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Notre Dame Football

Angeli-c moment caps Blue-Gold Game, JD Price shines

April 23, 2022

Well, Marcus Freeman has his first signature moment in a spring game.

Freshman quarterback Steve Angeli scrambled around the left end as time expired in the annual Blue-Gold Game, leaped from the ground and tucked the game-winning, walk-off touchdown just inside the pylon to lift the Gold Team to a 13-10 win against its Blue counterparts.

“Watching the clock, I know we gotta get a play off,” Angeli said. “We were in our tempo calls, I got the play, looked up and the clock and saw I had about 9 seconds left, and I was like, ‘I gotta get going.’ I saw the corners kept backing up, gave them a few pump-fakes, they kept reacting and I just went for the front pylon.”

In a day largely devoid of confidence-inspiring moments from the quarterback position, Angel’s walk-off moment capped a solid afternoon for the midyear four-star prospect who finished 11-for-13 passing for 180 yards, including a 51-yard scoring pass to fellow rookie running back Jadarian Price – arguably the game’s most outstanding player.

Price flashed throughout, especially catching the ball out of the backfield where he had eight receptions that spanned 104 yards.

“As I told the guys, I couldn’t be more proud of just the collective of 15 practices,” Freeman said. “To end it like that, you couldn’t script it a better way to end on the last play. This group has a lot of momentum right now. Continue to form our identity, and it’s really good to finish that way. No injuries for the most part, stayed pretty healthy.

“Very pleased with today and the entirety of spring.”

With Tyler Buchner sidelined with a sprained ankle, Drew Pyne got the majority of reps – especially through the game’s opening half. With the Gold team, Pyne was 13-for-23 with two picks and was sacked once; he completed nine of 10 tosses for the Blue team for 56 yards and one score.

“It was a little up and down,” Freeman said. “I know, think maybe those two interceptions in the first half, and it’s so easy to look at the quarterback. That’s the position. You’re going to get the praise, and you’re going to get the blame.

“That’s why it’s important for me to continue to meet with those guys, because I have to continue to think the way that they think. A couple of them were batted balls, a couple of them – it’s not always on the quarterback. We don’t want to turn the ball over; we know that. We have to take care of the football. … We’ll evaluate it, but listen he played I don’t know how many plays the first half, got zero back, I’m really proud of him stepping up for both teams.”

Audric Estime also shined out of the offensive backfield, as the second-year bruiser carried 13 times for 59 net yards with a long of 25.

Defensively, both Marist Liufau and Jordan Botelho flashed moments of brilliance in the Al Golden-Marcus Freeman defense that showed an aggressive, attacking nature throughout the intrasquad affair. Botelho and Liufau both recorded an interception, though Freeman didn’t care for Liufau’s celebration but praised his energy.

Ryan Barnes led all tacklers with six stops; Brandon Joseph, the All-American transfer from Northwestern, had three stops in limited work that included a behind-the-line takedown of Estime.

The Irish special teams were tepid; in addition to a muffed point, Blake Grupe’s 36-yard field goal in the second quarter was the only make among four tries for Grupe and Josh Bryan. Bryan Dowd did launch six punts for a 42-yard average that included a long of 58.

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