Categories
Sports

Notre Dame vs. UNC: Irish return to the road

Crimson red to Irish green: Sot shines for Notre Dame

Irish keys to victory versus Notre Dame

Observer staff predicts Notre Dame-UNC

Coolican: Find joy in this season

Ranking Notre Dame’s remaining schedule

Categories
Sports

Observer Staff predicts Notre Dame-UNC

After picking up his first career win as head coach in Week 3, can Marcus Freeman make it two straight this weekend in North Carolina? The Observer staff is split on the pick.

Sports Editor Aidan Thomas

I’ve tossed and turned about this pick all week. Not literally, but I truly have no idea what to expect. To put it slightly dramatically, the very moveable object (UNC’s defense) meets a nearly non-startable force (Notre Dame’s offense) in this matchup.

Here’s what makes the difference for me. Going back to the opener, Notre Dame shut down a vaunted Ohio State attack. They’ve given up 21, 19 and 17 points in three weeks. More notably, nobody has really beaten the Irish through the air, which is where UNC wants to operate. Their ground game is efficient, but it’s not their bread and butter. The biggest thing for the Irish is containing Drake Maye, who is a solid dual-threat quarterback. Notre Dame linebacker must be better, but that unit is operating without senior linebacker J.D. Bertrand for the first half which makes this task even more difficult. I think Notre Dame trails at the half — again — but starts figuring out how to target the Tar Heels in the second half. They’ll pull off the mild upset over the Tar Heels. 

Notre Dame 31, North Carolina 27

Senior sports writer Nate Moller

The Irish defense will have to be on top of their game this weekend against a balanced UNC offense that has thrown for 930 yards through the air and 712 yards on the ground. The Tar Heels have plenty of options through the air, as they have six players with over 100 receiving yards this season. The Irish, by comparison, have just two players with over 100 receiving yards this season. The Irish have still yet to force a turnover this season, and winning that battle this weekend might be a key to victory. Despite UNC’s subpar defense, the Irish offense will have a difficult time keeping up with UNC quarterback Drake Maye’s offensive production. Unless junior quarterback Drew Pyne can up his level of play this weekend significantly, a loss to a highly productive UNC offense seems inevitable.

North Carolina 38, Notre Dame 27

Associate Sports Editor Liam Coolican

If there’s an opportunity for Pyne and the Notre Dame offense to get rolling, it’s this weekend in Chapel Hill. Only one power-five team (Colorado) ranks lower than UNC in terms of scoring defense. The Tar Heels are allowing opponents to score nearly 38 points per game. Conversely, they are 6th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging more than 51 points per game. It’s a testament to the strength of this offense that the Tar Heels are 3-0. The Irish will have to work hard to slow down Maye and his impressive cadre of receivers. 

A lot of this game will depend on the Notre Dame defense, because no matter how ineffective the UNC defense is, I am not willing (yet) to put my faith in Pyne in a shootout. One major concern is the inconsistency of Al Golden’s unit. They’ve played well this year, but have had stretches of poor play. In order to win this contest, they’ll have to be at their best for all four quarters, and that’s not something I’ve seen from them so far this year.

North Carolina 31, Notre Dame 28

Assistant Managing Editor Mannion McGinley

So Irish fans saw two almost takeaways this weekend against Cal. That was good. That was new this season. Did they end up counting? No, but we found other defensive success on both plays. Should that mean an interception or a strip is on the way? One would hope. Will I predict that the Irish get one this weekend? No. No, I will not. The last time I did that, the Irish lost (despite my predicting a 35-point win).

Do the Irish need to force a turnover to win this weekend? Yes, that much is clear. Pyne will be able to lead the offense just well enough to beat the UNC defense and keep pace with the UNC offense in terms of productive drives. Until he proves he can do more, he has proven that we can expect at least that much from him, and I believe in it.

It’s the defense that ends up controlling this game though. The defensive line especially needs to be able to get to Maye the way they’ve gotten to Plummer. I expect to see both Ademilola brothers bursting through that line, and I want to see the 2021 version of senior defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey right beside them. The new guys are still getting caught up, but even they are holding their own. The returners need to show them how it’s done to push Notre Dame over the top this weekend. There needs to be an even cleaner fourth-quarter stop in this game than the bouncing Hail Mary from the Cal game. Another tight one for sure.

Notre Dame 31, North Carolina 28

Associate Sports Editor Madeline Ladd

After a nail-biter of a win last week against Cal, the Irish need to capture a solid victory against the Tar Heels this weekend. Though they infamously struggle to run the ball, Notre Dame’s passing game was more accurate last week with Pyne. He grew more comfortable in the second half and has the ability to connect with receivers. There’s too much talent up front for the offense not to be better. Tyree and Estime will certainly be able to pound the awful UNC defense, as they are ranked 123rd in the nation.

Nevertheless, Tar Heel freshman quarterback Drake Maye has the potential to challenge the secondary and will most likely connect with returning wide out star Josh Downs. This will prove a fight, but finally the ND defense will get turnovers and hold off their opponent. Turnovers are the name of the game here, and if the Irish can do that they can continue their 10+ year win streak against the Tar Heels. I see it happening.

Notre Dame 37, North Carolina 28

Emily DeFazio, Associate Sports Editor

This is the make-or-break game for the 2022 Irish season. Notre Dame won the Cal game, but that does not mean it is smooth sailing the rest of the way. In the final five minutes, there were at least three instances where that game was nearly tied. And one of those moments came on the final play of the game. Pyne needs to have gotten his sea legs and move forward with a solid foundation and settle into his role as QB1. The Irish cannot afford turnovers and over-throwing receivers in Chapel Hill. The Irish defense will need to remain on-point this week to allow the offense some growing pains. But I expect a fourth-quarter solidifying of a narrow Irish win.

Notre Dame 31, North Carolina 27

Maggie Klaers | The Observer
Categories
Sports

Irish Insider: Cal 2022

Rep by rep: It’s Pyne Time

“Find the better way”: Captain Bo Bauer talks leadership, ownership ahead of Cal

Golden, Rees coordinate plan for major changes

The Observer predicts Cal vs. Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s keys to victory against Cal

Moller: Freeman Era teetering on the brink of disaster

Maggie Klaers/The Observer
Categories
Sports

The Observer predicts Cal vs. Notre Dame

Emily DeFazio, Associate Sports Editor

I am not sure where to begin in predicting Saturday’s outcome; I have few words left after having to eat so many of them last week. The Irish would have to win out in order for my 10-2 season prediction to be correct, and with USC and Clemson still left to take on, I have my doubts.

The offense was already struggling, and the loss of sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner is a tough pill to swallow. I have mixed feelings about junior quarterback Drew Pyne stepping in. It is certainly his time to shine, but he will have to do just that. Interceptions like Saturday cannot happen moving forward. However, this is an opportunity for Rees to structure a solid game plan that involves more than just the run game. Pyne has proven he can pass the ball well, and he should be allowed to do so.

I am counting on those sporadic moments of greatness he posted on the field last year to grow now that he is securely in the QB1 position. Utilize juniors Michael Mayer and Kevin Bauman for some tight end touchdowns Saturday. Should the offense rally under this new leadership, and the defensive line tighten up their play, I see the Irish coming away with their first win of the season. Albeit a close one.

ND 24, Cal 17

Nate Moller, Senior Sports Writer

Notre Dame Stadium is usually one of my favorite places in the world. But it was far from it last Saturday. The Irish looked truly awful throughout most of the game. With Freeman being 0-3 as a head coach, this game feels like a must-win. Without Buchner at quarterback, that will make getting a win much more difficult. Cal is by no means a strong power five team. But they have shown that they can close out games, which is something Notre Dame has yet to do. Running back Jaydn Ott has averaged an impressive 6.5 yards per carry this season. Stopping his production will be key for the Irish.

If the Irish are going to win this game, the offensive and defensive lines need to be much better than the mess that was Marshall. If Pyne doesn’t have time to pass and the run game can not be established, the Irish could be in trouble yet again. I think this is going to be a sloppy game. And while it may not be a good win, I do expect Notre Dame to find a way to get into the win column. A late Michael Mayer touchdown gives the Irish just enough offense to edge out the Golden Bears.

Notre Dame 14, Cal 13

Liam Coolican, Associate Sports Editor

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the Irish’s struggles, look no further. Not only did I predict the team would go 11-1 and make the CFP, I also wrote last week that “Notre Dame doesn’t lose trap games.” The good news is, my predictions, much like Notre Dame’s fortunes, can’t get much worse. Drew Pyne clearly wasn’t ready to come into the game last week, but he showed flashes of brilliance last year and I believe he can be a solid, if not spectacular, quarterback at this level. However, the Irish do have to adjust their offense substantially to play to Pyne’s strengths rather than Buchner’s in just a week’s time.

It might be another slow start for the Irish as the offense takes time to get used to Pyne under center. But the defense will keep them in the game against a lackluster Cal offense. Notre Dame should be more fired up and better prepared than they were a week ago. Pyne will get rolling in the second half, and the defense will come up with a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter. It may take a late score, but the Irish will pull this one out.

Notre Dame 24, Cal 17

Mannion McGinley, Assistant Managing Editor

The Irish have started the season 0-2 for the first time since 2011. Seeing as that’s as many losses as I predicted on the season as a whole, the Irish are not where I expected them to be. Losing Buchner on top of that was just salt in the wound. There’s potential in the change up though, especially this week. Cal may be 2-0, but the Irish need the win and this is the space to get it. Plummer is a quarterback the Irish D-line knows, and knows well. They need to get to him just as they did when he played for Purdue.

In terms of Irish offense, it’s not perfect. But Pyne’s structure may be the answer to ending the passing touchdown drought. Both UC Davis and UNLV were able to score through the air on Cal. This should mean the Irish can as well. The defense gets the takeaway they’ve been striving for. And while it’ll be tight, some of the pieces finally come together. At the risk of losing any credibility, Irish win. 

Notre Dame 21, Cal 17

Madeline Ladd, Associate Sports Editor

To be honest, I’m not sure what to say here after the devastation last week. Coupled with the loss of Buchner, there are a lot of question marks going into this weekend. However, though Notre Dame is down, they are not out. They will certainly be coming into the weekend hungry, and the changes made on offense may prove to be beneficial.

But Cal’s defense is no joke. The Notre Dame offense, now led by Pyne, will need to get it together in order to come out with the victory. I predict that Pyne will be efficient and throw for two TD’s. I see junior running back Chris Tyree with more action on the ground as well. The defensive line will control the weaker Cal offensive line, not fading in the second half as they have in the previous two games. This is a game well within the Irish’s wheelhouse and I think they can pull off the win. But it certainly won’t be pretty.

Notre Dame 17, Cal 13

Aidan Thomas, Sports Editor

Gross. I predicted Notre Dame to go 10-2 this season, which, I guess, is technically still in play. However when you lose a game that I personally ranked seventh-hardest on the schedule and start 0-2, that 10-2 dream is on very thin ice — but still alive.

The Irish currently have no semblance of an offense. They’ve scored just 31 points, blowing a bevy of opportunities over the first couple of weeks. Untimely penalties, missed open deep shots, interceptions and no running game have thwarted the Irish offense at nearly every turn. Now they turn to longtime backup Pyne to make things right.

He must do so against a Cal defense that is stiff against the pass but has experienced struggles against the run. The lead back for each Cal opponents this year averages 7.1 yards per carry. The Irish need to assert themselves in the trenches and dominate a below-average Cal offense. Notre Dame must win ugly this year. Hopefully, that trend starts on Saturday.

Notre Dame 24 Cal 13

Categories
Sports

Irish Insider: Marshall 2022

‘Dominate every day’: Irish defense looks to build on Week 1 effort

Former walk-on Matt Salerno primed for bigger role in Irish offense

McGinley: This weekend, the Irish define themselves

The Observer grades each position, picks players that need to improve

Notre Dame keys to victory vs. Marshall

Notre Dame staff picks

Maggie Klaers | The Observer
Categories
Sports

The Observer predicts Notre Dame-Marshall

The home opener has arrived. The Irish take on Marshall in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday and The Observer’s football beat has locked in their predictions.

Aidan Thomas – Sports Editor

The defense was even better than I expected in the opener, but the offense experienced some hiccups. Some were foreseen, like the Irish struggling to run the ball without Jarrett Patterson and minimal availability from Logan Diggs. Others, like the rest of the offensive line struggling, and the Irish only completing ten passes, were less foreseen. 

Marshall has a defensive line and pass rush that could give the Irish a better test than many expect. The Thundering Herd are a tricky opponent, and flashbacks of Toledo last season make me second-guess picking a total blowout in Freeman’s head coaching debut at Notre Dame stadium. Talent wins out, however, and the Irish pull away in the second half. 

Notre Dame 34, Marshall 6 

Mannion McGinley – Assistant Managing Editor

Regardless of the final score last weekend, the Irish looked good. The defense looked incredible, the line didn’t pick up a lot of stats but repeatedly forced C.J. Stroud to prove how good he is. On offense, the Irish didn’t excel in everything. There wasn’t any sort of explosion on the field, nor did the Irish take any real long-shot opportunities, either because they were shut down or they chose not to.

That being said, this is the weekend to push that envelope, test the waters and see what Buchner can really do. Might be a rocky first quarter and we’ve been burned before playing to the level of our opponent but under Freeman the Irish play at their top at any given moment. There’s at least one interception, and Buchner sends a long ball for a touchdown time and again. The defense still shines, and the offense joins the ranks — electing to be aggressive. 

Notre Dame 45, Marshall 10

Nate Moller – Sports Writer

This game feels similar to last year’s season opener against Toledo where the Irish needed to score a last-minute touchdown to secure a victory. Coming off of a huge game against Ohio State, Marshall could definitely catch the Irish sleeping in their home opener just like Toledo did. The Thundering Herd are no slouch either, and they are coming off of a dominating 55-3 win last week, although it was against FCS opponent Norfolk State. The Thundering Herd are led by quarterback Henry Colombi, who played seven games for Texas Tech last season. On the ground, the Thundering Herd have Ethan Payne and Khalan Laborn, who each rushed for over 100 yards last week.

The Irish defense was much better than expected against a potent Ohio State offense, and they should be ready to match up against a much less talented Marshall team. I expect the Irish defensive line to get plenty of pressure on Marshall quarterback Henry Colombi throughout the game and force some turnovers as well. On the offensive side of the ball, Tommy Rees should be more comfortable letting Tyler Buchner air the ball out behind the home crowd. Towards the second half, the Irish will figure out their running game and have a couple of big rushes from Chris Tyree as well. I expect the Thundering Herd to hang around for a bit, but the Irish pull away at the end.

Notre Dame 41, Marshall 17

Emily DeFazio – Associate Sports Editor

Ohio State exposed where the Irish need to fine-tune things ahead of their home opener against Marshall. The team we saw in the first half at OSU is the team that needs to show up in South Bend Saturday afternoon. Despite the loss, the game in Columbus confirmed one thing for me–there is significant talent on this Irish team. They just need to figure out how best to use it.

Marshall’s defense is their strongest suit, while Notre Dame’s offense is their weakest as of now. With a shaky offensive strategy and the mental challenges that come with a loss under their belt, the Irish could be in a position like they were last year against Toledo where an expected win turned into a bit of a nail-biter. On the flip side, Notre Dame’s will seems stronger than last season, and they can use the setback as motivation, not as a source of discouragement. If Buchner is allowed to throw the ball and the offense can get their rhythm back, I expect a solid win for the Irish.

Notre Dame 35, Marshall 10

Liam Coolican – Associate Sports Editor

This game worries me more than I care to admit. It has all the makings of a trap game, as Notre Dame spent all summer preparing for Ohio State, and they now have to bounce back physically and emotionally and prepare for another contest right away. It isn’t just the timing of the game that concerns me, however; Marshall is a very good Group of Five opponent, and one that Irish fans would do well not to overlook. 

That being said, *knocks on wood*, Notre Dame doesn’t lose trap games; they haven’t lost to an unranked opponent since the disastrous 2016 season. Marshall will keep the game close for a half, but Notre Dame’s superior talent level and home-field advantage will help them pull away by the fourth quarter. 

Notre Dame 31, Marshall 7

Madeline Ladd – Associate Sports Editor

This weekend is predicted to be somewhat of a cakewalk for the Irish, and there are lots the team can take advantage of as they take on the Thundering Herd at home. With star running back Rasheen Ali out for Marshall, one of the few potential threats for the Irish is no longer in question. The Irish have lots of room to show what they can do, as well as work on improving against a low-risk team. The loss against Ohio State pointed to some glaring shortcomings, especially in terms of the offensive line. The Irish certainly cannot get sleepy despite the lack of threat, as this is the perfect weekend to regroup and refine. I think Notre Dame will undoubtedly claim the victory this weekend, but not with Marshall sneaking one in for good measure. 

Notre Dame 35, Marshall 7

Categories
Sports

Belles volleyball win three of four on opening weekend

The Saint Mary’s volleyball squad got their season off to a hot start this past weekend, winning three of their four contests. The Belles gained a lot of experience in close matches, battling three opponents to five sets, and winning another in four sets. Ultimately, Saint Mary’s split a pair of five-setters on Friday, beating Bluffton and falling to Capital. On Saturday, the Belles toppled Waynesburg in four sets and Defiance in five. 

Starting off their 2022 campaign against Bluffton, Saint Mary’s showed strong resolve in garnering their first victory of the season. They dropped the first two sets, 26-28 and 21-25. In a gritty and lengthy battle, however, the Belles worked their way back. They claimed the third set 25-20, and needed an extra point to seal the fourth set at 26-24. Then, in the match finale, Saint Mary’s eked out the clinching set victory, toppling Bluffton 15-12. 

However, in the second game of the day, Saint Mary’s fell victim to a similar comeback. Against Capital, the Belles got off to the hot start, winning 26-24 and 25-23. However, Capital rallied in dominant fashion. They took set 3, 25-14, and the fourth by a 25-17 margin. That led to a winners-take-all fifth set, and the Belles couldn’t find their mojo. They lost 15-10 in the decisive set. 

On day two, there would be no splits for the Belles. Saint Mary’s won six of their nine sets on the day, winning both matches. Facing Waynesburg, the Belles split the first two sets. But after a close first half of the match, Saint Mary’s pulled away, winning the last two sets by eight and nine point margins to claim a stress-free victory. In the weekend finale, Saint Mary’s delivered yet another comeback victory, dispatching of Defiance in five sets. 

Now, battle-tested after a tough but largely successful weekend, Saint Mary’s returns home for a big-time clash against Trine. Although the game won’t count in the conference standings, the clash represents a big measuring stick moment for the Belles. Trine claimed the fourth and final spot in the conference tournament last season, so they provide a good comparison for what it’ll take to vault the Belles into postseason contention. They will compete in their season opener, playing at the Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Categories
Sports

Notre Dame vs. Ohio State: the 2022 season begins

‘Keep making it go up and up’: Freeman, Irish confident as massive underdogs

Chris Tyree ready to step into bigger role for Irish

Notre Dame’s keys to victory against Ohio State

The Observer predicts Notre Dame-Ohio State

Irish secondary prepares for prolific Buckeye offense

Categories
Sports

The Observer predicts Notre Dame-Ohio State

Notre Dame faces off against Ohio State in a massive season-opening top-five clash. The Observer Football Beat gives their predictions.

Aidan Thomas – Sports Editor

I don’t believe this game is hopeless. Notre Dame has the pieces to make Ohio State stumble in this opening clash. A lot of things have to go right for this to become a victory. Namely, the Irish have to limit Ohio State’s top options and make them beat them elsewhere.

A successful day likely ends in Notre Dame allowing less than 30 points. They can accomplish that by generating a terrific pass rush, led by All-American senior defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey. To match those 30 points, the Irish offense needs to attack Ohio State’s weak point. At least by preseason analysis, that seems to be their linebackers. To do this, Notre Dame needs sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner to be every bit the dual threat he is, and they need junior tight end Michael Mayer to perform at an elite level.

If all these things go right for Notre Dame, a victory is possible. But it is a lot to ask to go right in the first game of the season. Especially with a first-time head coach and first-time starting quarterback playing in one of the country’s most daunting environments. The Irish will beat the spread, but not the Buckeyes.

Ohio State 30, Notre Dame 24

Nate Moller – Senior Sportswriter

I have had this matchup circled on my calendar for years, and now that it’s finally here, I am a bit nervous. It’s a lot to ask out of a first year head coach and a new starting quarterback in Buchner to get a win under the lights in Columbus. Despite all the question marks surrounding Buchner and the wide receiving corps, I expect the Irish to move the ball and find the endzone a few times in this one.

The Irish offensive line should be much improved, which should greatly benefit Buchner’s ability to air the ball out and stretch plays out on the ground. My biggest concern, though, is the Irish secondary and the damage that C.J. Stroud and company can do through the air at any given point in the game. The Irish are only as good as their worst cornerback on the field, and the Buckeyes are going to be able to exploit that weakness multiple times Saturday night.

The Irish will be within striking distance through most of the game, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba will catch a couple of long touchdowns to give the Buckeyes a convincing week one victory.

Ohio State 41, Notre Dame 31

Madeline Ladd – Associate Sports Editor

Notre Dame is getting no respect from the Vegas oddsmakers as a 17.5 underdog. Ohio State features two Heisman Candidates with C.J. Stroud at quarterback and TreVeyon Henderson at running back. They also reload last year’s No. 1 scoring offense with one of the best wide receivers in the country in Smith-Njigba.

However, Notre Dame has strength in its defensive line with preseason All-American Foskey and a much-improved linebacking squad. The key for the ND defense will be stopping the Ohio State run and pressuring Stroud into making mistakes. The defense appears up to the challenge, however, the offense is the real question. 

Can Buchner play at an elite level with minimal experience in the spotlight? We know Buchner is a threat in the run game. But does he have the pocket presence to be able to execute key passes? The receiving core lacks depth with the season-ending injury to graduate student Avery Davis. But plenty of talent still remains. The X-factor is Mayer, an All-American tight end. If he performs at that level, we could see some great things in the passing game.

The Notre Dame offense must control the clock and keep the ball out of Stroud’s hands by running the ball effectively. If they can do this, they can keep it close in the fourth quarter. But, there’s no denying that a new coaching staff, new QB, new kicker, and new punter playing in a hostile environment like The Horseshoe makes this a difficult task for the Irish. Nevertheless, if they can follow the above keys to the game, they just may be able to pull an upset no one saw coming. Just ask Oregon last year.

Ohio State 31, Notre Dame 27

Liam Coolican – Associate Sports Editor

It’s extremely rare for a team to have three legitimate Heisman contenders, but that’s what Notre Dame will have to deal with against Ohio State’s offense Saturday night. Stroud, Henderson and Smith-Njigba all have a legitimate case to be considered as the best player in the country at their respective positions.

The Irish defense figures to be among the best in football this year, but I fear they can only hope to limit the damage against the Buckeyes. If they focus on stopping the pass, Henderson could rush for 150 yards. If they key in on the run, Smith-Njigba could have a repeat of his stellar Rose Bowl performance.

Ohio State’s defense is porous, so Notre Dame shouldn’t have trouble putting points on the board. But in what will likely devolve into a shoot-out, I have to take the experienced Buckeyes offense over a quarterback who has never started a collegiate game.

Ohio State 48, Notre Dame 35

Emily DeFazio – Associate Sports Editor

This long-awaited game is a very tricky case of balancing hope with reality. Do I hope Notre Dame will pull an opening upset to their 2022 season? Yes. In reality, is that very likely to happen? Not if the 17.5-point spread has any credence.

The fact of the matter is, the Irish are going up against a powerhouse that boasts a well-oiled offense and multiple Heisman candidates. Not to mention they are doing so with a first-time starting quarterback and head coach at the helm.

This uncertainty is not to diminish what Notre Dame brings to the table. Despite any criticism, the Irish have several talented members of their squad, most notably potential first-round NFL draft picks Mayer and Foskey, that can be instrumental in the turnout of the game. But seeing as Buchner — who was unable to play in the Blue and Gold game due to injury — is just stepping into the QB1 position after having just lost a prime receiver in Davis, no matter how well Mayer performs, this game will be shaped by Foskey and the defense. 

The key will be making it a pain for the Buckeyes to travel down the field, offsetting any shakiness on the Irish side of the ball. In doing so, those big plays by Mayer and the offense will be worth much more in closing the gap. But all of these pieces will have to work in tandem. If Notre Dame gains momentum on both sides of the ball at almost the same time, I can see them giving the Buckeyes more of a run for their money than they bargained for; maybe not enough to win the day, but enough to make themselves a worthy opponent.

Ohio State 31, Notre Dame 24

Mannion McGinley – Assistant Managing Editor

The take a month ago — the take that persists today — was that there’s no way the Irish can come anywhere close to the Buckeyes. Ohio State’s offensive trio would just be too much for the Irish secondary, and the Irish offense wouldn’t be able to keep up. 

At this point, I think a 17.5 spread way underestimates the Irish. The sheer number of names that saw productive work in camp, the trust Freeman has in Buchner and the monster of a defensive line all add up, in my opinion, to a team that can contend with Ohio State, no questions asked. That being said, contend does not mean win, and the difference maker there will still be the Irish secondary.

The defensive line led by Foskey and graduate student Jayson Ademilola will have, without a doubt, a positive influence on this game, as will the linebacker squad. The safeties are shoring up and Cam Hart and Clarence Lewis lead a cornerback room that felt a little thin eight months ago, but with Jaden Mickey in the mix and time to strengthen as a unit, there’s no question they’re better and stronger than they were in Arizona, it just won’t be enough.

That being said, the upset is still a lot to ask of the Irish in this game. I won’t say it’s out of reach because I do not believe it is but I don’t know that the Irish offense, especially with Davis’s late injury and the somewhat brand new starting squad, I don’t know that they’ll be able to do anything more than keeping up. The defense keeps it tight but the Irish fall just short. 

Ohio State 28, Notre Dame 24

Categories
Sports

Saints soccer teams seek to gain momentum

With both squads’ seasons in full swing, the Holy Cross College men’s and women’s soccer programs seek to use recent success to gain momentum against upcoming road opponents.

Holy Cross Women’s Soccer 

After three games this season, the Holy Cross College women’s soccer team is still searching for their first victory. The Saints, now 0-0-3, drew Bethel University 3-3 and IU Kokomo 2-2 earlier in the season before playing the Indiana University East Red Wolves on Saturday. 

The Red Wolves contest ended in a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes, despite the best efforts of the Saints’ offense, who were able to outshoot the Red Wolves 16-8. The Red Wolves, however, were able to put more shots on goal, leading the Saints 7-6. Saints freshman goalkeeper Taylor Primack got the start and saved all seven shots on goal to keep the score level.

The Saints will continue to look for the team’s first win when they face the Goshen College Maple Leafs at home on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leafs currently are 1-1, boasting a 4-1 win against Brescia University. The two squads have played six times, with the Saints losing all six. The two teams last played in 2018 when Goshen got the home victory, 2-0.

After playing Goshen, the Saints will hit the road, heading to Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio before beginning conference play.

Holy Cross Men’s Soccer

After falling 1-6 to Bethel University (No. 21 in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Top 25) the Holy Cross men’s soccer team picked up its first win against the IU East Red Wolves. The Saints scored early, with junior Gabe Nyenka scoring at the 10-minute mark, assisted by junior Victor Sellu.

Around the 30 minute mark, Dailen Troutman of IU East earned a yellow card, setting up a Saints free kick. The kick allowed sophomore Martin von Thun to convert a header, which was assisted by sophomore Isaac Filippo, putting the Saints up by two. 

After the half-time break, the Saints picked up where they left off, adding to their lead in minute 60 with a goal by senior Axel Valenzuela, with an assist from sophomore Juan Perez. 

The Saints outshot the Red Wolves 12-8, with the Saints putting nine shots on target to the Wolves’ two. Sophomore goalie Claudio Fuentealba saved both Red Wolves’ attempts. 

With their first win of the season secured, the men’s team looks to continue their winning streak against Goshen College at home this Wednesday at 3 p.m. In the series history, the Saints are 2-1-1. The last time the two teams faced off was in 2021, when the Saints won the neutral site match 4-0.  The Goshen Maple Leaves are currently 0-1-1.

Once the Saints play Goshen, they will travel to Sylvania, Ohio, where they will play the Gray Wolves of Lourdes University on September 7 at 4 p.m.

Observer Sports Staff


Contact sports@ndsmcobserver.com.