Key moments in Notre Dame’s home opener loss to Marshall

Marshall scores first. 

At the end of a scoreless first quarter, Marshall was mid-drive. From their own 21, Henry Colombi led the Herd 79 yards over 10 plays in four minutes. Caleb McMillan snagged two first downs, pushing into Irish territory before the quarter ended. The Irish failed to make several tackles — a trend that persisted throughout the game — giving up what looked like a touchdown, only for it to be called back due to illegal motion on the Herd’s side. Jayden Harrison reels in another first down from Colombi, this time to put Marshall in the red zone to start the second. From the Irish 4, Laborn takes it up the middle to break the scoreless tie. Up 6, Marshall kicker Rece Verhoff missed the PAT wide right, but this initial lead ends up more than enough to bring the Herd a win. 

Fourth down attempts don’t work for either team. 

The ball was turned over on downs three times in this game. 

First, graduate student wide receiver Braden Lenzy was sent down the sideline several times for the Irish, some of the routes using his speed to eventually curl past his defender. He was then targeted inside the Marshall 20 yard line on an Irish fourth down attempt. While he snagged the ball, he came down just out of bounds, and the Irish turned it over. 

On the very next drive Marshall turned the ball over on downs as well, but the Irish couldn’t do anything with it. 

It was on Notre Dame’s second fourth down attempt that Marshall was able to convert. Sophomore running back Audric Estime was stuffed twice at the Notre Dame 48, and then Marshall took it down to the third yard line. Although the defense stopped a touchdown, Rece Verhoff buried a 20 yard attempt. 

Buchner practically doubles his rushing touchdowns

Buchner was a workhorse across the board this game. He threw for 201 yards and led the team with 44 rushing yards. Two of those yards came from both of his rushing touchdowns — the only two Irish rushing touchdowns on the day. With 3 minutes left in the second quarter, Buchner threw to tight end Michael Mayer, who was taken down at the one. He then snuck in around the left side for six points. On the second, he took the ball in for a QB sneak. Before this game he had three career rushing touchdowns. After the second, he was at five. Then, Freeman elected to go for two, and the Irish turned to Buchner again as he tucked, this time to the right, and claimed the two extra points. 

Irish offense falls apart in the fourth. Marshall scores back to back touchdowns.

The momentum from Buchner’s second touchdown didn’t hold out. After pinning them at the six, the Irish defense couldn’t hold Marshall back from another touchdown. On their drive to answer, the Irish found themselves with a three-and-out. They didn’t get the chance to punt though. Instead, Steven Gilmore intercepted Buchner’s pass. Gilmore took it back for a 37-yard pick six. This would be the last time Marshall scored. They led the Irish 26-15. 

Drew Pyne enters, hurts and helps the already dire situation.

The drive after the pick six, Buchner brought the Irish to the Marshall 26 from their own 25, before going down with a shoulder injury. Junior Drew Pyne then took the field in his place, and after an incomplete attempt to sophomore wide receiver Jayden Thomas, his pass was intercepted by Owen Porter. Porter then went down at the Marshall 19. The defense shut Marshall down quickly, and graduate student linebacker Bo Bauer was able to get behind the line to block the punt, leaving Pyne and Co. 32 yards from the end zone. Over seven plays and 32 yards, Pyne ran for 13. Marshall committed a penalty and then Pyne found Mayer for a 5-yard touchdown. Still, it wasn’t enough, and after Pyne couldn’t convert on the two points, the Irish remained down 26-21. 

The Irish attempted an onside kick but it was recovered by Marshall who kneeled to end the game, the second Irish loss of the season, 26-21. 

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