CHRIS TYREE ENTERS TRANSFER PORTAL: After a breakout year at wide receiver with 26 catches, 484 yards and 3 TDs, WR Chris Tyree has entered the transfer portal
NOTRE DAME UPSET AT CLEMSON 31-23: Brett Cagle recaps the dismal performance Notre Dame put on at Clemson, Hartman has tough day.
BY: BRETT CAGLE
Notre Dame fell to 7-3 on the season after Saturday’s deflating road loss to Clemson. Tigers Head Coach Dabo Swinney was enthusiastic after the victory stating “If Clemson’s a stock u better buy all you freaking can buy right now. Let’s go!” Going into this matchup Irish fans knew any Clemson team could be dangerous, especially at home, but Notre Dame seemed to come out flat, settling for field goals before Quarterback Sam Hartman threw a costly second-quarter pick six. Notre Dame trailed 24-9 at Halftime which proved to be too much to overcome.
In the second half, Running back Audric Estime scored from two yards out to cut the game to eight points. After each team swapped touchdowns, including a 26-yard Sam Harman rushing Touchdown, Clemson gave Notre Dame the ball back with a costly fumble in Irish territory. Again Notre Dame was unable to capitalize and would fall on the road 31-23 to their ACC opponent. This loss to a statistically “down” Clemson team brought on many questions surrounding the program.
In both of Notre Dame’s Road losses, Quarterback Sam Hartman had trouble turning the ball over. With Three interceptions against Louisville and two last weekend, Hartman has made game-altering mistakes in two of the last four contests. Offensive consistency is a huge question mark right now, as Notre Dame looked tremendous at times over the season. Entering the game as large betting favorites, the Irish dropped their second straight game on the road.
With their playoff hopes crushed and Quarterback Sam Hartman in his final year, Irish fans don’t have much to look forward to this season but the school's biggest question remains… will Head Coach Marcus Freeman be back in 2024? After failing to meet expectations that were set on the team early in the year, Freeman’s job may be in jeopardy if things don’t turn around this season.
Defensively, Notre Dame allowed many big plays including a 41-yard touchdown to Phil Mafah in the first quarter. Mafah rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. Clemson struggled through the air with Quarterback Cade Klubnik only throwing for 109 yards on the day.
This was certainly a disappointing performance for Notre Dame who will look to bounce back with a win against Wake Forest on November 18th.
After defeating USC by 28 points in week 8, the Fighting Irish responded with another impressive victory last weekend. The defense and special teams of Notre Dame looked tremendous in this blowout win at home. A Chris Tyree 82-yard punt return touchdown got Notre Dame on the board in the first quarter. In the second quarter junior running back Audric Estime scored his first of three touchdowns on the day. Following Estime’s 15-yard rushing touchdown, kicker Spencer Shrader made a 23-yard field goal to make the score 17-0 before the half.
The second half was completely controlled by Notre Dame, who outscored Pitt 41-7 in the final two quarters. The Pittsburgh offense was held to only 53 yards rushing on the day and had trouble moving the ball downfield through the contest. The Fighting Irish defense forced five turnovers Saturday. ND Quarterback Sam Hartman also uncharacteristically turned the ball over twice against Pitt and has now thrown five interceptions in his last three games.
Offensively Notre Dame compiled 535 total yards in this matchup. 114 of those yards were contributed by star running back Audric Estime on the ground. Estime is nearing the 1,000-yard mark on the season for rushing and has an impressive 6.2 yards per carry. With 12 touchdowns on the season, Estime has been a key part of the team’s success on offense.
Following the win Irish Head Coach Marcus Freeman talked with the media about next week's opponent Clemson “I view Clemson as one of the premier programs in college football. And what Coach Swinney has done with that program over the course of his time there has been second to no other program in college football. It’s extremely impressive
This crushing victory for the Irish will help build confidence heading into a road matchup with ACC opponent Clemson (4-4) this weekend. Last year ND defeated the Tigers 35-14, but Head Coach Dabo Swinney and Clemson will always be a formidable opponent.
BY: BRETT CAGLE
Preview and Predicion: #21 Notre Dame (5-2) vs. #10 USC (6-0)
Notre Dame comes into this contest following back-to-back sub par performances on the road against ranked opponents. Duke and Louisville are in the middle of historic years for their programs and are both featured in the top twenty of the College Football Rankings. Last week against Louisville, Quarterback Sam Hartman uncharacteristically threw three interceptions in a game the Irish were outscored 26-13 in the second half. The Notre Dame defense allowed 330 yards of offense, with 185 coming on the ground. Entering this game with undefeated USC, “The Fighting Irish” have many questions to answer surrounding their team.
Offensively, Notre Dame has not scored over 21 points in a game since week four of the season. This is a staggering statistic considering the team averaged over 40 points PPG to start the first four weeks of the year. While Sam Hartman had an underwhelming game last week it was his only game with interceptions on the season. Hartman (16 TDs, 3 INTs) still has an impressive touchdown touchdown-to-interception rate. Up front, Notre Dame struggled against the Cardinals only rushing for 40 yards as a team. Starting Running Back Audric Estime rushed 10 times for only 20 rushing yards. If Notre Dame wants to have success this weekend they will have to establish some sort of running game.
USC star Quarterback Caleb Williams and Head Coach Lincoln Riley have one of the most feared offenses in the nation. 2022 Heisman winner Caleb Williams has thrown for over 1,800 yards in the first six weeks. While doing so, Williams has contributed 22 touchdown passes to the Trojans high powered offense. Two of William’s top targets are Senior wide receivers Tahj Washington and Brendan Rice. Both Rice and Washington have over 400 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Head Coach Marcus Freeman is under pressure right now after starting the season 4-0. It is amazing how fast things can change in the world of college football. The Irish just weeks ago were playoff hopefuls with an emerging transfer Quarterback. Now Coach Freeman is fighting for his job while the Irish try to become bowl-eligible this weekend.
Players to Watch (Notre Dame):
(QB) Sam Hartman- 16 passing TDs, 3 Interceptions, 1,712 Passing yards.
(TE) Mitchell Evans- 22 Receptions, 343 total yards, 1 Touchdown.
(WR) Chris Tyree- 14 Receptions, 293 receiving yards, 2 Touchdowns.
Players to Watch (USC):
(QB) Caleb Williams- 22 Passing Touchdowns, 1 Interception, 1,822 Passing Yards.
(RB) MarShawn Loyd- 67 Carries, 519 Yards, 4 Touchdowns.
(WR) Brendan Rice- 21 Receptions, 434 Yards, 7 Touchdowns.
#11 NOTRE DAME VS. #17 DUKE PREVIEW: See what Brett Cagle has to say about Saturday's prime time game at #17 Duke and his score prediction.
Week Six: #11 Notre Dame (4-1) vs. #17 Duke (4-0)
With last week’s three-point loss to Ohio State, “the Fighting Irish” will look to rebound in a road matchup against ACC opponent Duke. After an emotional contest, Notre Dame will have their hands full with an undefeated Duke team. This Duke team has yet to give up more than 14 points this season and defeated Clemson at home in week one. Helping Duke get off to a fast start is second-year Head Coach Mike Elko, who led the Blue Devils to a bowl game last year and a 9-4 record. Elko was Notre Dame’s Defensive Coordinator in 2017 before joining Texas A&M. Currently Notre Dame is favored at online sportsbooks (-210).
Where to Watch: 6:30 on ABC
Location: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
Gambling Line: -5.5 (Notre Dame)
After holding Ohio State to under 20 points the Notre Dame defense has been solid all year. Coming into this week Notre Dame currently ranks 10th in the nation in Red Zone Defense (NCAA.com). Duke will not have the offensive playmakers that the Buckeyes did, although Senior Receiver Jalon Calhoun has two touchdowns and over 250 yards on the season. Duke’s Quarterback Riley Leonard has more scores on the ground this year (4) than he does through the air (2). The Blue Devils offense has produced high-scoring games through four weeks, but they have not faced a defense close to the talent level of Notre Dame’s.
Only scoring 14 points last week was a low point for the Notre Dame offense so far this season. However, Senior Quarterback Sam Hartman has yet to throw an interception and could be influential in the Irish success this weekend. Hartman is very familiar with the Blue Devils' defense as he shredded Duke for 340+ yards and 3 touchdowns in both games he played against them as Wake Forest Quarterback in 2021-2022. These past performances should give Hartman a boost in confidence when the team travels to Durham, North Carolina this weekend.
Head Coach Marcus Freeman stated recently that the loss to Ohio State hurts because “We didn’t play at our best”. Coach Freeman will try to get the Fighting Irish back on track this weekend to keep their playoff hopes alive. This could be a potentially dangerous game if Duke can get a lead early at home and work the clock with their running game.
Players to Watch (Notre Dame)
QB Sam Hartman: 14 Touchdowns, 1,236 Passing Yards, 0 Interceptions
RB Audric Estime: 591 Rushing Yards, 5 Touchdowns, 7.7 YPC
WR Chris Tyree: 241 Yards receiving, 2 Touchdowns.
Players to Watch (Duke)
QB Riley Leonard: 778 Yards Passing, 2 Touchdowns, 238 Rushing Yards
RB: Jordan Waters: 258 Rushing Yards, 7 Touchdowns
WR: Jalon Calhoun: 258 Yards Receiving, 20 Receptions, 2 Touchdowns
Prediction: 28-17 (Notre Dame)
#9 NOTRE DAME VS. #6 OHIO STATE PREVIEW: Brett Cagle previews this highly anticipated prime time matchup of top 10 teams Saturday night in South Bend, IN.
BY BRETT CAGLE:
College Football Preview: #6 Ohio State (3-0) vs. #9 Notre Dame (4-0)
The Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame welcome Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State to South Bend, Indiana this week in what is being billed as the best college football game of the season so far. The entire country will have their attention on this contest Saturday night as both rabid fanbases believe their teams are title contenders. Each team enters this contest with an undefeated record and are ranked inside the top ten of the College Football standings. Notre Dame defeated Central Michigan last week 41-17, while Ohio State beat Western Kentucky 63-10.
Where to Watch: NBC 6:30 CST
Location: Notre Dame Stadium (South Bend, Indiana)
Betting Line Currently: -3.0 Ohio State. O/U 55.5
Heisman hopeful Sam Hartman enters this game with an impressive 13-0 Touchdown-to-interception ratio. Hartman is on pace to surpass 3,500 yards passing for the third time in his college career. This will not be Hartman’s first time facing a top-ten opponent. As Wake Forrest’s Quarterback in the 2022 season, Hartman threw for 337 yards and 6 Touchdowns against a Clemson team that was ranked fifth at the time. Hartman was extremely humble during this week's press availability saying that his confidence comes from “My coaches and the players around me”.
Ohio State Quarterback Kyle McCord is coming off the best performance of his career against Western Kentucky. McCord has a wide variety of targets to choose from including Wide Receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. McCord struggled however on the road against conference opponent Indiana in the first week of the season.
One of the Buckeye’s strengths is their defense, which has only surrendered 20 combined points over the first three weeks. Leading the Ohio State defense are senior Linebackers Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers. Although Ohio State’s strength of schedule has not been the greatest, the Buckeyes are currently ranked second in the nation in both fewest points and yards allowed per game.
Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman talked briefly about containing Ohio State’s top weapons at his weekly press conference stating “ A lot of those playmakers are back for them… Harrison has a great body type, great hands, and he’s well coached…..they do a great job of developing that wideout room”. In last year's 21-10 loss, Harrison Jr. and Egbuka combined for 146 yards and a touchdown. Freeman is obviously making this a point of emphasis for his football team ahead of this Saturday's matchup.
Prediction: 31-28 Notre Dame
#9 NOTRE DAME VS. CENTRAL MICHIGAN PREVIEW: Brett Cagle previews this Saturday's home game versus Central Michigan and gives his score prediction.
#9 Notre Dame (3-0) vs. Central Michigan (1-1)
The Fighting Irish return to South Bend after defeating ACC opponent NC State 45-24 last Saturday. Notre Dame Quarterback Sam Hartman continued his stellar play throwing for 286 yards and 4 Touchdowns against the Wolfpack. Running Back Audic Estime gashed NC State for 134 yards and 2 Touchdowns on the ground. Following Notre Dame’s road win Head Coach Marcus Freeman liked how his team handled adversity stating “You’ve got guys coming in, like Sam that’s been through adversity, to stay in the moment, to not be so focused on what happened in the past.”
Where to Watch: Peacock (2:30 CST)
Location: South Bend, Indiana
Betting Spread: -34.5 Notre Dame
Notre Dame will face Mid-American Conference opponent Central Michigan on Saturday in a contest they are expected to dominate. The Irish will enter this game as thirty-four-and-a-half point favorites at home. Central Michigan defeated The University of New Hampshire last week in a 45-42 shootout. In week one Central Michigan was outmatched against Big Ten opponent Michigan State losing 31-7 against the Spartans.
Notre Dame has had a solid defense throughout the early weeks of the season holding opponents to under 100 yards rushing in each of their first three games. Central Michigan had two players rush for over 100 yards against New Hampshire but struggled through the air throwing for less than 200 yards. Against the Irish stout rush defense, the Chippewas are expected to struggle offensively this weekend.
Receiver Holden Staes had a monster game last week catching 2 touchdowns while adding 4 receptions and 115 yards through the air. Notre Dame has a deep receiving core with Jaden Greathouse (8 Rec, 113 Yards, and 3 Touchdowns) and Jayden Thomas (8 Rec, 125 Yards, 1 Touchdown) also getting off to a great start this season as well.
Players to Watch (Notre Dame):
QB Sam Hartman- (48-64) 75% Completion Percentage, 731 yards, 10 Touchdowns, 0 INT
RB Audic Estime- 345 Rushing Yards, 4 Touchdowns, 8.0 YPC
WR Chris Tyree- 6 Rec, 128 Yards, 1 Touchdown
Players to Watch (Central Michigan):
QB Bert Emanuel Jr.- (18-36) 280 Passing Yards, 3 Touchdowns, 3 INT, 142 Rushing Yards, 2 Rushing Touchdowns
RB Myles Bailey- 127 Yards Rushing, 1 Touchdown
WR Chris Parker- 5 Receptions, 142 Yards, 1 Touchdown
Prediction: Notre Dame 42 - Central Michigan 10
#10 NOTRE DAME VS. NC STATE PREVIEW: Brett Cagle debut's his first article with We Are ND Nation as he previews Saturday's game at NC State.
The 10th-ranked Fighting Irish travel to face ACC opponent NC State this weekend. North Carolina State defeated UCONN 24-14 in their season opener and are led by Senior Quarterback Brennan Armstrong. In NC State’s week one win, Armstrong found the endzone twice on his feet, while rushing for 96 yards.
How to Watch:
Time: 12:00 E.T
Location: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina
Notre Dame has also had stellar Quarterback play this year, as senior transfer Sam Hartman has thrown for 445 yards and six touchdowns through two games. Both of Notre Dame’s wins were massive blowouts over Navy and Tennesse State. Jayden Thomas and Jaden Greathouse are currently leading the Irish in receiving yards and receptions. Greathouse is a talented freshman who has already found the endzone twice this season.
Head Coach Marcus Freeman stated in his weekly press conference that he was “very pleased” with the Redzone offense and defense of his team through two weeks. He also added, “Red zone defense is something we have really been talking about…we didn’t really have a good red zone defense last season and I think that they have done a really good job through the first two games executing”.
Notre Dame’s Defense has held opponents to a combined 6 points leading into this contest and have forced five takeaways (2 INT, 3 FF) so far this season. Traveling this Saturday, The Irish are road favorites at online sportsbooks (-7.5) and will look to continue to build on their early success ahead of a showdown with top-five ranked Ohio State on September, 23rd.
Key Players for Notre Dame:
Sam Hartman (QB)- 445 Passing Yards, 7 Touchdowns Total, 82.3 Completion Percentage.
Audric Estime(RB) - 29 carries, 211 Rushing Yards, Two Rushing Touchdowns, 7.3 YPC.
Jaden Greathouse (WR)- 5 Receptions, 98 Yards receiving, 2 Touchdowns.
Key Players for NC State:
Brennan Armstrong (QB)- 17-26 Passes completed in week one, 155 yards Passing, 96 yards
Rushing, 2 Rushing Touchdowns.
Jordan Houston (RB)- 57 yards Rushing, 4.4 Yards Per Carry.
Payton Wilson (LB)- 10 total tackles, 1 INT.
BRETT'S SCORE PREDICTION: Notre Dame 28 | NC State 10
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
Lujack led Notre Dame to 3 National Titles
The 6'3", 230lb linebacker committed to the Irish after passing up offers from U$C, Ohio $tate and Alabama