Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 18, 2023

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM NOV. 18, 2023 29 M edical science is one of the wonders of the world. What doctors and surgeons are able to do is truly astound- ing. But brace yourself for the medically influenced image I'm about to present. Just know it's all for the sake of setting up a Notre Dame foot- ball analogy. Bear with me. It'll all make sense in the end. So, here goes it. Back to medicine. It's mesmerizing someone can accidentally cut their finger off — chopping lettuce or slicing potatoes, whatever it may be — and then put the phalange on ice, bring it in to the emergency room and have somebody there re- attach it for them. Toot-a-loo, send them on their merry way. Good as new? Probably not. But it's not gone forever. It's there. It's functional. That's far better than the alternative — no finger. Notre Dame cut off its finger in Clemson. It's on ice, and the doctor has plenty of time to perform reconstruc- tion surgery. The Irish have their sec- ond and final bye week of the season before they host Wake Forest Nov. 18. When that game kicks off, Notre Dame will probably roll the Demon Deacons by multiple touchdowns. Sam Hartman will get the last laugh against the team with which he spent five of his six col- legiate seasons. The Notre Dame Stadium opera- tions folks will show Hartman smiling, smirking and flipping his hair on the sideline. The crowd will fawn because it's the last time Hartman will ever get air time on the big board as the Irish's starting quarterback. Or, maybe they won't. Maybe by the sixth game in South Bend they'll be sick of the same old song and dance of the 2023 Notre Dame season. It's gone in waves. There are two acts to each play, then the play repeats itself. Act I, play one: Notre Dame is the best thing since sliced bread. Remember when Hartman was at the epicenter of everything and the Irish scored 40-plus points in four straight games to start the season? Brilliant. Act II, play one: It all comes crashing down with a 14-point effort and 10 men on the field against Ohio State. Sliced bread? Nah. More like a sliced finger. Completely severed. Act I, play two: Hartman leads Notre Dame on an unthinkable 95-play touch- down drive in the final three minutes of the Duke game. He moves the chains with his legs on fourth-and-16, and he's immediately an Irish legend after engi- neering a 21-14 win. Act II, play two: Hartman throws 3 interceptions and Notre Dame loses 33- 20 to a Louisville team that scored 13 points against North Carolina State a week prior and would end up losing 38- 21 to Pitt — Pitt !! — a week later. Act I, play three: Notre Dame is once again as good as anything the sponsor of the car of Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights has ever put out for stomping USC by four touchdowns and Pitt by a whopping 51 points. Yes, that's another reference to sliced bread. Now, for the sliced finger. Act II, play three: Whatever the heck happened at Clemson. The Fighting Irish were los- ing by as many as 18 points to a team whose head coach couldn't help himself from going on a tirade in response to a troll named "Tyler from Spartanburg" five days earlier. This Tigers team has been an absolute mess in so many ways this season, and Notre Dame found a way to make them look formidable for pretty much the entirety of the first half. Then head coach Marcus Freeman faced reporters after the 31-23 loss and told them his guys are going to figure out what went wrong and do better at those things in the next game. He didn't drop the "anti-fragile" line, but grad- uate student linebacker Jack Kiser sat down and said it for him moments later. Notre Dame is going to be better be- cause of adversity, yada, yada, yada. Try this instead; just don't cut your finger off in the first place. Don't force your- self into an adverse situation. Don't throw the pick-six, Sam Hart- man. Don't let the ball go off your face mask to set up a Clemson field goal, Chris Tyree. "You don't ever want to point your finger at just one or two individuals or certain plays, but that's the difference in winning and losing this game," Free- man said. He's right. It was. But a truly anti- fragile team either wouldn't have com- mitted those errors in the first place or would have made up for them later on. Notre Dame did not. Now the Irish's finger is on ice. Fear not; medical science is magical, and the finger will be back for the up- coming version of Act I, play four in no time. The show goes on, for better or worse. ✦ GOLDEN GAMUT TYLER HORKA Tyler Horka has been a writer for Blue & Gold Illustrated since July 2021. He can be reached at Marcus Freeman had a chance to put Notre Dame six games over .500, which he has never done in his two-year tenure, but the Fighting Irish lost to Clemson and dropped to 7-3. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP Same Old Song And Dance For Notre Dame In 2023

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