Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 4, 2023

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

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12 NOV. 4, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Page Freeman — Tennis The graduate student from Ashland, Mass., picked up two wins against opponents from Illinois State and Illinois in the main draw at the Intercolle- giate Tennis Association Mid- west Regional on the campus of Michigan State Oct. 17 be- fore bowing out of the tournament after a loss to an opponent from Northwestern. Freeman was one of eight Irish singles play- ers to compete in the ITA event. The two wins pushed her singles record to 13-9 this fall. Morgan Roy — Soccer The freshman midfielder from Commerce, Mich., continued her terrific rookie season, assisting on the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over North Carolina State Oct. 22 in Raleigh, N.C. The victory secured No. 12 Notre Dame a top-two seed in the ACC Tournament that was slated to begin Oct. 29. Through 17 games, Roy had 1 goal and 4 assists, and ranked third on the team with 31 shots. Daniel Russo — Soccer The senior forward from Jackson, N.J., scored the game-tying goal in the 85th minute to earn No. 6 Notre Dame a 1-1 road draw with No. 3 Wake Forest Oct. 20 in Winston-Salem, N.C. With the tie, the Irish clinched the ACC Coastal Divi- sion title outright. Through 15 games this season, Russo was third on the team in goals with 3 and fourth in points with 6. Chase Thompson — Tennis The freshman from New- port Beach, Calif., won five of his six matches at the ITA Regional Oct. 20-22 in Ann Arbor, Mich. He beat oppo- nents from Eastern Illinois and Northwestern on the opening day, and then defeated oppo- nents from Toledo and Michigan on Day 2. On Day 3, Thompson beat an opponent from Illinois to reach the quarterfinals before falling in a tight two-set match to an opponent from Ohio State. TOP TOP OF THE CLASS OF THE CLASS Irish student-athletes excelling on the field and in the classroom ✦ GIMME FIVE On Nov. 26 of last season, Notre Dame lost in November for the first time in five years and one day. The Irish rode a 19-game winning streak in the season's final month until they ran into a red-hot Caleb Williams in Southern California. Notre Dame got its revenge against USC Oct. 14, of course. In 2022, the Irish kicked off their November much like they will Saturday: against Clemson, which they beat 35-14 at home. Notre Dame won't get a chance to knock off a top-five team again this season because the Tigers entered Week 9 at 4-3, but the chance to enter Death Valley and exit with a win is enticing no matter how the home team is playing. Notre Dame began its November slate against a top-five team only one other time in the past five years, also against Clemson, which was No. 1 in the country at the time. The Irish, taking advantage of a Tigers team playing without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, won 47-40 in double over- time to secure a spot in the ACC championship in their only season in the league. Strong Novembers helped secure spots in the College Football Playoff twice and the Fiesta Bowl in 2021, while the Irish wound up in the Gator Bowl after losing to USC last year. In 2017, when Notre Dame went 2-2 in the final month, they competed in the Citrus Bowl. — Jack Soble CHARTING THE IRISH Notre Dame senior safety Xavier Watts accomplished something only nine other college players have done since 2012, when — according to Notre Dame ath- letics — the forced fumble stat became reliable. Watts is one of 10 Football Bowl Subdi- vision players to force a fumble, recover a fumble for a touchdown and intercept a pass in the same game in that time span. Watts intercepted USC junior quar- terback and defending Heisman Tro- phy winner Caleb Williams twice in the first half, returned a fumble forced by graduate student cornerback Cam Hart for a touchdown and forced a fumble of his own. The Irish scored 21 points off his first 3 forced turnovers, and they kneeled the game out after the last one. Only two of the nine other players produced more than one unit in the three turnover stats like Watts did with his 2 picks: Appalachian State's Demetrius Taylor on Sept. 21, 2019 (2 forced fumbles) and Kent State's Demetrius Monday (2 picks) on Sept. 19, 2015. Through nine games this season, Watts had 36 tackles and a team-high 4 intercep- tions. — Jack Soble FBS PLAYERS WITH A FORCED FUMBLE, FUMBLE RECOVERY TD AND INTERCEPTION IN THE SAME GAME SINCE 2012 Player, Team Date Xavier Watts, Notre Dame Oct. 14, 2023 Cobee Bryant, Kansas Sept. 23, 2023 Jabari Moore, Army Sept. 26, 2020 Demetrius Taylor, Appalachian State Sept. 21, 2019 Keisean Lucier-South, UCLA Oct. 13, 2018 Justus Parker, Texas Tech Oct. 7, 2017 Darius Phillips, Western Michigan Sept. 9, 2017 Jordan Wyatt, SMU Sept. 2, 2015 Demetrius Monday, Kent State Sept. 19, 2015 Kyle Van Noy, BYU Dec. 20, 2012 List courtesy of Notre Dame athletics NOTRE DAME'S RECORD IN NOVEMBER THE LAST FIVE YEARS Year Record Bowl 2022 3-1 Gator 2021 4-0 Fiesta 2020 3-0* Rose (CFP) 2019 5-0 Camping World 2018 4-0 Cotton (CFP) * Regular season ended in December due to COVID-19 Senior safety Xavier Watts' big game against USC Oct. 14, which included three different turnover stats — 2 interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recov- ery returned for a touchdown — has only been accom- plished nine other times in the FBS since 2012. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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