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CFB Data Review: Notre Dame 45 — NC State 24

The data story coming out of Notre Dame’s Week 3, 45 - 24 win against NC State.

Notre Dame v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The 2023 Notre Dame-NC State football game definitely lived up to the chaos that’s become synonymous with the series. Going into the matchup, there was the haunting feeling of repeated weather shenanigans from the 2016 matchup as well as the whole Hartman-Wolfpack defense narrative. Both of those thing played reared their heads in the game along with some very sketchy officiating to make for a whirlwind of a watch.

Even with all of this at play, though, through the stretch the Irish offense found its way (although the offensive line still leaves a lot to be desired) and the linebackers and secondary showed up to help the team pull out another big victory.

So let’s dig into the data.

Schedule Overview

Coming out of Week 3, Notre Dame is 3-0. With the 45-24 victory over the ACC’s NC State, the team has proven that it’s more than capable of beating more formidable opponents through the stretch. Up to this point, ND has scored 143 total points, compared with 30 points from opponents. A cumulative +113 point difference isn’t something that I excepted coming into the 2023 campaign, or even from the NC State game after the first quarter but I’m ecstatic about it.

Mission Accomplished: Bringing the Series to Even

Notre Dame tallied up its first victory over NC State in Raleigh (despite another torrential downpour) and brought the series even to 2-2. Probably one of the best stats from this view is the +21 point difference that the Irish have beaten the Wolfpack by in its two wins.

It says a lot about Notre Dame’s continued dominance of ACC opponents, and I imagine means a lot for Sam Hartman given his history facing off against NC State.

Slow Start but Strong Finish

1st Quarter: The Irish offense struggled early on, only managing to put up three points in the first quarter. Fortunately, the Wolfpack’s offense couldn’t get anything going either and ND went into the weather delay up 3-0.

2nd Quarter: Notre Dame game out of the delay with a lot of energy and Audric Estime kicked off the action with an 80-yard TD run. During the 2nd, freshman receiver Greathouse also tallied up a 13-yard passing touchdown. And on the defensive side of the ball, Ben Morrison got his first interception of the 2023 season. We went into a shortened halftime with ND up 14-7.

3rd Quarter: The 3rd quarter was a little anxiety inducing for Irish fans. NC State outscore Notre Dame 10-7 but we saw the continued reemergence of ND’s tight end group with a 40-yard TD pass to Holden Staes.

4th Quarter: If the 3rd quarter required some blood pressure checks, the 4th quarter probably brought on some reckless drinking and several other actions done with good intentions but that we perhaps wish we could take back. Of Brennan Armstrong’s 3 total interceptions, two came in the 4th quarter. He kicked it off with an INT to senior safety Xavier Watts and then followed it up on the Wolfpack’s next drive with an INT to senior safety DJ Brown. Amidst NC State’s offensive unravelling, Notre Dame put up three touchdowns (two passing, 1 rushing) to outscore the Wolfpack 21-7.

Key Team Comparisons

Ball Control: NC State beat out Notre Dame in terms of first downs and 3rd down conversion rate, but the Irish won the time of possession matchup.

Offense: The Irish beat out the Wolfpack int terms of total yards (456-344) and won out in the passing (286-260) as well as rushing (170-84) categories. In terms of passing completion %, ND came out on top (62.5% to 45.8%). In terms of rushing efficiency, the Irish averaged around 5 yards per carry compared with around 3 yards per carry for the Wolfpack.

Turnovers and Penalties: Notre Dame had one lost fumble by Sam Hartman late in the troubled 3rd quarter, but NC State definitely lost the turnover battle with Armstrong’s three thrown interceptions. I’m still throwing furniture in my head over the officiating, so I’ll just leave it to the numbers. Notre Dame had 10 penalties for 82 yards while NC State walked away with eight penalties for 54 yards.

QB Comparisons

It wasn’t the best overall outing for Sam Hartman but he showed up when the team and fans needed him. Given the depth of talent the Irish have this season, we got a chance to see the amazing benefit of having a veteran quarterback who can ride the waves and keep the team in it until the final whistle. I’ll take that over a pristine stat deck any day and that’s what we got from Hartman this weekend.

In terms of total yards, Hartman out passed Armstrong 286 to 260. He also won the completion rate matchup (63% - 47%) on 24 attempts. Two standout states were the average of 12 yards per completion, compared with six for Armstrong, and Hartman’s total of four passing touchdowns.

A Continued Diverse Receiving Corps

If there’s one thing that we can say about Notre Dame’s 2023 receiving corps is that it has an abundance of weapons. Tight end Holden Staes had a standout game with 115 total yards, four receptions, and two touchdowns. He was primarily aided by Chris Tyree with 68 yards (longest = 65 yards) and Tobias Merriweather who tallied up 45 yards (longest = 45 yards).

Audric Estime Continues to Show Out

Audric Estime continues to lead the Irish’s multi-pronged ground attack. Against NC State, he tallied up a total of 134 yards and averaged 10 yards on 14 carries for two touchdowns. Jadarian Price and Jeremiyah Love provided the biggest supports, with 31 and 24 total yards, respectively.

Final Thoughts

I generally hate the word resiliency, but I think it’s one of the best ways to describe Notre Dame’s performance against NC State in Week 3. There was a lot to overcome and although it wasn’t the Irish’s prettiest game through this point in the season, they stuck with it and pulled out a size-able victory.

Probably the biggest critique is the somewhat pattern of slower starts for the offense and lingering offensive line issues but as long as Marcus Freeman and his staff can continue to make adjustments, I can’t gripe too much from my couch. Starting to get more excited about what the 2023 season holds for the Irish football program and that feels great.

Cheers and Go Irish!!