Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 4, 2023

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

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18 NOV. 4, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA N otre Dame knows what it is. And the Irish know what they are not. Leaning into its strengths and just doing enough with its weaknesses has worked well for head coach Marcus Freeman's team in its last two games. In South Bend against the visiting Pittsburgh Panthers, it worked very well. Notre Dame built a three-score lead by halftime and ultimately demolished Pitt, 58-7. The Irish scored 5 touch- downs on offense, 2 on special teams and 1 on defense. That is where under- standing what the Irish are and what they are not factored into the ability to boat race a visitor for the second con- secutive game in a result that paralleled the 48-20 bludgeoning of the USC Tro- jans two weeks earlier. "If you score 3 touchdowns on non- offensive plays, I'm sure the stats would tell you it's probably close to 100 per- cent, 99 percent you're going to win that game," Freeman said. "That was huge for our team to do today." The Irish, even with graduate stu- dent quarterback Sam Hartman at the controls, do not have a potent offense. Hartman actually threw 2 interceptions before the Irish offense got into the end zone for the first time against the Panthers. No matter. Leave it to special teams. Senior wide receiver Chris Tyree shot down the field like a cannonball for an 82-yard punt return touchdown to get the Fighting Irish on the board with a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Hartman didn't have too bad of a day in spite of the pair of interceptions. He actually completed 9 of his first 11 pass attempts. The 2 picks were his only in- completions. And he eventually woke up enough to go 18 of 25 for 288 yards. Junior running back Audric Estimé ran 19 times for 114 yards and 3 touch- downs, the 10th, 11th and 12th scores of his junior season. "This week was definitely a big step forward for our offense and our team as a whole," Estimé said. Yes, Estimé is right. The Irish offense was good in some spots and eventu- ally piled up a whopping 535 total yards. Another SpeciAl effort Notre Dame leaves no doubt in 58-7 demolition of Pitt

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