Observer sports staff predicts Notre Dame vs. Tennessee State
Joche Sanchez Cordova, Assistant Managing Editor
This game will be more interesting in the buildup and aftermath than it will be on the field. It’s a historic matchup and I’m glad Notre Dame are using their influence and the brand to give a big stage to a great HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Tennessee State. But in sports terms, this won’t be close. Notre Dame will continue their stellar form from Dublin and take control early and keep TSU off the board all game. This will be a comfortable win for Notre Dame who will banish the ghosts of Marshall from the home opener a year ago. Notre Dame 52, Tennessee State 0.
J.J. Post, Associate Sports Editor
Notre Dame couldn’t have offered much of a better debut last week against Navy. The offense was clinically efficient. The defense didn’t waver against the triple option. Notre Dame had the game well in hand by halftime and still kept pushing in the second half.
They’ll get a chance for an even better encore against an outmatched Tennessee State squad this Saturday. The atmosphere for the 2023 home opener at Notre Dame Stadium after last week’s hope-inspiring performance should be buzzing. All the ingredients are there for the Irish to continue their smooth sailing, which is exactly what I expect they’ll do. Graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman gets in rhythm early, tossing a couple of early scores, including at least one deep shot to sophomore wide receiver Tobias Merriweather.
The Irish rushing attack stays in committee form and continues to thrive, with all five scholarship backs notching carries. Multiple will exceed 100 yards. Sophomore quarterback Steve Angeli and the second unit enters the game late in the third quarter and mops up a comfortable win. At some point during the day’s festivities, Tennessee State’s Grammy-winning band steals the show, at least for a few minutes. Notre Dame 48, Tennessee State 6.
Madeline Ladd, Associate Sports Editor
Notre Dame’s dominant win over Navy last weekend demonstrated their offensive strength as well as a strong defensive effort and team chemistry. Hartman lived up to expectations as his veteran experience and game intelligence shined on the field, going 19-23 for 251 yards and four touchdowns, tying a Notre Dame record for touchdowns by a debuting quarterback. This week, the Irish take on the Tennessee State Tigers for the home opener. It will be a historic matchup, as Notre Dame will face an FCS opponent, as well as an HBCU, for the first time ever.
In terms of the game, I predict this will be an easy win for the Irish. Though Tennessee State is likely to be better than their previous season’s 4-7 record, the Tigers still will not hold their own against the Notre Dame squad. I think Hartman will continue to demonstrate his prowess in his pocket, leading the offense and a budding wide receiver room to make some impressive plays.
The defense will have a chance to show off and completely shut down the Tiger offense and even score a touchdown of their own. Head coach Marcus Freeman’s crew will control the Tigers throughout the entire game to bring the score. Bring on the touchdown push-ups and more time for the backups. Notre Dame 59, Tennessee State, 3.
Matthew Crow, Associate Sports Editor
Notre Dame’s performance last weekend was about as good as you could ask for, and I don’t expect much to change. After Hartman’s strong Irish debut, offensive coordinator Gerad Parker may dial up a few more deep shots and give him the chance to pick apart the Tigers’ secondary. Like Navy, Tennessee State leans heavily on its rushing attack, though Notre Dame should hold the Tigers under 200 total yards. In their home opener, the Irish will break 60 points for the first time since 2019 and will shut an opponent out for the fifth straight season. Notre Dame 63, Tennessee State 0.
Tom Zwiller, Senior Sports Writer
Notre Dame was humming last weekend against Navy, and I expect that trend to continue this week. I also think it is entirely within Notre Dame’s ability to pitch a shutout or at least keep a clean sheet for most of the game, much like they did against Navy. In other words, don’t expect a repeat of Marshall. Freeman should win his second home opener comfortably.
And as this game should be a blowout, I will be curious to see when Freeman puts in Angeli into the game. He got little action against Navy, so it will be nice to see what Notre Dame really has in its backup quarterback. Notre Dame 56, Tennessee State 0