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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Run Game Dominant in South Bend Snow

November 19, 2022

Notre Dame’s ground game dominated from start to finish. 

Logan Diggs, who rushed for game-high 122 yards, started the game with a 51-yard run on the game’s first play and the Irish never looked back. 

In fact, Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman knew the Irish were dominating the game on the ground, but even he was surprised when he was told his team rushed fro 281 yards. 

“I don't know how many total yards we had today rushing,” stated Freeman. “How much?  281. That's pretty good. The ability to rush to 281, that's pretty good and they stepped up to the challenge.” 

Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and Freeman made it clear this week the Irish were going to find a way to run the ball following last weekend’s disappointing effort of just 66 yards on the ground against Navy. 

”It's funny, I kind of do my Friday Keys to Victory before Friday and one of my keys, it said run the ball or make them pay,” recalled Freeman. “What happens with a team that doesn't let you run the ball? They bring nine guys in the box. You've got to make them pay. They're playing zero and they're pressuring and we've got to throw the ball.

Then I go into the offense unit meeting and Coach Rees said something about we're going to run the ball. There's no other option. I said, you know what, that's right. So we went to the Friday night meeting. I said, listen, we're going to run the ball and make them pay.” 

Irish left tackle Joe Alt knew last weekend’s performance wasn’t the standard and the offensive line embraced the challenge issued by the staff this week as they knew bad weather was part of the forecast. 

“Going into this week, it was how are we going to send our seniors out right,” Alt explained. “We prepared all week. We were challenged to run the ball every week. I think being able to go out and put up a number like that for our seniors, especially our senior offensive linemen, send them out on the right foot at Notre Dame stadium, it was so much fun for us as a group, and I think it was even better for those seniors.” 

For Diggs, the 51-yard run to open the game set the tone, but a big run was also something he had on his mind all week. 

“It was kind of a weird experience because, like, five people like this past week have been telling me, ‘Logan, I feel like you're going to have a big one, you're going to rip a big one.’ I was just like, man, I hope so.

“First play of the game, they blocked it up well, I had the perfect opportunity to go in. When I was running, I was just like, man, I don't want to go down. I want to score this one. But eventually, I got to get in the end zone, so that's still a good feeling.” 

The conditions weren’t favorable for an explosive run game, which was more than fine by Notre Dame as they have taken a death by a thousand cuts approach. 

In addition to Diggs, Audric Estime chipped in with 71 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Tyree finished with 50 yards and a score. 

Perhaps the most significant quality of the Notre Dame running back room is the fact there isn’t selfishness as all three backs want to see each other do well, which in turn, gives each player confidence and that leads to trust from the staff.

“It's just a blessing with the coach having that much trust in you, having that much faith in you to keep going back to you,” said Diggs. “The only thing you can do in that situation is continue to execute so you can make sure you keep that trust.” 

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