Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2022*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 22 of 55 SEPT. 10, 2022 23 NOTRE DAME PASSING OFFENSE: D Take away the 54-yard catch-and-run to sopho- more wide receiver Lorenzo Styles, the 32-yard sprawling connection with graduate student wide- out Braden Lenzy, the 22-yard seam success to junior tight end Kevin Bauman and a miraculous 31-yard circus catch from former walk-on and grad student Matt Salerno, and Notre Dame completed only 6 passes for 38 yards. The Notre Dame passing game was downright feeble. The wide receiver problems that were well docu- mented during the offseason and into fall camp showed up. Styles was targeted once after his first- play success. There is no reason for him to only be targeted twice in an entire game. Junior tight end Michael Mayer salvaged any semblance of an Irish aerial game and sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner started a crisp 8 of 8 for 128 yards, but Notre Dame has plenty to figure out in the way of moving the ball through the air as the season moves along. NOTRE DAME RUSHING OFFENSE: D The final line was not encouraging. Thirty rush- ing attempts for 76 yards. Notre Dame wanted to control the game via its rushing attack. It seemed like it would work early on, but the Irish suddenly couldn't run the ball around the same time the passing game fell apart. In other words, the Irish didn't have any offense at all when they needed some the most. Ohio State's tackling was sound. New defensive coordinator Jim Knowles had the Buckeyes flying to the football. Even when it looked like Buchner would break free on an option keeper, he was cor- ralled by a sea of scarlet for modest gains. Some- times, no gains at all. Running backs Chris Tyree, Audric Estime and Logan Diggs were not the three-headed monster they were advertised as in fall camp. Tyree had the best numbers of the bunch with 6 carries for 28 yards. Estime scored the Irish's lone touchdown on a fullback dive. Those were the only positives. NOTRE DAME PASSING DEFENSE: B+ Buchner actually outplayed Ohio State quarter- back C.J. Stroud for a half. The former had 128 first- half passing yards. The latter had 99. Stroud found a groove in the second half, though. He finished 24-of-34 passing for 223 yards with 2 touchdown passes. He made the type of throws the Notre Dame offense proved incapable of converting on. It ultimately was the difference. Notre Dame played Stroud tough. There were a couple plays the Irish would want back, like senior Cam Hart getting burned on Stroud's first touch- down toss and freshman Jaden Mickey getting toasted on his second. But overall, limiting Ohio State in the way Notre Dame did was a win for the Irish. NOTRE DAME RUSHING DEFENSE: B- The two Ohio State running backs quietly had very productive nights. TreVeyon Henderson rushed 15 times for 91 yards and Miyan Williams carried 14 times for 84 yards. That equated to 6 yards per carry. The Buckeyes' running game got hot in the sec- ond half, and that aided in Stroud's progressing efforts. Those two things went hand-in-hand, like Notre Dame's offensive outputs collapsing on each other. The longest rush of the game for either team went for 16 yards. Henderson had it. Notre Dame didn't get beaten by his big-play ability, which was another reason the visitors kept it so close for so long. NOTRE DAME SPECIAL TEAMS: B Punter Jon Sot, a graduate transfer from Harvard, could be a weapon for Notre Dame. He averaged 46.2 yards with his 8 punts. Two of them went for 50-plus yards, and two of them were downed inside the 5-yard line. Arkansas State graduate transfer Blake Grupe made his only field goal at- tempt from 33 yards out, too. Notre Dame didn't have any success in the return game, and in a game in which it was desperate for offense that would have come in handy. See: Tyree's touchdown on a kick return against Wis- consin last year. Something like that would have gone a long way against Ohio State. NOTRE DAME COACHING: B- Head coach Marcus Freeman had his guys ready to go. They were ready for the moment. That much was impressive for a first-time head coach. The scripted portion of the game looked the part of- fensively in the first half, too. Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees had an initially effective game plan. Things soured in the second half. Notre Dame took two ill-advised second half timeouts. Rees' offense disappeared. It was sort of like the Fiesta Bowl all over again; a promising first 30 minutes gave way to a head-scratching second 30 minutes. This staff has to get that cleaned up. REPORT CARD BY TYLER HORKA Junior running back Chris Tyree was the Irish's best ball carrier against Ohio State with 6 attempts for 28 yards. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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