With powerful November winds swirling all around, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish met the #4 Clemson Tigers on the field for a football game that would be rooted in nostalgia because of the weather conditions.
This HAD to be a physical game, and Notre Dame was absolutely up for a war and Clemson was not.
The Irish didn’t get much going on its first drive and was forced to punt after gaining 19 yards on 5 plays. Clemson shot themselves in the foot several times with penalties, and went back 4 yards in 4 plays.
That’s when Brian Mason’s boys did their thing. Jordan Botelho blocked the Clemson punt, and linebacker Prince Kollie caught it in the air on the 17 yard line. The sophomore from Tennessee quickly bolted toward the endzone to put the Irish on the board first.
The Irish went on to begin to really control the game physically. The offense wasn’t moving far, but they did enough damage on the ground with Logan Diggs and Audric Estime, that they were able to control the clock, the tone, the tempo, and the field position. Notre Dame’s defense took notice and complimented the style as well as possible.
Led by J.D. Bertrand, the Irish defense was relentless in pursuit and tackle, and absolutely dominated Clemson. While the Tigers couldn’t do ANYTHING to move the ball with punt after punt, the Irish put together an 11 play 78 yard drive near the end of the second half that saw Drew Pyne score on a 5 yard rush.
Coming out of halftime with a 14-0 lead, Notre Dame turned up the physicality and strong defensive play — but mostly Benjamin Morrison decided to take the game over. Morrison picked off DJU with Clemson pinned back deep into Irish territory. Notre Dame took 3 plays to go 14 yards for a short touchdown run by Audric Estime to put them up 21-0 and in complete control.
On Clemson’s next drive, the Tigers got some things going... but it was mostly because of 3 defensive pass interference calls. Benjamin Morrison flipped the switch again and got another interception against DJ Uiagalelei, and took it 96 yards to the house to put the Irish up 28-0 with 12:58 left in the game.
Clemson snatched away a shutout from the Irish with an 11 play 75 yard drive that ended with a short Will Shipley touchdown run.
Notre Dame and Clemson would trade meaningless touchdowns on the field — but Michael Mayer’s was
It was a brutal day for football, but the night was beautiful.
More to come on OFD.