IRISH DROP OPENER 21-10: #5 Notre Dame dropped their season opener to #2 Ohio State 21-10 in Coach Freeman's regular season debut
BY: EVAN J. THOMAS
#5 Notre Dame was a 17.5 point underdog in their opening game at #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. The opening game for the Irish marks the first regular season game for new Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman and fitting it was against his alma mater.
Buckeyes QB C.J. Stroud threw two touchdown passes and Ohio State held the Irish offense scoreless over the final 42 minutes in the 21-10 loss.
The Irish defense frustrated Heisman Trophy finalist Stroud throughout the game and had a few first half scoring drives.
"We battled for 2 1/2 quarters, but then they scored with 17 seconds left in the third and we didn't respond," Freeman said.
The Buckeyes defense was tough on the Irish and new starting quarterback Tyler Buchner in the second half.
"We were called soft all last year and we had to sit there and just eat," Ohio State defensive back Lathan Ransom said.
The Irish managed just 253 offensive yards and punted on their last six possessions. Buchner completed his first eight passes and then went 2 for 10 the rest of the way. The Irish got creative and made some big catches in the first half to move the ball but ran out of answers.
"Ohio State's a really talented team, they're defense is awesome and you can't give the ball back to their offense, so when it wasn't clicking in the second half, it killed us," Buchner said.
On a third-and-long, Notre Dame brought multiple blitzers and Ohio State gave Stroud plenty of time to find Xavier Johnson open down the vacated deep middle for a 24-yard score. That put the Buckeyes up 14-10 with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
On its next drive, Ohio State asserted itself. The Buckeyes went 95 yards on 14 plays, killing seven minutes off the clock and making it 21-10 on a 1-yard surge by Miyan Williams.
The Irish offense didn't look very confident in their play calling and to me that was the main problem. Couldn't establish the run and be consistent with 30 carries for just 76 yards.
QB Buckner - 10/17, 177 yds
RB Tyree - 6 carries, 28 yds
RB Estime - 9 carries, 21 yds, 1 TD
TE Mayer - 5 catches, 32 yds