Responding to what’s in front of you: Bo Bauer makes every moment count
Jimmy Ward | Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Heading into Saturday night, almost no one was raving about graduate student linebacker Bo Bauer’s ability to haul down interceptions. But that’s exactly the spot he found himself in just moments after losing his teammate junior safety Kyle Hamilton to a knee injury. Hamilton had just made a tackle as USC crossed into the red zone, and for the first time of the night, the Irish defense was on its heels.
As Hamilton was making his way into the tent, junior defensive lineman Isiah Foskey made a huge play, stripping USC’s junior quarterback Kedon Slovis in the backfield. The Trojans were able to recover the fumble and gain most of the lost yardage back on second down to set up a pivotal third and eight from Notre Dame’s 12-yard line. Notre Dame’s pass rush blanketed the quarterback in navy uniforms as pressure from graduate student Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and senior twins Jayson and Justin Ademilola forced a hurried pass from Slovis to be tipped and fall right into the arms of Bo Bauer. Bauer was in the right place at the right time, and it paid off immensely in this game for the Irish, as it flipped the script and gave the Irish some breathing room as opposed to looking at a tied ballgame. Even though Bauer didn’t have enough in his tank to take the interception back to the house — and was taken down by none other than Slovis himself — and despite the Irish offense not being able to capitalize on the prime field position, the play proved to be a momentum swinger as the wind was most definitely taken out of USC’s sails. They were now forced to stare down a two-score deficit on the scoreboard for nearly the rest of the game.
The moment Kyle Hamilton went down on the sidelines, a major test started for this Irish defense, and they answered the bell. Bauer may have been the one who was able to make the big play at the opportune time, but their work was not done for the rest of the night, and playing complimentary football as a unit is what helped rally the Irish to a steady win over the Trojans in a big rivalry game in front of a host of recruits, their families and current and former Irish NFL stars.
Bauer would finish the night tied with Tariq Bracy, DJ Brown and JD Bertrand for most tackles with seven. Though he wasn’t able to outpace USC’s starting quarterback, his outlook after the game was still positive, he was especially complimentary of the atmosphere in the stadium.
“We’ve got the greatest fans in the world. They show out when we need them,” Bauer said in his postgame press conference. “I love to have our fans there and I thought the lights were cool.”
Bauer realizes that while a win over a rival might be sweet, the season is not anywhere close to being over. As reality begins to sink in with the diagnoses of Kyle Hamilton, his Irish defense must step up again in the face of challenge and adversity.
“We’re treating this second half as a new season,” he said. “Trying to establish high levels of execution and everyday we just try to be great responders to what’s in front of us because at the end of the day those are the people who inherit trophies.”