The bow has officially been tied on Notre Dame football’s 2023 campaign and the team finished off on a pretty high note. The Irish closed things out by beating the Oregon State Beavers 40-8 in the Sun Bowl. Both teams were missing key components of their teams, particularly on the offensive side of things but the game turned out to be pretty watchable regardless. Notre Dame fans, regardless of their position on the anxiety perspective, should all feel alright about the team’s season closing performance as well as what we can expect come next season.
So let’s dig through some of the data.
Key Offensive Players by Regular Season Experience
QB - Steve Angeli made hist first Notre Dame start, after having logged snaps in six regular season games.
RB – Although regular season star Audric Estime didn’t play, the Irish running backs came into the Sun Bowl with a decent amount of experience. Jeremiyah Love, Gi’Bran Payne and Jadarian Price logged carries in just about every regular season game.
WR – The “J” trilogy at wide receiver came in with 6-7 games of regular season experience. The big outlier was Matt Salerno who returned to play after being sidelined by injury in the Tennessee State game.
TE – The tight end position was the most depleted going in the matchup, with Eli Raridon only having seen the field in one regular season game.
From a scoring perspective, the Beavers were never really in the game. They racked up a touchdown and 2-point conversion late in the fourth quarter but that was it. Notre Dame was able to consistently put up points throughout the game. Things got started with an Angeli-Thomas passing touchdown in the first quarter and ended with a rushing touchdown by Chase Ketterer to close the game out. In total, ND had 3 touchdowns through the air, two on the ground and a Spencer Shrader field goal in the 3rd quarter.
It was about as balanced of a scoring outing that we could’ve expected and particularly reassuring to see that Angeli and the receiver corps had good chemistry.
Team Stats – Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s offense improved in a lot of the areas that plagued the unit through the second half of the season. They had struggled with converting on third downs but walked away from the Sun Bowl with a 64% conversion rate on 14 attempts. Not perfect but definitely better than some of the regular season’s sub 50% outings. They tallied up a total of 476 yards which were almost evenly split between passing and rushing (rushing has the slight edge).
Steve Angeli finished up with a 79% pass completion rate on 19 attempts. The rushing united tallied up 48 attempts and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
Team Stats – Oregon State
It wasn’t a great offensive day for Oregon State. Between the losses of almost all their key starters and Notre Dame’s defense showing up still in good form, success was never really in the cards for the Beavers.
They were successful in one of their nine 3rd down conversion attempts. The team’s offense tallied up only 197 yards and the ground game only contributed 2 yards. Their fresh quarterback had a 61% completion rate and the rushing group only had 16 total attempts.
Notre Dame Player Details
QB – Steve Angeli
Jeremiyah Love and Jadarian Price led the rushing group in carries. In terms of yards though, it was Price’s day. He accounted for 44% of the team’s total yards on the ground and the Irish’s 2nd quarter rushing touchdown.
Jayden Thomas led the team in receptions while Jordan Faison was the standout in terms of yardage. Faison accounted for around 49% of the team’s collective yards through the air and one of the three touchdowns. Jeremiyah Love and Jayden Thomas also tallied up receiving touchdowns in the game.
All in all, I’d say we should be heading into the offseason with heads held high. One of the big asterisks surrounding this Sun Bowl performance is the strength of Oregon State. And while that undoubtedly impacts the lens through which we can really analyze the data or project out into 2024, you can’t ignore that Notre Dame performed well with an almost evenly depleted offensive roster.
That a receiver corps that struggled a lot during the offseason could come out and do so well, especially given an unfamiliar quarterback under center, signals good things to come. Couple that with a running back committee that remains largely intact/productive, and you’ve got to be strong in the forces of pessimism to not feel excited.
So here’s to another football season in the books and best wishes until we can connect again over some in-season play.
Cheers and Go Irish!!