December 1, 2023

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No. 6 Ohio State beats No. 9 Notre Dame: It’s Buckeyes ‘against the world,’ says Ryan Day

No. 6 Ohio State beats No. 9 Notre Dame: It’s Buckeyes ‘against the world,’ says Ryan Day

“It’s always been Ohio State against the world” and it will continue to be that way, coach Ryan Day said after the No. 6 Buckeyes outlasted No. 9 Notre Dame to win 17-14 Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Earlier this week, former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz questioned Ohio State’s toughness. Day responded after the win, saying: “I can’t believe what (Holtz) said about our team. This is a tough team here. We are proud to be from Ohio.”
  • Running back Chip Trayanum scored the winning touchdown for Ohio State with one second left in the game, extending the Buckeyes’ winning streak over the Fighting Irish to six games dating back to 1995. TreVeyon Henderson had a 61-yard run in the third quarter.
  • Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord went 21 of 37 for 240 yards and zero touchdowns, while Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman was 17 of 25 passing for 175 yards and one TD.
  • The Buckeyes improved to 4-0 with the win as Notre Dame fell to 4-1.

The athlete Real-time analysis:

What did Ryan Day and Lou Holtz say?

On the field after Ohio State’s last-second win, Day became emotional, praising his team’s “toughness” and calling out Holtz, who he said on Friday “The Pat McAfee Show” “Notre Dame is a better football team than Ohio State. … You look at coach (Ryan)’s day… He’s lost to Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Michigan twice, and everyone beats him. They do it because they’re more physical than Ohio State.

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“What he said about our team, I can’t believe it. This is a tough team out here. We’re proud to be from Ohio,” Day said. “It’s always been Ohio against the world and it will always be Ohio against the world.”

A costly mistake

Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman called timeout to settle his defense of what turned out to be Ohio State’s game-winning touchdown. But the moment proved an organizational failure as Notre Dame played the final two snaps of the game with 10 men on the field.

On the first down, Kyle McCord’s lateral pass to Marvin Harrison Jr. went wide of a hole in the Irish defence. In the second, DeaMonte Trayanum reached the end zone with one second remaining, a touchdown that survived review before turning into a dagger.

“It’s on us,” Freeman said. “We must be better.”

The Irish appear to be playing without a fourth defensive lineman on both snaps, which could have been the role filled by Jordan Botelho or another defensive end for the Vyper. Notre Dame was out of timeouts and Freeman struggled to explain when the Irish didn’t take a punt to get the entire defense down the field for the most important play of the season.

Getting an offsides penalty for the substitution violation would not have cost Notre Dame any yardage with the ball already on the 1-yard line. Alternatively, the defense could have been reset.

“Everything was going so fast,” Nickel Thomas Harper said. “I try to do my job, and I take the call. In this situation, we have to do better, players and coaches.” — Sampson

Notre Dame missed its chances in the fourth

On the first fourth down attempt, Notre Dame tried to get into heavy personnel and hit the play-action pass. It turned into a Hartman scramble that seemed to move the chains only for the officials to check in and move the Irish to the back. On the fourth down attempt, Notre Dame rushed to the line of scrimmage and cut off a quarterback sneak that Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg sniffed, resulting in another stop.

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Two series. Any point. In a 3-point game.

“I mean, any time we get over 50, I’ll probably go with fourth-and-1,” Freeman said. “You play the percentages. You either go all-in and do it or you don’t. And obviously, when you don’t get it, it’s terrible. But the percentages show you fourth and one, across the 50, you have to go for it because of the percentage to get that .

Hartmann was pressed to see what he could have done differently on the first offside.

“Yes, if I had got first place I would have done better there,” he said. “I’m not sure. Maybe you can tell me.”

One change would have been to lean on star Notre Dame running back Audric Esteem, but offensive coordinator Jerad Parker shied away from the Irish’s strengths in each situation, perhaps overthinking the play-action pass (it wasn’t) and becoming too sweet. With rapid infiltration.

In the end, both plays cost Notre Dame dearly in a game it had every chance of winning. The first died at Ohio State’s 18-yard line in the first quarter and the second stopped at the Buckeyes’ 39-yard line in the third quarter.

“Execute a little better, find a better hole, come out a little better,” Hartman said. “It’s a different ball game, score first, the drive continues.” — Sampson

Ohio State and the QB question

When was the last time Ohio State didn’t have an elite quarterback? There was some concern for the Buckeyes that this year might be the first time in a long time that the team didn’t have a quarterback who could win. But in the third game of Kyle McCord’s tenure as Ohio State’s starter, he drove a 65-yard scoring drive in the final 90 seconds of the game. Ohio State faced third-and-10, fourth-and-7, third-and-19 during the game-clinching drive and McCord converted them all. Although McCord didn’t finish the game with 400 yards and four touchdowns, he got it done when his team needed him most. He showed poise on the road after Notre Dame took all the momentum. Quite simply, he won. Ohio State has discovered a lot about the quarterback who is leading the way for this program. And what I discovered was amazing. — Ari Wasserman

Highlight of the game

Required reading

(Photo: Michael Reeves/Getty Images)