Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 26, 2022*

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

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Page 20 of 55 NOV. 26, 2022 21 NOTRE DAME PASSING OFFENSE: B The numbers aren't incredible; junior quarter- back Drew Pyne completed only 13 of 25 throws for 156 yards with 1 touchdown. He did not throw an interception, though, which is objective No. 1 for the backup-turned-starter. He also spread the ball around to six different receiving targets. Junior tight end Michael Mayer led the way with 5 catches for 64 yards. Graduate student and former walk-on Matt Salerno caught the first touchdown pass of his career. Sophomore wideout Deion Colzie moved the chains on third down, which has become a good trend. You'd have liked to have seen a better comple- tion percentage than 57.7, but connecting on 6 of 7 passes for 77 yards on the drive that ended in the Salerno score was a positive stretch. When the Irish are running the ball well, they really only need one drive like that per game from Pyne. They got it versus the Eagles. NOTRE DAME RUSHING OFFENSE: A+ Now that was more like it. After getting shut down for less than 100 yards for just the second time this season against Navy, the Notre Dame ground game got back on track for 281 yards and 4 touchdowns versus Boston College. Sophomore running back Logan Diggs did the heavy lifting with 15 carries for 122 yards and 1 score. Sophomore Audric Estime carried 11 times for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns, while junior Chris Tyree had 6 rushes for 50 yards and 1 TD. Even sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Styles had 2 rushes for 27 yards. The Eagles' defensive front was no match for the Notre Dame offense line. The Irish committed itself to running the ball once again. They were able to do so 38 times for 7.4 yards per carry. It helps when the first tote of the game is a 51-yard scamper by Diggs. That set the tone. And the Irish did not stop churning. NOTRE DAME PASSING DEFENSE: A+ Have a day, Benjamin Morrison. The freshman cornerback intercepted 3 of Bos- ton College redshirt freshman Emmett Morehead's passes. His first set up the Notre Dame offense on the Eagles' 20-yard line. The Irish turned it into 7 points. They turned the other two picks into 10 points. Morrison had a hand in 3 scores for the Irish. Morehead completed 9 of 22 passes for 117 yards and the Irish sacked him 4 times for a loss of 33 yards. Senior wide receiver Zay Flowers had 3 catches for 46 yards. Any secondary facing a player of his caliber would take that. It was an outstand- ing day for the Irish passing defense. NOTRE DAME RUSHING DEFENSE: A+ It was an even better day for the Irish rushing defense. The Eagles were credited with 36 rushes for 56 yards (1.6 yards per attempt) including sacks. Without them, they still only ran 32 times for 89 yards. That's 2.8 yards per carry. The Eagles did not have a rushing play go for more than 8 yards. Even without graduate student Jayson Ademilola in the lineup, Notre Dame won the war in the trenches. Boston College had no room to run. Notre Dame Special Teams: B+ The streak snapped. Notre Dame did not block a punt. Freshman kickoff specialist Zac Yoakam only had 4 touchbacks on 9 kicks in the blustery South Bend weather, too. He kicked the ball out of bounds twice. Graduate student punter Jon Sot's lone boot went for 41 yards into the wind. Salerno had a 28-yard punt return, Notre Dame's longest of the season. It set the Irish up across midfield. Notre Dame scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. The special teams MVP was graduate student Blake Grupe, who made all 3 of his field goal at- tempts from 26, 41 and 46 yards away. Blocked punts aren't entirely necessary for a solid day of special teams. NOTRE DAME COACHING: A No letdowns. Hand it to head coach Marcus Freeman and the coaching staff. Notre Dame was once again ready to play from the start in jumping out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead and a 37-0 halftime advantage. The Irish covered a touchdown-plus point spread for the first time in six tries this season. Freeman said the pregame messaging centered on owning the moment and leaving no doubt. Notre Dame did that in a big way and was re- warded handsomely for it. ✦ REPORT CARD BY TYLER HORKA The Fighting Irish ground game rebounded from a 66-yard effort versus Navy Nov. 12 by racking up 281 yards and 4 touchdowns against Boston College, with sophomore running back Audric Estime contribut- ing 71 yards and 2 scores. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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