Blue and Gold Illustrated

October 28, 2023

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

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Page 26 of 63

BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM OCT. 28, 2023 27 NOTRE DAME STRIKES BACK IN CRITICAL MOMENTS Louisville left Notre Dame lifeless on the mat like Sonny Liston after Muham- mad Ali knocked him to the canvas in 1965. It took Liston over a year to get back in the ring. Notre Dame was forced to regroup in a week. That's college football for you. But man, did the Fighting Irish ever counter. It wasn't just that head coach Marcus Freeman had his team ready to go for its full bout with No. 10 USC, from start to finish. It's that both times the Trojans landed a body blow in the second half, Notre Dame returned the favor with haymakers. The Irish were the more energized and more responsive fighters in South Bend, and it showed when it mattered most. USC running back MarShawn Lloyd scurried his way around the Notre Dame defense for a 31-yard touchdown with 7:20 left in the third quarter. What was once a 21-point Irish lead was down to 11. Graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman fired a 46-yard scoring strike to senior wideout Chris Tyree six snaps after the Lloyd touchdown. Hartman said Notre Dame had been scheming up a slot post to Tyree in practices. The Irish enacted it at the perfect time, im- mediately after four rushes from junior running back Audric Estimé in a span of five plays. That was Notre Dame's rendition of Ali's rope-a-dope. "The first thing we said is 'I told you' to each other because all week we had been talking about it," Hartman said. "It's going to come, it's going to happen, you're going to get that opportunity. And he was freaking wide open, so it made it pretty easy for me." Sophomore tailback Jadarian Price made the next Notre Dame uppercut look pretty easy, too. USC again made it an 11-point game with 9:04 left in the fourth quarter. A quick stop and a score, and all the pres- sure would be on Notre Dame to do what it couldn't a few weeks earlier against Ohio State; run the clock out on offense. Price made sure it wasn't ever going to get to that point. Just when NBC color analyst Jason Garrett said USC only needed a touch- down, two-point conversion and a field goal to tie the score, and that were was "plenty of time to do it," Price caught a kickoff right near the goal line and sprinted straight ahead. He meandered right before cutting hard left against the grain. Soon he was all on his own with just the kicker to beat. He did, of course. "Feel like I ran 140 yards, more than 90," Price said. "It was great. Coach [Marty] Biagi laid out a great plan and we executed it, and we finally got one on the season." It came at as appropriate of a time as any. Ali was all about timeliness. The best boxers always are. Freeman and company took a page out of that play- book versus the Trojans. "That was my message all week; com- USC GAME NOTES BY TYLER HORKA AND JACK SOBLE Six plays after USC cut Notre Dame's lead to 11 in the third quarter, senior wide receiver Chris Tyree hauled in a 46-yard touchdown reception to extend the lead back to 18. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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