Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2022

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

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20 SEPT. 17, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA W hat was supposed to be a cel- ebration of Marcus Freeman's first victory as the head coach of the Fighting Irish, turned into a party for people wearing a different shade of green at Notre Dame Stadium. The Marshall Thundering Herd went into South Bend and stunned the No. 8 Irish, 26-21. Freeman stood in front of Notre Dame fans during the Irish's pregame "Player Walk" and told them there was no better place than Notre Dame Stadium for the Irish to get the first win of his tenure. Maybe he's right. But now it'll have to wait until Sept. 17 against California. It surely didn't happen Sept. 10 against Marshall. The Irish were just not good enough on either side of the ball. "We have to look at ourselves as indi- viduals, the whole team, starting with the head coach on down, and say, 'What do I have to do? What do we have to do to fix the issues?'" Freeman said. "We have to look at the lack of execution in all phases of our team." Notre Dame (0-2) was a three-touch- down favorite. The Irish definitely didn't play like one, and Marshall (2-0) didn't look the part of a program solely content with taking a $1.25 million check just to be in sunny South Bend for an afternoon of college football. The Thundering Herd came to win. And that, they did. "I couldn't be more proud," Marshall head coach Charles Huff said. At the half, Thundering Herd running back Khalan Laborn had nearly as many rushing yards (68) on his own as Notre Dame had as an entire team (69). The Irish had trouble establishing any sort of push along either line of scrimmage. The offensive line wasn't moving Marshall defenders, and the defensive line wasn't shedding blocks to stop plays in their tracks. That's a losing combination. Notre Dame improved slightly in the second half, but not enough to win. Laborn finished with 31 carries for 163 yards. The former five-star recruit and Florida State Seminole wore on the Irish with his persistence. Defensive coordi- nator Al Golden's group showed a chink in its armor in trying to defend the run. A 42-yard Laborn scamper set up Mar- shall's go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, meanwhile, might have showed he doesn't have much of a hand at the poker table at all. Sophomore quarter- back Tyler Buchner completed 18 of 32 throws for 201 yards with 0 passing touchdowns and 2 costly interceptions. The second pick was returned for a Marshall touchdown to give the Herd a 26-15 lead with 4:35 remaining. Buch- ner's counterpart, Texas Tech transfer Henry Colombi, connected on 16 of 21 passes for 145 yards with no intercep- tions. His lone TD toss put the Herd ahead, 19-15, with 5:16 left. Notre Dame ran 37 times for 130 yards for an average of 3.5 yards per rush. For a team that said all offseason it wanted to hang its hat on running the ball and stopping the run, the Irish hasn't done either through the first two weeks of the season. It's two of many issues that have manifested for the Irish early in Free- man's first season at the helm. FIRST QUARTER NOTRE DAME 0, MARSHALL 0 Top Moment: Senior safety Brandon Joseph crept toward the line of scrimmage and came off the right edge to tackle Mar- shall running back Khalan Laborn behind the line to gain at fourth-and-1 from mid- field. The stop gave Notre Dame the ball at the 50 with 5:07 left in the quarter. Feature Performer: After notching just 1 catch at Ohio State, on the first play of the game, sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Styles caught back-to-back passes on Notre Dame's first possession of the game. Both receptions went for first downs, a 5-yard catch on third-and-5 and a 16-yard snag on the next play. Stats: Marshall outgained Notre Dame 105-46 in total yards. The Irish were credited with 11 rushing attempts for 12 yards. The Thundering Herd averaged 6.2 yards per play to Notre Dame's 2.4. Items: Marshall went three-and-out to start, but it wasn't much of a sign of things to come for the Notre Dame de- fense … Notre Dame had fourth-and-4 from the Marshall 31-yard line midway through the quarter but was unable to convert when Buchner threw a pass in- tended for graduate student wide re- ceiver Braden Lenzy down the left side- line that carried him out of bounds … Sophomore running back Logan Diggs missed a blitz pickup that resulted in a loss of 8 yards on a sack of Buchner on a three-and-out late in the quarter. SECOND QUARTER MARSHALL 9, NOTRE DAME 7 Top Moment: Back-to-back com- pletions to junior tight end Michael Mayer for 30 yards led directly to Bu- chner's first rushing score of the game. Feature Performer: Buchner was a weapon with his legs and arm on the Irish's touchdown drive, rushing for 21 yards and the touchdown on 3 carries and going 2-of-2 passing for 30 yards. Stats: Notre Dame outgained Mar- shall 112-89 in total yards. The Irish had 3 penalties for 25 yards. Marshall had 1 flag for 5 yards. Notre Dame averaged 7.0 yards per play to Marshall's 4.2. Items: Laborn scored the first touch- down of the game on a powerful 4-yard run 42 seconds into the frame … Styles gained 22 yards on the ground via an end- around … Buchner's first interception of the season was a telegraphed throw from the left hash to the far sideline; Marshall went three-and-out on the gifted pos- session … Punter Jon Sot booted an im- pressive 61-yarder … Marshall responded STUNNED AND STOMPED Marshall snaps Notre Dame's 42-game winning streak against unranked opponents Sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner was 18-of- 32 passing for 201 yards but threw 2 costly interceptions in his starting debut at Notre Dame Stadium. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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