by Marty Biagi and great execution on all fronts from Spencer Shrader to DJ Brown.


Field Goal Block. The FG Block by Jean-Baptiste was a big momentum shifter as Wake Forest elected to kick the field goal on 4th and short, instead of going for it after moving the ball 63 yards. This shift in momentum resulted in a six point swing for the Irish.



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