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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Falls to Ohio State in Game of Inches

September 24, 2023

There are losses and then there are heartbreakers. 

Notre Dame experienced whatever is beyond heartbreak as the No. 9 Fighting Irish fell 17-14 to No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday evening. 

The loss also highlighted the old saying of ‘football is a game of inches.’ 

Chip Trayanum scored the go-ahead touchdown with one second left in regulation as the irish had 10 men on the field, but the game was highlighted by Notre Dame failing to finish when much of the game on paper was even. 

Ohio State totaled just 15 more yards of offense than Notre Dame as the Buckeyes ran one more play (65 to 64). The Buckeyes also averaged 5.6 yards per play, while Notre Dame averaged 5.5 yards per play. 

Sam Hartman led the Irish on two impressive drives in the first quarter, but the Irish were stopped on downs and then Spencer Shrader missed a 47-yard field goal. 

Fast forward to the fourth quarter and Notre Dame took over possession with 4:12 left on the game clock, but couldn’t find a way to run time out.

Hartman felt the defense played well enough to win and placed blame on the offense for not being able to finish despite coming back from a 10-0 hole. 

“I think we had a lot of faith in our defense today,” stated Hartman, who finished 17-of-25 for 175 yards and one touchdown. “Defense made a lot of stops. You just wish you could have executed better on the four-minute drive and kept them on the field. We didn't do that. So it's on us.” 

Notre Dame was stopped on 4th-and-1 twice with the ball in Hartman’s hands. The first was initially ruled a first down and then overturned, while Ohio State defenders Sonny Styles and Lathan Ransom blew Hartman up short of the marker.

“We're just trying to go for it,” Hartman explained of the second turnover on downs. “Went with a QB-sneak. Trying to get around the edge, got caught a little bit. It's part of the game. We execute a little bit better, I find a better hole, get outside a little bit better, it's a different ball game or we get the first down, drive continues.” 

Hartman went 0-for-3 in the second quarter, but quickly rebounded in the second half as the Irish offense found life. 

In fact, one bright spot was the play of tight end Mitchell Evans, who recorded seven catches for 75 yards and then Rico Flores Jr. made three snags for 20 yards and a late touchdown. 

“I think it was just being patient,” Hartman said of the success in the second half. “A lot of it I'm going to have to go back and watch. It was a quick game, fast game, it seemed like. But, yeah, I think we started running the ball well, so they started maybe loading the box a little bit. But, again, nothing really paid off in the end when you lose.” 

As for the team, there is no question the Notre Dame locker room was an unpleasant place on Saturday night. 

Yet the Irish can’t dwell on it as they have to make a road trip to a nationally ranked Duke next weekend. 

“Right now, it's pretty low, pretty dark,” said Hartman. “That's college football. It's life. Got to bounce
back. That's what we'll do. We're Notre Dame.” 

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