Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 26, 2022*

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

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12 NOV. 26, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Olivia Markezich — Cross Country The Woodinville, Wash., native won the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Nov. 11 at Terre Haute, Ind., helping Notre Dame to a first-place finish and an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships Nov. 19. The junior covered the 6-kilometer course in 19:54.0, one of only two ath- letes to finish under the 20-minute mark. Markezich took second in the event last season on her way to an 11th-place, All-America finish in the NCAA Championships. Daniel Russo — Soccer The junior forward from Jackson, N.J., earned third-team All-ACC honors after leading Notre Dame in goals (6) and points (16) this season. He saved his best work for late, scoring 4 of his goals in the team's final two regular season matches. In a 3-2 win over Michigan Oct. 25, Russo recorded the first hat trick of his career, with all 3 of his goals coming in the second half to secure the win. Carter Solomon — Cross Country The Canton, Mich., native finished fifth indi- vidually at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Nov. 11 in Terre Haute, Ind., helping Notre Dame to a second-place show- ing and an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships Nov. 19. The sophomore covered the 10-kilometer course in 29:55.8. Solomon, who was a two-time All-American at Plymouth High School, was one of only five athletes to complete the course in less than 30 minutes. Olivia Wingate — Soccer The graduate student for- ward from Wilmington, Mass., scored 2 goals in No. 4 Notre Dame's 5-0 win over Omaha in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Nov. 12. She tal- lied her 2 goals on 5 shots, including 4 on goal. Heading into an NCAA second-round matchup against Santa Clara Nov. 18, Wingate was second on the team with 13 goals and 31 points, and she led the team with 82 shots. TOP TOP OF THE CLASS OF THE CLASS Irish student-athletes excelling on the field and in the classroom ✦ GIMME FIVE It's one thing to say Notre Dame leads the country in blocked punts with 7 through Week 11. That's all fine and dandy. But what have those blocks resulted in? Are they truly affecting field position? In the Irish's case, absolutely. Notre Dame opponents averaged 37.86 yards per punt in the Irish's first 10 games according to That ranked No. 4 nationally at the time. Most recently, senior linebacker Jack Kiser blocked a Navy punt in the Irish's 35-32 win Nov. 12. The Midshipmen punted on fourth-and-3 from their own 31. Kiser's block sent the ball spinning into the air. It only ended up 6 yards past the original line of scrimmage. On the very next play, Notre Dame junior quarterback Drew Pyne connected with sophomore wide receiver Jayden Thomas for a 37-yard touchdown. The sequence is what gave the Irish a 35-13 lead. As it turned out, Notre Dame needed that block and subsequent score just to hold on to win by the final three-point margin. In the game before that, Clemson punted on fourth-and-14 from its own 21. Junior linebacker Jordan Botelho came barreling through the middle of the Tigers' shield for a point-blank block. That ball shot up into the air, too. It even went backward. Sophomore linebacker Prince Kollie ran up on it, snatched it out of midair at the 17-yard line and took it to the house for a touchdown. Both of senior defensive end Isaiah Foskey's blocks versus UNLV moved the Irish in the right direc- tion, too. The first Rebels punt was from their own 30. The Fighting Irish recovered on the 20. The second punt was from the 29. The Irish recovered on the 14. Some blocks still make their way downfield and net at least a little bit of a cushion for the kicking team. Notre Dame has made its blocks count, mean- while. These haven't just been "get your fingers on them and affect them a little" type of blocks. They've been full-blown, "that football is mine" type of blocks. The field position numbers reflect that. — Tyler Horka CHARTING THE IRISH OPPONENTS STAY DISCIPLINED VS. NOTRE DAME One of the most thrilling rushes football fans can have while watching their team occurs when a yellow flag hits the turf and they know the opposition is getting penalized. Notre Dame fans have not had many of those moments in 2022. Through Week 11, Notre Dame ranked No. 122 out of 131 FBS teams in opponent penalty yards per game (41.9). There were an average of 5.0 penalties called against Irish foes in the first 10 games of the season. That ranked tied for No. 113. Only 12 FBS teams had fewer penalty flags per game thrown against their opponents. This isn't new territory for Notre Dame. The Irish ranked outside the top 100 in the FBS in opponent pen- alties per game in 2018 and 2019. Last year, though, the Irish finished the season tied for No. 29 in oppo- nent penalties per game (6.9). Those accounted for 54.2 penalty yards per game, which was tied for 59th. Obviously, this is one of those statistics that head coach Marcus Freeman and his team can't quite control. It's on the coaching and discipline of the opposition. It's still a stat that can affect individual games and subsequently the season in general, though. For example, Notre Dame is 2-1 in the three games in which opponents took the most penalties against the Irish. Ohio State won in spite of 7 penalties for 75 yards. North Carolina could not overcome 9 penalties for 64 yards. Clemson was hurt by 7 penalties for 55 yards. Stanford squeaked out a 16-14 win over the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium thanks in part to only 2 pen- alties for 12 yards, meanwhile. That aided in the Cardinal's cause. Notre Dame topped BYU despite the Cougars having just 1 flag thrown on them for 5 yards. The Irish only had 1 infraction in that game, too, for a loss of 10 yards. The Irish ranked No. 20 in fewest penalties called on them per game through Week 11. — Tyler Horka Rk. Team Opponent Average 122. Notre Dame 41.9 123. Ohio State 41.8 124. Maryland 40.8 125. UNLV 39.5 126. Michigan 37.4 Rk. Team Opponent Average 127. Kansas 37.3 128. Cincinnati 36.6 129. Army 35.1 130. Air Force 33.0 131. Houston 30.7 FEWEST OPPONENT PENALTY YARDS PER GAME Through Week 11 FEWEST OPPONENT YARDS PER PUNT Through Week 11 Rk. School Average 1. Louisiana-Monroe 36.39 2. Kent State 37.33 3. San Diego State 37.61 4. Notre Dame 37.86 5. Utah State 37.89

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