Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2022

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

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14 DECEMBER 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Jack Adams — Hockey The graduate student forward from Boxford, Mass., native scored his first goal of the season, tallying the game-winner in a 1-0 triumph at Ohio State Nov. 19. Adams, who transferred from Providence College be- fore last season, has been a solid reserve this year, adding 4 points (1 goal and 3 assists) in 8 games played. He compiled 6 goals and 10 assists for the Irish last season. Olivia Markezich — Cross Country The junior from Woodinville, Wash., followed up her individual championship at the 2022 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Nov. 11 with an eighth-place finish at the 2022 NCAA Championships Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Okla. Markezich covered the 6-ki- lometer course at the national meet in 19:46.4, improving three places from her 11th- place finish at the same event last season to earn All-America honors for the second straight year. Carter Solomon — Cross Country The sophomore from Canton, Mich., followed up his fifth-place individual finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Nov. 11 by crossing the finish line 18th at the NCAA Championships Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Okla., to earn All-America honors in his first-ever national meet. Solomon — a two-time All-American at Plym- outh High School —covered the 10-kilometer course in 29:18.8. Mackenzie Wood — Soccer The graduate student goalkeeper from Granger, Ind., recorded 4 saves while helping Notre Dame to three dominating wins in the first three rounds of the NCAA Championship. The Irish notched shutouts against Omaha (5-0), No. 8-seeded Santa Clara (4-0) and No. 5-seeded TCU (2-0) to move earn their first NCAA quarterfinal appearance since 2012. Wood has recorded 14 shutouts in Notre Dame's first 22 matches 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 offensive coordinator Tommy Rees provided a recent media gathering with a moment of levity. He was asked what junior quarterback Drew Pyne can do to prevent his passes from getting batted down by rushers at the line of scrimmage. "Drink milk," Rees said. Of course, that was a subtle shot at Pyne's smaller stature. At 5-11½, he's not as tall as most quar- terbacks in this era. Or from any era, really. Athleticism can make up for a lack of size, but Pyne isn't overly athletic. His best attribute is his competitiveness. It's competitiveness, after all, that helps lead to 5 touchdowns in one half. Notre Dame needed every last one of them to hang on to beat the Navy Midshipmen Nov. 12. But it's a lower release point that leads to batted passes, and Pyne ranks toward the top of the Power Five in that undesirable category. Through Notre Dame's first 11 games, Pyne had 9 batted passes according to Pro Football Focus. That ranked third among Power Five QBs. Only Mississippi State's Will Rogers (16) and TCU's Max Duggan (10) have had more. They're both 6-2, but their batted passes have more to do with volume than their height. The pass attempts those three quarterbacks took to their respective numbers of batted passes are alarming in Pyne's case. Rogers led the country with 530 attempts through Week 12. Duggan had 309. Pyne had 228. Rees explained how Pyne can improve on this. "There are windows," he said. "Very few peo- ple throw over the top. Everybody is looking for lanes. Now, his lanes are going to be less than a guy who's 6-foot-4. It's just the way it is, right? "… Find opportunities to climb and find alleys." Easier said than done. — Tyler Horka CHARTING THE IRISH Nobody would have thought Notre Dame would be within striking distance of Alabama in a major metric after the Fighting Irish lost to Marshall and Stanford in the first half of the season, but that's exactly where head coach Marcus Freeman's team was heading into the regular-season finale at Southern Cal. has a Simple Rating System (SRS) that takes into account average point dif- ferential and strength of schedule to determine how many points above or below average a team is. A score of 0.00 would be perfectly average. Through its first 11 games, Notre Dame received an SRS figure of 12.54. That was good for No. 10 in the FBS among teams with multiple losses and No. 16 overall including undefeated and one-loss teams. Georgia led the country with a mark of 23.65. Surprisingly, the best multiple-loss team was 7-4 Texas with a score of 18.27. That was good for No. 4 in the country. This isn't one of those gimmicky advanced metrics, though.'s computers determined the top three teams in the SRS with one regular season game remaining were Georgia, Ohio State (22.11) and Michigan (18.97). Those teams appeared in that same order in the most recent Associated Press and coaches polls. Just behind Texas, the statistical anomaly, was unbeaten TCU with an SRS score of 18.18. The Horned Frogs were No. 4 in both major polls. ESPN also has a metric that indicates how many points above or below average a team is. That outlet's is called the Football Power Index (FPI). Notre Dame's FPI of 13.5 is also good for No. 16 nationally among all FBS teams and No. 10 among programs with at least two losses. In essence, Freeman has led his team to being on the cusp of top-15 status in his first year on the job. Notre Dame was a con- sensus top-five team in the preseason polls, but circumstances changed when the Irish lost two head-scratchers at home. They re- bounded nicely from those defeats to have a more than respectable season. — Tyler Horka SIMPLE RATING SYSTEM FOR FBS TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE LOSSES Per Rk. School (Record*) SRS 1. Texas (7-4) 18.27 2. Kansas State (8-3) 17.80 3. Alabama (9-2) 17.78 4. Penn State (9-2) 16.54 5. Florida State (8-3) 16.00 6. Tennessee (9-2) 15.85 7. Utah (8-3) 15.27 8. LSU (9-2) 15.23 9. Oregon (9-2) 14.64 10. Notre Dame (8-3) 12.54 * Through Week 12 MOST BATTED PASSES AMONG POWER FIVE QUARTERBACKS Through Week 12 Rk. Quarterback, School Batted Passes 1. Will Rogers, Mississippi State 16 2. Max Duggan, TCU 10 3. Drew Pyne, Notre Dame 9 Grant Wells, Virginia Tech 9 5. Kedon Slovis, Pittsburgh 8 Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma 8 Brennan Armstrong, Virginia 8

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