Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2024

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM FEBRUARY 2024 21 NOTRE DAME PASSING OFFENSE: A You couldn't ask for much more out of Steve Angeli in his first career start than 15-of-19 passing for 232 yards with 3 touchdowns and 0 intercep- tions. Interestingly, Angeli put together similar statistics in his mop-up duty appearances, com- pleting 19 of 25 throws for 272 yards with 4 scores and 1 pick over the course of parts of the season's first 12 games. Angeli wasn't perfect; he missed sophomore tight end Eli Raridon on a would-be touchdown and misfired errantly on another one of his four in- complete passes. He also held the ball too long and took a couple sacks, one of which led to a missed 50-yard field goal after a 13-yard loss on the sack. All in all, though, Angeli hit the throws he needed to. He helped freshman wideout Jordan Faison go for 5 catches for 115 yards and 1 touchdown in an MVP-winning outing. He facilitated a resurgence from junior wideout Jayden Thomas, who had 4 catches for 59 yards and a score. Angeli might not start in 2024 because of the transfer portal addition of Riley Leonard to the roster, but he did all he could to put his best foot forward in the Sun Bowl. NOTRE DAME RUSHING OFFENSE: A Notre Dame's 256 sack-adjusted rushing yards was aided greatly by a 54-yard spurt from sopho- more running back Jadarian Price, but all good games on the ground tend to have a big play or two. Price supplied that for the Irish on their only gain of 20-plus yards via a rushing play. Price led the way with 106 yards and a touch- down on 13 carries. Freshman Jeremiyah Love had 39 yards on 15 carries. He didn't have the breakout game many expected, but he did give the Irish a 13-yard receiving touchdown. Walk-on Chase Ketterer scored Notre Dame's final touchdown of the day. When a non-scholar- ship player is getting into the end zone, you know you've done something right with the offensive operation. The Irish offensive line, with a first- time starter at left tackle and less than 10 starts between the four other guys across the board, played a good game in moving the pile. NOTRE DAME PASSING DEFENSE: A The best passing efficiency defense in the country did it again. The Irish held Oregon State quarterback Ben Gulbranson to 180 yards on 27 attempts, 16 of which he completed. He had 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The key stat in this section is most definitely Notre Dame's 4 sacks. Gulbranson was under fire all afternoon. He was uncomfortable in the pocket and, at times, unable to stay in it at all, making for a difficult day on offense for OSU. NOTRE DAME RUSHING DEFENSE: A+ The Beavers averaged a meager 1.9 yards per carry after adjusting for sacks. They only ran it 16 times because they trailed for almost all of the day and were off the field quickly because of so many three-and-outs. There simply was never time to get into a rhythm running the ball, and Notre Dame shut down any chance of it ever happening with stout play in the trenches. Starting running back Deshaun Fenwick had 6 carries for 15 yards. It wasn't better for anybody else, either. His yards per rush of 2.5 was the best mark among four Beavers who recorded a carry. SPECIAL TEAMS: A It wasn't a special teams heavy game, but argu- ably the play that started the runaway for Notre Dame was in this phase of the game. The Irish stuffing Oregon State's fake punt late in the first half started the crushing rockslide that did in the Beavers. Graduate student kicker Spencer Shrader went 1 of 2 on field goals, missing from 50 and hitting from 44. Sophomore punter Bryce McFerson's only boot of the game went for 59 yards, and the only recorded punt or kickoff return for the Irish was a kickoff return that went for 24 yards. COACHING: A+ Gotta give credit where credit is due. Marcus Freeman said at halftime he wanted Notre Dame to be relentless and stay on the attack in the sec- ond half, with the Irish leading 14-0, and his team came out and outscored Oregon State 26-8 in the final 30 minutes. You could tell in pregame warm ups Notre Dame was juiced up for this one despite opt-outs and the chaos caused by the transfer portal. It translated into a bowl game beatdown. REPORT CARD BY TYLER HORKA Notre Dame outrushed Oregon State 236-2, with sophomore Jadarian Price compiling a game-high 106 yards and 1 touchdown on 13 carries. PHOTO BY MARCELL GORDON

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