NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
All articles by 17 year old chris dailey
Founder, The Sports Court
In a battle of College Football bluebloods, Notre Dame and Ohio State delivered to the sky-high expectations that were set before the game.
With College Gameday in town, all eyes were on the game between #6 Ohio State and #9 Notre Dame. The Buckeyes featured one of the most loaded teams in the country with five star recruits all around, highlighted by a potential top five pick in the draft and best wide receiver in College Football, Marvin Harrison Jr. The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, boasted a squad that competes with the best in the country, highlighted by transfer quarterback, Sam Hartman.
Coming into the game, Hartman was one of the favorites for the Heisman trophy and also cemented himself as a great of College Football, having reached up to top ten all-time in passing touchdowns.
Hartman’s right hand man, Audric Estime, also had sky-high expectations headed into Saturday Night’s showdown. Estime was at the top of all major rushing stats and stopping him was a huge part of Ohio State’s gameplan.
The game wasn’t a high-scoring shootout that some had hoped for, rather, it was an intricate battle between two evenly matched teams who patiently waited to capitalize on one another's mistakes.
Both defenses played well and the offense couldn't get much rolling.
Despite coming back from a 10-0 deficit to make it 14-10 thanks to a great rushing attack with several backs getting in work and the amazing play of Sam Hartman, Notre Dame still needed one more stop at the end of the game to secure a primetime victory.
On third and long, Kyle McCord of Ohio State connected to Emeka Egbuka to put them within striking distance of the endzone.
Henderson then punched it in for Notre Dame after a questionable timeout in which Marcus Freeman, Al Golden, and company decided to put 10 men out on the field rather than 11 to defend against the Ohio State run.
Freeman mentioned not wanting to risk a penalty in regards to why he didn’t include the eleventh man, but the call baffled most nevertheless.
McCord’s poise and football IQ was on full display as he proved himself to be an elite quarterback during the drive, and Ohio State made Notre Dame pay for the mistake.
Ohio State scored the touchdown with one second on the clock.
Notre Dame wasn’t able to capitalize on their one last final play of the game.
It was yet another heartbreaking finish in a big game for the Fighting Irish and marks the end to a five game winning streak with green jerseys on.
Although Notre Dame fought until the very last second, not being able to finish the job fully continues to be a common trend in South Bend as frustrations grow within the fanbase.
The Fighting Irish dropped to eleventh in the AP Poll while the Buckeyes sit in a CFP spot at fourth.
CHRIS’ THOUGHTS: That was by far the most heartbreaking finish to any football game ever.
To have the game in the palm of your hands and see it all slip away is just disappointing, but to have ten men on the field on the final two plays is just an insult to injury.
Sam Hartman had a great game and I’m very impressed with everything he has done for the Fighting Irish thus far but missing the screen pass on Notre Dame’s final offensive possession ultimately led to the demise of the Irish.
It was a great defensive effort - no doubt - by the Buckeyes on the play, but if Hartman floated that over the defender there was nothing but open space to attack into.
Notre Dame also had chances for interceptions on the final drive before McCord connected to Egbuka.
I am proud of how Notre Dame fought - they showed why they are a playoff contender. However, this year, I don’t know how much of a chance there is for a one loss Notre Dame to sneak into the College Football Playoffs as compared to other years.
I think it’s one of the hardest years to make the Playoffs with just how equal everyone is.
All of this makes this loss sting even more.
Onward. Forward. Love thee.
Founder, The Sports Court
Ian Book is a backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League. From the hills of El Dorado, California, to the city of brotherly love and everywhere in between, Ian Book’s story from an undersized recruit to setting Notre Dame’s all-time win record to being a member of the best team in the NFL is nothing short of remarkable.
Book grew up loving all sports, but football is what captivated his heart. He would go on to attend Oak Ridge High School where he threw for 7,632 yards and 78 touchdowns.
Book was a superstar, and several teams came calling. Book originally committed to a local school, Washington State, before flipping his commitment to attend a school across the country.
This school wasn’t any ordinary school. This school is the most prestigious and historic program in all of College Football. Known for their shiny helmets and the figure of Touchdown Jesus that rises over the stadium, Book took his talents to South Bend, Indiana to dawn the blue and gold of Notre Dame.
Book redshirted in his freshman year at Notre Dame. It was in his second year in which he rocketed to stardom.
After coming in for an injured Brandon Wimbush against UNC, Book didn’t see much action until the 2018 Citrus Bowl against LSU. Wimbush struggled and Book was inserted into the game and won the hearts of Notre Dame fans thanks to his heroic play and iconic throw to Miles Boykin to win the game in the final seconds of the game to help Notre Dame win 21-18.
“Just being able to go in at the end of the 1st quarter and be able to play was amazing. I knew I was going to be able to play. They had a plan for Wimbush and myself. But once I got in I was able to do what I had to do and play the rest of the game which was pretty cool and we started to click as an offense. I knew I was throwing that back shoulder fade to Myles for what feels like forever but was only a year, but he’s a long-range receiver who can go up and make every catch and did an unbelievable job, made both guys miss, and it was a pretty cool moment and my welcome to college football’ moment,” said Book in regards to his iconic performance in the Citrus Bowl.
Book went on to have 30 wins as the starting quarterback at the University of Notre Dame, surpassing the likes of 1947 Heisman Winner, Johnny Lujack, and his offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees.
Book’s best moments included two trips to the College Football Playoffs, a historic achievement for a historic school that is limited in recruiting thanks to rigorous academic standards.
However, perhaps the greatest moment of the Ian Book era at Notre Dame wasn’t the two college football semifinal appearances. It was the regular season classic at home against Clemson in which Notre Dame knocked off the number 1 team in the country 47-40 in one of the greatest college football games in recent memory.
Book through for 310 yards and 1 touchdown and contributed for 67 yards on the ground.
Dispute an early fumble, Book had a short memory and kept on plugging away, willing Notre Dame to a historic upset win.
“A great game, that was something early in the week I knew something special would happen. I felt like that was one of the times in college football I felt like the entire building believed that we were going to beat the number-one team in the country. That doesn’t happen everywhere but that is something cool about Notre Dame,” said Book, “we had a bunch of guys that were brought in and I felt like we were going to win before it even happened. (About the fumble play) I thought I was going to score but the guy made a really good play and knocked the ball out. In my career, whenever there is a bad play, I try to forget about it and move on and I remember going to the sideline and everybody encouraging me and saying I’ll be fine. I had a moment of in one ear out the other and I’ll be fine. I felt good and kept fighting the whole game and it came down to the last few plays and the fans storming the field during the pandemic was surreal so it felt pretty good.”
That game cemented Book’s status as a Notre Dame legend.
Whether Notre Dame fans appreciate him is up to the fans themselves, but they can certainly not deny the impact Ian Book left on the modern-day era of Notre Dame Football. From an undersized recruit to an all-time win leader, two CFP appearances, and a win against the #1 team in the country isn’t too shabby for somebody who was told by many online that he is too small to play the quarterback position.
Book went on to get drafted in the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints and in his rookie season had one start. That start coming in a game against the Miami Dolphins. Although not the ideal game for Book, he gave it his all but the Saints weren’t able to get much clicking due to injuries plus COVID holding the team back from putting most of their primary starters on the field.
Now in his second year, and playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, Book has been a member of the Eagles squad that has defied all odds by winning the NFC East and finishing the year 14-3. The Eagles earned the #1 seed in the NFC and will host the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Round.
Book’s rise from a lesser-known recruit to a member of the best team in the NFL is a remarkable story about hard work, determination, and staying true to yourself.
“Instead of proving others wrong, I want to prove myself right,” said Ian Book, perfectly describing both his career and life motto.
Book is on a mission to prove himself, the little kid that once dreamed of playing in the NFL, right, rather than all of the haters wrong. The kid from El Dorado Hills is on a mission to do the things he set out to do for himself rather than the validation of those who didn’t believe in him.
An elite mindset and top individual, Ian Book is very well on his path to a Lombardi Trophy and a Super Bowl ring.
The Eagles will need to take care of business against the Giants and the winner of SF vs Dallas/Tampa Bay and then the eventual champion of the AFC.
For now, it’s one step at a time for Book and the Eagles.
Founder, The Sports Court
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on Ohio State tonight in the most highly anticipated week 1 matchup of the year.
Notre Dame, coming off of a year where they were fifth in the country before choking a massive lead to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, will be sure to come out fierce and fiery as it's the season debut of new Head Coach, Marcus Freeman. Freeman, an Ohio State alum, will be looking to pull off the upset of the century in his first regular season game as head coach.
Meanwhile, Ohio State are coming off of a year where they too missed out on the playoffs, losing in the Big Ten title game to Michigan. The Buckeyes won in the Rose Bowl against Utah by a score of 48-45, perhaps one of the best college football games of all time.
The Buckeyes are led by CJ Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (JSN for short). In the Rose Bowl against Utah, the pairing of then sophomores at the time exploded. JSN set an FBS record with 347 receiving yards. The two superstars create for one of the most dangerous duos in the country and playoffs are the minimum expectation for Ohio State this year.
Ohio State HC, Ryan Day, was quoted saying, “Maybe at some places 11-2 with a Rose Bowl victory a good year. It isn’t at Ohio State.”
Day has emphasized this to the players and they are ready to perform in front of their home crowd in a week 1 game against the Irish.
Luckily for Ohio State, the game is at home.
As for the Irish, there are still many question marks surrounding the team. The main being the uncertainty around the QB position.
During the off-season, there was a long-standing battle for the starting QB spot between redshirt sophomore, Drew Pyne, and true sophomore, Tyler Buchner.
Both quarterbacks made promising appearances last season when they were both backups to Jack Coan, who has since departed for the NFL.
Buchner captivated the hearts of Notre Dame fans with his running ability and big-play mentality. Buchner drove in six total touchdowns for the Irish, three in the air and three with his feet.
On the other hand, Pyne came in late to the Cincinnati game, which Notre Dame lost, and helped drive a comeback that fell just short. Many fans felt that if he had stepped into the game earlier the Irish would’ve won.
At the end of the battle, Marcus Freeman announced that Tyler Buchner will be getting the nod at the starting job for week 1.
Now, it’s time for Buchner and the boys to start buzzing because tonight is the night a new era starts for Notre Dame. The Marcus Freeman era and the Tyler Buchner era.
It’s time to show up against the number 2 team in the country, Ohio State, and show why Notre Dame didn’t deserve to be labeled 17.5-point underdogs.
Founder, The Sports Court
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football program is in good hands with Marcus Freeman as head coach.
Freeman, a former linebacker at Ohio State who spent a year in the NFL bouncing around practice squads, helped build the Cincinnati defense as their DC.
That Cincinnati defense made the CFB Playoffs this year while Freeman was in South Bend.
Since Freeman was appointed DC on (date), he has commanded respect from players and other members of the coaching staff.
When Brian Kelly announced he was leaving the program, players were left shocked. The captains took matters into their own hands and made sure that Notre Dame’s AD, Jack Swarbrick, knew that they wanted Marcus Freeman as their next HC.
Swarbrick listened and appointed Freeman as head coach. Freeman, who has helped Notre Dame build two incoming top 5 recruiting classes, was welcomed by a standing ovation to the team when he walked in their locker room as HC for the first time.
Mike Elston, the Defensive Line coach at Notre Dame, talked about this moment, stating, “I was actually somewhere recruiting (laughing). I wasn't even in the locker room. But seeing the video doesn't shock me. He's the same guy every day. The players appreciate that. It was very heart-warming. And he's a great guy, and the players love him, and it showed up on that video.”
The trust that the players put in Freeman to help him get promoted to head coach has paid off, the players are in better shape and having more fun than ever.
Since being appointed head coach, the players have found practices more upbeat.
When asked about the biggest change Freeman has implemented on the Notre Dame program, star tight end Michael Mayer said, “I think number one, it's been the practices. The practices have been more upbeat, more up-tempo, a little bit more against our own defense. For me, I think it's been great. It's got me better in shape. I think the team can agree. It's a little bit more competitive, a little bit more energy on the field, and I think that's something that's been great for this team, and I think it will show this weekend.”
Meanwhile, Freeman himself has learned a lot about himself in his short head coaching tenure so far.
“You come from Cincinnati where we had a lot of success, and you feel like you really had a good spring. You really had a good fall. As you go into the first game versus Florida State, after that game, you're like, "Oh, crap, we're not as good as I thought,” stated Freeman at the Head Coaches press conference. Freeman went on to say, “after week 6, your best player, Kyle Hamilton, goes down. So you have to say, Okay, now how do we fit this scheme around who's the next guy in? This group has just trusted us and this coaching staff. The coaching staff has done a tremendous job in terms of just figuring out what's the best way to teach these guys. What's the best thing that fits these guys? We've worked as a team. The defensive staff has been a team all year. Taking other people's ideas is something that we've done. And just the ability to try and get to this final product that we have, it's been a growing experience.”
Freeman continually emphasized the importance of learning from one another and continuing the momentum.
Freeman and the Fighting Irish will face Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on New Years Day at 11 AM Mountain Time. This will be the first game of the Marcus Freeman era and all Notre Dame fans are rooting for a strong start to an era that has high expectations.
Founder, The Sports Court
Jack Coan is a Notre Dame guy.
Most Notre Dame fans know Jack Coan for being the graduate transfer from Wisconsin who in a rebuilding year has led Notre Dame to the #5 ranking in the country with his stellar play, brute toughness, and leadership abilities.
Little do most Notre Dame fans know is that Jack once was ready to commit to play all four years of his college athletic experience at Notre Dame, but not for football.
Jack Coan was a lacrosse star and committed to Notre Dame for lacrosse and was set on going to South Bend before getting an offer from Wisconsin to play football for them.
Football being his main love, Coan jumped on the opportunity, and the rest is history.
The Sayville, New York, native led the Wisconsin Badgers to a Rose Bowl appearance, losing to Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks in a heartbreaking 28-27 game.
The following offseason, Coan was injured and did not play for Wisconsin that season, marking an end to his career with the Badgers.
When Coan announced he was transferring, the first school he thought of going to was Notre Dame. After several schools called, including the Irish, Coan realized that the opportunity to play for his dream school in his dream sport had finally presented himself and he jumped on the opportunity.
“(Notre Dame) means a ton to me. It was always sort of my dream to come play football here at Notre Dame. And, obviously, I was coming here for lacrosse. And then when I was in the transfer portal and Notre Dame came around and offered me to come here, it sort of just felt like it was meant to be,” said Coan about coming to Notre Dame at the Fiesta Bowl media day.
Coan has started every game for the Irish this season and has thrown for 2,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. He’s even won games while playing with a dislocated finger.
The heart and passion that Coan plays with have been a driving force into Notre Dame’s remarkable season.
Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees, stated that his only regret with Jack Coan is that, “we didn’t have him for four years.”
Rees, a Notre Dame legend as a player and on his way to becoming one as an OC, has high praise for Coan and believes he will be a successful player in the NFL and will find his way onto a roster next year.
Coan, Rees, & co. will take on Oklahoma State on New Years Day at the Playstation Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.
This will be Coan’s final college football game and his chance to prove himself in front of NFL scouts and add a piece of silverware to his impressive resume.
Founder, The Sports Court
Malcolm Rodriguez walked into Fiesta Bowl media day with a cowboy hat on and full of excitement. Rodriguez, the leader of the team, leads Oklahoma State in tackles and is ready to pounce on Notre Dame and walk away from Glendale with a win and Fiesta Bowl trophy in his final game as a Cowboy.
“I’m just glad they (OSU) took a chance on a small-town kid like me. I’m glad we were able to kind of be in the top ten at the end of the season, and hopefully, we get this W on Saturday,” said Rodriguez about OSU.
Rodriguez is the energetic, full-of-life team leader alongside players such as safety Kolby Harvell-Peel, who is a dynamic, versatile, highly-touted NFL Draft prospect.
Harvell-Peel, who has ten interceptions in his career at OSU, including three this season, withdrew his name from consideration in last year's NFL Draft pool after realizing that he wanted to have another go at it with Oklahoma State.
“After I made the decision it felt like I had a weight taken off my shoulders and I was able to lock in on playing ball at OSU again. I went through this whole season, enjoyed it, and in the end coming back paid off and I was able to have a great season.”
Harvell-Peel is one of the main pieces to OSU’s team that has soared to the 9th overall ranking in the country.
However, the excitement of playing in a New Years 6 game will also come with faes leaving and tons of preparation for Notre Dame’s offense.
Oklahoma State’s former DC, Jim Knowles, recently left the program for the Ohio State Buckeyes, which left OSU’s Mike Gundy with a quick decision on who to appoint as interim DC.
Gundy looked no further than defensive line coach, Joe Bob Clements, who has had plenty of offers to be a DC at many schools around the country.
Clements has a lot of his hands to take care of. Although he knows the team inside and out, he will have to fill in the void that came with Knowles leaving the program.
In addition, Clements will also have to prepare for Notre Dame’s QB carousel. The Fighting Irish have used 3 different QBs this year, all of whom possess different unique attributes.
Jack Coan is a proven winner and pocket passer. Freshman, Tyler Buchner, is labeled as the future of the program and has good size and wheels. Meanwhile, Drew Pyne is a mix of both Coan and Buchner.
Joe Bob Clements talked about the preparation for the game and having to play against possibly 3 QBs, “Well, we've had the fortunate benefit of having a month to prepare. It might have been a little bit more of a headache if we only had a week. But you see some uniqueness with the quarterbacks that they play, but you also see similarities… They’ve got (Coan) who’s played in two different New Years' 6 Bowl games for two different teams, and that’s not a coincidence. They also got 12 (Tyler Buchner), and he’s a dynamic runner but can also throw the ball and make things happen for them.”
Collin Oliver, who leads the team in sacks, also talked about playing against a multitude of QBs, “I'm very excited. It's a new challenge that I can't wait to take on. We obviously have been preparing for the trio of quarterbacks that they have in a good way, in preparing certain calls for certain situations. So I think Joe Bob [Clements] has his stuff down,” Oliver said.
Oklahoma State’s hard-hitting, energetic, and cohesive defensive unit will take the field against Notre Dame at the Fiesta Bowl on New Years Day and all the players are looking forward to the chance to play against a school with the prestige and talent of Notre Dame.
Although doubts have been presented by many college football fans after the Jim Knowles move, Notre Dame is going through a similar situation and both teams will want to start their new eras off strong.
Founder, The Sports Court
Ian Book is just an undersized, three-star recruit, from El Dorado Hills that clawed and scraped his way to become Notre Dame’s all-time win leader and left South Bend as a legend.
Book, who led Notre Dame to two college football semifinals appearances, was picked up by Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints with the 133rd overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
After weeks of being on the practice squad, Book finally got called up to the active 53 man roster when injuries and COVID occurred to the Saints. New Orleans’ main man at the QB spot, Jameis Winston tore his ACL to start the season, then after leading the team to a respectable 7-7 record, QB pair Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill were both placed on the IR/COVID reserve list.
The next man in the pecking order is none other than Ian Book and he’s been given the green light to start in his first NFL game on Monday Night Football against the red hot Miami Dolphins led by Tua Tagovailoa.
Tua, who has had a resurgence in his second year, has led Miami to 6 straight wins. Meanwhile, the Saints are coming off of a 9-0 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in one of the most obscure games of the year.
Book will have a tall task to handle as Miami possess a good secondary who will be sure to try to trick Ian Book into making mistakes.
Luckily for the Saints, and unfortunately for the Dolphins, Book was known at Notre Dame for his good progressions and ability to escape the rush, two things vital in today's NFL game. Book’s speedy wheels and improvisation skills will come in handy in his first NFL game.
In addition to the quick feet of Ian Book, Sean Payton will make sure to have his running backs in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram ready for lots of touches on Monday Night.
Miami has the seventh-best rushing defense in the league, so the Saints' offensive line will have some work to do to make sure that the players behind them can exploit holes and win the football game.
Book is filled with confidence and excitement heading into his NFL start, and the kid who was never supposed to make it is ready for his time to shine on Monday Night lights with America watching on.
CHRIS' THOUGHTS: I've seen every single second of Ian Book playing football from the time he stepped in at Notre Dame and made a miracle happen in the Music City Bowl. Book's toughness, leadership, and athleticism will do him well at the NFL level.
I expect Book to have a good game and make prove the many haters wrong. Book has all the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback, whether as a starter or reliable backup that hasn't been determined yet, but this game on Monday night is his chance, who are trying to get a Wild Card spot, that he's their guy.
And I believe he will.
Founder, The Sports Court
They came, they saw, the conquered: The legacy of Kyle Hamilton and Kyren Williams.
Kyle Hamilton and Kyren Williams walked into South Bend, Indiana as 4 and 3-star recruits, respectively.
The pair became two of the most explosive players in Notre Dame history, Hamilton lighting up on the defensive side of the game while Williams dominated on offense. The two now leave Notre Dame as potential first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Hamilton, who is considered a future top 10 pick and the best safety in the draft, spent his freshman season as a backup to Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliot. Despite being the backup, Hamilton still managed to record 41 tackles, 4 interruptions, and a touchdown.
It was in his sophomore year when Hamilton made his name known around the college football world. The kid from Atlanta recorded 63 tackles, 1 interception, and impressed Notre Dame fans with his versatility. Hamilton was anywhere and everywhere on the field.
Although Hamilton’s junior season was cut short due to an ankle injury in October, the highly touted recruit still managed to record 3 interceptions including two against Florida State, including an interception where Hamilton managed to run across the field from side to side to grab the interception.
Meanwhile, Kyren William’s quickness and consistency have been unmatched in his three years at Notre Dame. In his sophomore and junior season, Williams has tallied over 2,000 combined rushing yards and a total of 27 touchdowns.
Williams is also an efficient pass catcher, having 300+ yard receiving seasons the past two years.
Williams, ranked the fourth-best back in the nation by Mel Kiper, and second by TSC’s NFL Draft Player Rankings, has one of the quickest first steps and the ability to catch passes that NFL scouts crave for.
The two players, both captains as a junior, have both declared for the 2022 NFL Draft and will forgo the Fiesta Bowl. This also means the two will never have played a game under Marcus Freeman as a head coach.
Hamilton and Williams were integral pieces in Notre Dame’s College Football Playoff Appearance last season and have left their mark in Notre Dame history forever.
Notre Dame has adjusted to life without Kyle Hamilton, as he hasn’t played since October. However, the loss of Kyren Williams will be huge and the former fastest high school player in the nation, Chris Tyree, will have big shoes to fill for the Blue and Gold.
The impact the pair has made on the program is immense and now Marcus Freeman and co will have to adjust to life without two of their stars and the two foregoing the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State will put a dent in Notre Dame’s chances of winning.
CHRIS’ thoughts: As mentioned in the article, Kyle Hamilton has been out with an injury since October, so his impact of leaving won’t be felt as much as Kyren Williams’.
However, Chris Tyree is a star, and he will finally get the chance has been patiently waiting for since coming to South Bend. Tyree has learned from one of the very best to do it in Williams and he will have to have a big game against Oklahoma State.
While Notre Dame’s betting chances of winning will most likely go down, I still favor Notre Dame in this game. I predict the Irish will come away from Glendale with a win, 36-27.
Founder, The Sports Court
It’s been a whirlwind of a week for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Team. After longtime head coach, Brian Kelly, left the program right before the possibility of making the playoffs, the players, staff, and fans were left shocked and wondering what was left of this chaotic season.
Many called for Luke Fickell from Cincinnati to take over as head coach. Some were rooting for Pat Fitzgerald from Northwestern. However, nobody was more favored and wanted than a defensive coordinator, Marcus Freeman.
A cool, calm, and collected, brilliant young mind, Marcus Freeman is also one of the best recruiters in the nation. Freeman helped recruit all the current players at Cincinnati who are third in the country and the upcoming Notre Dame classes which both rank top 5 in the country.
Notre Dame’s athletic director, Jack Swarbrick noticed this and jumped quickly on hiring Marcus Freeman. Players, recruits, and fans were relieved and confident with the decision.
The passion that the players had for Freeman was shown when he was announced as the head coach in the locker room. Freeman, a former Ohio State linebacker, was pumped, and all the players jumped on him celebrating.
Now, freeman and the Irish will have a tough test on their hands in their bowl game in Glendale, Arizona. After narrowly missing out on the College Football Playoffs, Freeman and the Irish will compete for the Fiesta Bowl against #9 Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State, who also recently held the fifth spot in the college football rankings, is a fantastic football team who came inches away from beating Baylor in a heartbreaking Big 12 Championship Game that went down to the very final whistle.
Baylor, relieved to get out of the game with a win, were pushed to the limits by an Oklahoma State team.
Notre Dame’s defensive line will be the difference-maker in their clash against Oklahoma State. If the likes of Isiah Foskey can step up to the plate and pressure Blake Shapen, OKST’s QB who threw three interceptions against Baylor.
On the other side of the ball, the offensive line must stay strong and support Jack Coan, who isn’t the most mobile of quarterbacks.
Tommy Rees should also make sure to find Kevin Austin throughout the game. Austin, the most reliable deep threat for the Irish all season long, has racked up 42 receptions for 783 yards and 6 touchdowns throughout the season.
Overall, both teams have a lot of questions coming into the Fiesta Bowl, and both will do their best to answer them.
CHRIS’ PREDICTION: I have Notre Dame winning this game 34-23. Notre Dame has a great defense, explosive offense, and most importantly, a chip on their shoulder following the departure of Brian Kelly.
Kelly’s departure left Notre Dame players shocked, confused, and angry. Now with Marcus Freeman at the helm, these players know they have lots to prove and will use their frustration out on the field.
For some players, such as QB, Jack Coan, this will be the last game they ever play for the Irish, and I believe they will leave on a high, winning the Fiesta Bowl at the beautiful, State Farm Stadium.
Founder, The Sports Court
The year is 2021, and Notre Dame still hasn’t earned respect from many fans around the country.
Despite being the closest team to Alabama all season (losing by 17 points, every other team Alabama played lost by more than 17 points), Notre Dame was still laughed at and mocked by their college football peers.
However, Brian Kelly didn’t listen to the outsiders and has continued to build upon the foundation he’s made at Notre Dame. Even despite the Irish’s all-time win leader at the QB position in Ian Book leaving, Kelly has managed to string together win after win.
Throughout the 2021 season thus far, Notre Dame has fallen to only the number 4 Cincinnati Bearcats. However, as the old college football saying goes, “if you’re going to lose, do it early.”
Luckily, Notre Dame lost at the right time, and they’re now in a great position to make the college football playoffs.
Despite all the losses they had, despite the fact many saw it as a rebuilding year for the Irish, Notre Dame has over a 50% chance of making it to the college football playoff for the third time in history, a remarkable feat.
The current college football rankings are Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Cincinnati, Michigan, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the six spot in the rankings.
This upcoming week, Ohio State and Michigan, both of whom have one loss, will play each other. If Notre Dame wins against Stanford, that will bump Notre Dame up to the 5 spot.
However, the team at 5 is the first team out. Luckily for Notre Dame, Georgia and Alabama will play in the SEC Championship game. If Alabama loses, it’s nearly certain Notre Dame will move up to the number 4 spot. However, if Alabama wins and Georgia loses, the Irish will have a 50-50 chance of getting in as it’s very likely the committee will go with a one-loss Georgia over a one-loss Notre Dame.
Regardless, Jack Coan and the Fighting Irish will need to take care of business away from home against a 3-8 Stanford team who are looking forward to the chance of putting a dent in the national championship hopes of their arch-nemesis.
Overall, Notre Dame fans have a lot of football to look forward to over the next few weeks as many games can help decide Notre Dame’s fate in the final rankings.