The Irish closed out the 2022 home slate in solid fashion yesterday beating the Boston College Eagles handily 44-0. As the snow started to fall in South Bend, Notre Dame was out in front with a comfortable lead. The only question was if this was going to be a repeat of last week’s second-half performance against Navy. As we now know this did not end up being the case, the team to its credit answered the call. I am aware that Navy and BC are completely different animals regarding preparation, but I think one thing this team has done all year is it responds to criticism. This game is a great example, Notre Dame came out in the second half and continued the dominance that it had in the first. Something they did not do exactly a week earlier. Marcus said it after the game “they’re resilient, no matter the situation they will continue to battle and that’s why I love being the coach here, and it’s why I love these kids”.
The defense finally did exactly what I knew they have been capable of and pitched their first shutout of the season. Once again we saw why Benjamin Morrison is an absolute stud. I was giving Moorhead props for hitting Flowers deep with Morrison in coverage 2 drives after he picked him off the first time. Then he went for him again and in my head, I said “There’s no way”. Morrison then goes up and snags it which then of course simultaneously I stand up and lose my mind yelling “Don’t test him!”. He is a fun player to watch, and he just does not miss. Every play he can make he seems to make, and he’s only a true freshman. Now to speak on the opposite end of the spectrum. Isaiah Foskey breaking Justin Tuck’s career sack record on a senior day was the cherry on top of the day for this defense. While we have been rightly critical of him at times this year, now is a great time to recognize how truly talented of a player he is and the great career he has had as a Notre Dame athlete. To be even mentioned by Notre Dame fans with the likes of Justin Tuck is an achievement, let alone have numbers that exceed his. With the culture Marcus Freeman is trying to build, having coached someone like Foskey can help lay the groundwork for a defensive line culture that Notre Dame fans have wanted for a long time.
The way the offense performed had me feeling similarly to how I’ve felt about the defense following most of the games this season. They did exactly what they needed to do, there were a few flashes of intrigue but mostly it was what we thought it would be. That could be attributed to the snow as once we got rolling on the ground there was no need to stop. I like how they moved Pyne around, especially in the first half. It led to some throws that had me thinking he was Drew Dimes. And after a disappointing start, the wideouts continue to impress me with their advancement week to week. I also like them getting Styles out on some sweeps. I love him as a player and the drops the year have killed me as a fan of his. The backs continue to be a joy to watch, and yesterday all 3 had some great runs. Similarly to the defense, Michael Mayer breaking 2,000 career yds in front of a solid group of recruits was the cherry on top for the offense. Like Foske, Mayer will be remembered as an all-time great. While yes Freeman did not recruit him or coach him his whole time at ND, he is another player he can now point to as an example to recruits of what your goals are as a program. Not just for the team and a National Championship, but for you as an all-time college great.
The great thing about yesterday is that while the game itself lacked a lot of true excitement, everything around the game was almost perfect. It was Senior Day, the game turned into a whiteout, we blew them out (after PJ decided to open his mouth again), there were some great individual performances, and the rest of the Saturday slate exceeded expectations. So while it leaves a lot to be desired in the evaluation category, it did not lack in the entertainment realm. That makes me happy because this no doubt would’ve been a game we forgot about in two weeks. Even though we played well it would’ve been filed away as a good senior day performance against a bad BC team. But I genuinely had a great time watching this game. My wife was setting up Christmas decorations, the snow was coming down, and it was a great day to flip around and watch some great College Football games. It was also a great way to send off this senior class. To top everything off USC was able to beat UCLA late last night, setting up the first game at USC for Notre Dame with big-time implications for both teams in quite some time. I am so excited about Thanksgiving, and the weekend. Adding a prime-time top-25 ND vs USC game to close out the season is just a chef’s kiss.