Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2022

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

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24 SEPT. 17, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED TURNING POINT Trailing 15-12 midway through the fourth quarter and facing third-and-9 from his own 7-yard line, Marshall quarterback Henry Co- lombi hit tight end Devin Miller with an 11-yard completion to keep the drive alive and give the Herd a first down at its own 18-yard line. Marshall methodically moved down the field from that point and capped its game-winning drive on a 3-yard pass from Colombi to Miller that gave the Herd a 19-15 lead with 5:16 re- maining in the game. Marshall's 11-play, 94-yard drive was high- lighted by a 42-yard up-the-middle run by tail- back Khalan Laborn that moved the ball to the Irish 6-yard line and set up the go-ahead score. The ensuing offensive drive for Notre Dame ended in an interception from Buchner that was returned 37 yards by Herd defensive back Steven Gilmore to give Marshall a 26-15 lead and ultimately one of the biggest upsets of the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium since the 2010 loss to Tulsa. STATS OF THE GAME For the second straight week, Notre Dame al- lowed a critical drive of more than 90 yards late in the game that resulted in a tough loss. Against Marshall, it was an 11-play, 94-yard, 5:16 scoring drive that turned a 15-12 Notre Dame lead into a 19-15 deficit the Irish were unable to over- come. In the season opener against Ohio State, the Buckeyes put together a 14-play, 95-yard drive in the fourth quarter that sealed a 21-10 win. Another troubling statistic is that through the first two games, the Irish defense hasn't forced a turnover. And with the 3 interceptions by Mar- shall — 1 returned for a touchdown — takeaways remains a stat worth watching. Irish head coach Marcus Freeman preached throughout the preseason about how his team's ability to run and stop the run would be its call- ing card and become a strength and an identity. His Irish have done neither so far. A week after Ohio State won the rushing battle 172-76, Marshall outgained Notre Dame on the ground 219-130. FAILING TO FINISH Perusing the final stats makes the 5-point Mar- shall win look like a nail-biter, and until late in the fourth quarter it was. Marshall held a slim 364-351 advantage in to- tal yards. Notre Dame recorded 22 first downs to 21 for the Herd. The Irish ran 75 total plays compared to 71 for Marshall. Both teams were 4-of-13 on third downs and the time of posses- sion was separated by only 47 seconds. But the one stat coaches harp on the most — turnovers — was won by Marshall 3-0. Buchner threw 2 interceptions — one for the backbreak- ing pick-six with 4:35 remaining in the game that essentially put the game on ice for Marshall. That late TD helped Marshall outscore Notre Dame 17-14 in the second half, meaning dur- ing Freeman's 0-3 start to his career, he's been outscored 54-21 in the third and fourth quarters. The loss ended Notre Dame's 42-game winning streak against unranked opponents, which was the longest in the country, and made Freeman the first Irish coach to ever start his career 0-3. THREE OBSERVATIONS BY TODD D. BURLAGE SAFETY DJ BROWN The graduate student safety played well in pass cover- age and also tied for second on the team with 9 tackles. Additionally, Brown led the team with 5 solo tackles, though he didn't break up any passes. DEFENSIVE TACKLE HOWARD CROSS III On a day when the Irish defensive front was pushed around and had little to brag about postgame, this Notre Dame senior led all players with 11 total tackles, includ- ing 3 solo stops and 0.5 tackles for loss. Cross was the bright spot along an Irish defensive front that gave up 219 rushing yards on 50 attempts to a team that was without its best running back. LINEBACKER JACK KISER The Irish senior recorded 9 tackles with 1 sack among 1.5 tackles for loss. With his Irish trailing 6-0, Kiser's sec- ond-quarter sack was critical at the time because without a stop Marshall could've pushed the lead to two scores. TIGHT END MICHAEL MAYER A familiar name on this list, the junior tight end led all players with 8 catches for 103 yards on 12 targets. Mayer's day included his first touchdown of the season on a 5-yard pass from junior quarterback Drew Pyne as time ticked away in the fourth quarter. WIDE RECEIVER LORENZO STYLES The Irish sophomore was the versatile weapon against Marshall that the Irish faithful and coaches were expect- ing in 2022. He finished the game with 7 catches for 69 yards on 11 targets, though he failed to reach the end zone for the second straight game. Styles was especially valuable in the first half when he reeled in receptions of 16 and 20 yards, and added a 22- yard run on a jet sweep in the second quarter. GAME BALLS BY TYLER HORKA Senior defensive tackle Howard Cross III (right) recorded a team-high 11 tackles. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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