It was an extremely disappointing day for Notre Dame on many different levels as the Irish lose its home opener to the Marshall Thundering Herd, 26-21.
THE OLD ADAGE
One of the oldest sayings in football is one of the oldest because it’s so true in almost every game. The game is won and lost in the trenches. In a game like this, it almost goes completely unquestioned about which program has the better offensive and defensive lines — and yet we just saw what we just saw.
Marshall ran for over 200 yards on the day with 163 of those yards coming from Khalan Laborn. Conversely, the Irish ran for just 130 yards with quarterback Tyler Buchner the team’s leading rusher with 44 yards.
But it goes beyond those simple rushing stats. Notre Dame sacked Marshall three times and put together 8 TFL’s compared to 2 sacks and 3 TFL’s for the Herd — the Irish struggled offensivelky for the second week in a row because the line didn’t give Tyler Buchner a cleaner pocket, and they didn’t create any type of holes in the running game.
Meanwhile, the Herd offensive line continually made holes and continually got production on the ground in pressure situations. This was the entire essence of the game.
One of Notre Dame’s biggest playmaking threats going into the season was supposed to be Chris Tyree. In the first two games of the season, Tommy Rees and the Irish have shown an incredible lack of interest in putting the ball in Tyree’s hands. Against Marshall, Tyree accounted for just five touches offensively (3 carries for 17 yards and 2 receptions for 14 yards). Marcus Freeman was asked about this after the game, and all he really said is that they have to find more ways to get him involved.
As any wife or girlfriend will tell you... if you want to be involved — THEN GET INVOLVED.
QUIET BIG GAME
Michael Mayer had a big day catching the ball with 8 receptions for 103 yards and a TD. It’s a shame that Buchner couldn’t connect with Mayer just a few more times on third down as ND went 4-13 on the money down.
Defensive lineman Howard Cross had 11 tackles on the day which feels like way more than what we saw — but he clearly had the best day of all the defensive linemen.
We already mentioned Notre Dame’s poor showing on 3rd down (4-13) but they also went for it on 4th down four times — but only converted twice.