Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2022

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

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14 SEPT. 17, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Molly Bruggeman — Rowing The former Notre Dame rower (2010-14) recently joined former Fighting Irish teammate Erin Box- berger (2013-17) as members of the Senior Women's National Team for the 2022 World Row- ing Championships Sept. 18-25 in Prague, Czech Republic. Bruggeman, an alternate for the U.S. in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will compete in the women's eight. Boxberger qualified in the women's four. Matt Nussbaum — Baseball Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Perconte was injured, Irish head coach Paul Mainieri sum- moned Nussbaum — a catcher, outfielder and a walk-on — to start at second base in the NCAA Tournament. More than two decades later, Perconte and Nussbaum are linked again. In July, the former Irish baseball teammates be- came courtroom teammates when both were promoted to the two top positions in the legal department of the MLB Players Association. Izaiah Steury — Cross Country In his first-ever cross country meet at Notre Dame, the fresh- man from Pleasant Lake, Ind., lived up to high expectations as a former high school state champion with a first-place fin- ish at the Winrow-Valparaiso Open Sept. 2. Steury led a dominating performance by the Irish men's team, which swept the top 10 places. Representing Angola High School, Steury won the 2020 IHSAA championship as a junior and finished second in the state as a senior in 2021. Olivia Wingate — Soccer The four-year starter from Wilmington, Mass., has helped fuel the No. 12-ranked Fighting Irish's 6-0 start. After notching her first career hat trick in a 4-1 win over No. 22 Wisconsin Sept. 1, the graduate student forward was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Week. A year after tallying a career-high 7 goals and 19 points in 2021, Wingate was tied for the team lead in both goals (5) and points (11) with senior Mad- die Mercado through just six contests this season. TOP TOP OF THE CLASS OF THE CLASS Irish student-athletes excelling on the field and in the classroom ✦ GIMME FIVE Notre Dame isn't the most prolific winner in college football in the way that the program used to be. Not winning a national title in more than three decades will make that so. But the Fighting Irish still put players in the NFL at one of the highest rates in the country. According to ESPN analyst Field Yates, Notre Dame began the NFL season with 35 former Fighting Irish players on 53-man NFL rosters (that numbers grows to 44 when you include players on injured reserve and practice squads). Only four schools have more than that: Alabama (58), LSU (53), Ohio State (51) and Georgia (43). That's good company for Notre Dame. That quartet of programs has won at least one national champion- ship each during the College Football Playoff era. Notre Dame has a 54-11 record since 2017 including this year's season-opening loss to Ohio State. The 54- 10 mark in a five-season stretch marked the most wins in any half-decade period in program history. Coaches always say, "You win with players." Notre Dame has had a plethora of highly talented ones over the years. The interesting proposition is, the Irish could put even more players into the league in the years to come with the way first- year head coach Marcus Freeman is recruiting. One of the most effective recruiting tools a coach can sell is the path from college football to the NFL. Freeman has that in his front pocket. Kyle Hamilton, Kyren Williams and Kurt Hinish were in blue and gold last year. Now they're on 53-man rosters. Notre Dame can sell longevity, too. Look at the likes of Kyle Rudolph, Zack Martin and Harrison Smith. They've been in the league for many years. — Tyler Horka CHARTING THE IRISH NOTRE DAME AS GOOD AS IT GETS AS HEAVY FAVORITE Notre Dame is no stranger to being a heavy favorite. The Fighting Irish opened Week 2 as 19.5-point favorites over the visiting Marshall Thundering Herd. That meant Notre Dame put one of the most impressive streaks in the nation on the line. No, we're not alluding to the 42 straight wins over unranked foes Notre Dame had before taking on the Herd. We're looking at the 36 victories in a row as at least a 10-point favorite. Only two teams boasted longer streaks going into Week 2 of the 2022 campaign — Cincinnati had won 41 in a row and Kentucky had won 40 straight. If there was something former Notre Dame head coach Brian deserved some shine for, it was almost always taking care of business against teams the Irish had no business losing to. The unranked and heavy-favorite streaks show that. We'll find out if Marcus Freeman has the same knack as this season plays out. According to Vegas Insider, Notre Dame was a 17.5-point favorite over California in Week 3 as of Sept. 6. The Irish will almost assuredly be double-digit favorites over Stanford, UNLV and Navy as well. Point spreads could creep over 10 against Syracuse and Boston College, too. Losses to the cream of the crop made Notre Dame fans angry during the Kelly era. Losses to reeling programs would only infuriate them more. — Tyler Horka TEAMS WITH MOST CURRENT CONSECUTIVE WINS WHILE AT LEAST A 10-POINT FAVORITE* Rk. School (Consecutive Wins) 1. Cincinnati (41) Kentucky (41) 3. Notre Dame (36) 4. West Virginia (34) 5. Texas Tech (31) 6. Louisiana (28) 7. Texas A&M (27) 8. East Carolina (22) Indiana (22) 10. Boise State (20) Utah (20) * Entering Week 2 of the 2022 season SCHOOLS WITH THE MOST PLAYERS ON 53-MAN ROSTERS TO OPEN NFL SEASON Rk. School (Players In NFL) 1. Alabama (58) 2. LSU (53) 3. Ohio State (51) 4. Georgia (43) 5. Notre Dame (35) Former Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton is one of 35 former Fighting Irish football players on Week 1 NFL 53-man rosters. PHOTO COURTESY BALTIMORE RAVENS

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