Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2022*

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

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28 SEPT. 10, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED Was his performance worthy of an up-close camera shot as he jogged onto the field? No. But could those soon be justified when he's not playing the No. 2 team in the country on the road in his first ever start? Absolutely. The last thing Notre Dame wanted to see was a guy who didn't look like he be- longed on the field in a game with such high stakes. Buchner wasn't perfect. At times, he wasn't good. But he was good enough overall to have confidence that with heightened help from his support- ing cast and natural maturation, he'll be just fine as a starter at this level. He does belong. And will belong. "He's going to be a really good football player and a great leader for us moving forward," Freeman said. C.J. STROUD PROVES TO BE A DIFFERENCE-MAKER Marcus Freeman shook his head, un- loading a sigh followed by a "Yeah" that was equal parts frustration and admira- tion toward a pivotal play in his regu- lar season debut as Notre Dame head coach. A play that further turned the tide from potential road shocker into missed opportunity and left Freeman in disbelief. The Irish had Ohio State's offense right where they wanted it. They had a prime chance to pull the wheel around on a bumpy fourth quarter, force a punt and march down the field with a mem- ory-making go-ahead touchdown drive. A Heisman finalist had other plans, though, by turning a seemingly dead play into a first down that felt like the dagger. Notre Dame could get its offense back on the field down 14-10 with about 10 minutes left if it held serve on third- and-3 from its own 24-yard line. It was an ideal time for a sack, a havoc play or even a mere quarterback pressure. Junior defensive end Rylie Mills raised his hand and provided the heat on Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. Mills awoke from a quiet first three quarters, busted through a combo block from left tackle Paris Jackson Jr. and left guard Donovan Jackson and barreled down on Stroud, flushing him left. Mills knocked him off script. Stroud bailed, momentarily turning his back to the line of scrimmage and his eyes to- ward his own end zone before he rolled out. Senior linebacker Jack Kiser saw it, peeled off his underneath coverage and charged at him. The play was on life support. Stroud, though, contorted his torso and fired a last-ditch pass past the first- down marker. Its target was junior run- ning back Miyan Williams, who broke toward the sideline as he worked back to Stroud. The window for a completion was minuscule. Stroud's throw hit a sliding Williams in the hands just before Wil- TEAM STATS BY QUARTER Notre Dame 1st Rush Pass C-A-I TotY Avg. 3rd Pen. 1st 3 9-15 5-72 5-5-0 87 6.2 0-3 4-46 2nd 4 9-38 5-56 3-5-0 94 6.7 2-4 0-0 3rd 4 7-11 6-49 2-6-0 60 4.6 1-4 0-0 4th 1 5-12 2-0 0-2-0 12 1.7 0-2 1-15 Total 12 30-76 18-177 10-18-0 253 5.3 3-13 5-61 Ohio State 1st Rush Pass C-A-I TotY Avg. 3rd Pen. 1st 3 4-8 7-47 4-7-0 55 5 1-3 1-15 2nd 4 7-42 10-52 7-10-0 94 5.5 2-4 1-5 3rd 7 8-37 13-88 9-13-0 125 6 2-4 4-50 4th 8 16-85 4-36 4-4-0 121 6.1 2-2 1-5 Total 22 35-172 34-223 24-34-0 395 5.7 7-13 7-75 Junior defensive end Rylie Mills had C.J. Stroud in his sights on a pivotal play in the fourth quarter, but the Ohio State quarterback escaped and converted a first down on the game-icing march. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER NOTRE DAME SCORING SUMMARY Qtr Clock Score Type Play Drive Score 1 12:13 FG Grupe, Blake 33-yard field goal 5/71/2:42 0-3 2 11:56 TD RUSH Estime, Audric 1-yard rush PAT by Grupe, Blake (good) 10/87/5:10 7-10 OHIO STATE SCORING SUMMARY Qtr Clock Score Type Play Drive Score 1 5:32 TD PASS Egbuka, Emeka 31-yard pass from Stroud, C.J. PAT by Ruggles, Noah (Good) 4/54/01:34 7-3 3 0:17 TD PASS Johnson, Xavier 2-yard pass from Stroud, C.J. PAT by Ruggles, Noah (Good) 10/70/04:43 14-10 4 4:51 TD RUSH Williams, Miyan 2-yard rush PAT by Ruggles, Noah (Good) 14/95/07:06 21-10

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