“It’s always Ohio (State) against the world,” coach Ryan Day said, and his No. 6 Buckeyes rallied to a 17-14 victory over No. 1 on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. 9 and said that will continue after beating Notre Dame. Here’s what you need to know:
- Earlier this week, former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz questioned Ohio State’s toughness. Day responded after the win, “I can’t believe what (Holtz) said about our team. This is a tough team here. We are proud to be from Ohio.
- Running back Chip Traynum scored the go-ahead touchdown for Ohio State with one second left, extending the Buckeyes’ winning streak over the Fighting Irish to six games dating back to 1995. Treveon Henderson had a 61-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
- Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord went 21-of-37 for 240 passing yards and zero touchdowns, while Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman went 17-of-25 for 175 yards and a TD.
- The Buckeyes improved to 4-0 with the win as Notre Dame fell to 4-1.
Athletics Instant Analysis:
What did Ryan Day and Lou Holtz say?
On the field after Ohio State’s last-second win, Day became emotional, praising his team’s “toughness” and calling out Holtz. “The Pat McAfee Show” on Friday Notre Dame is a better football team than Ohio State. … You look at Coach (Ryan) Day … He lost twice to Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan, and everybody beats him because they’re more physical than Ohio State.
“I couldn’t believe what he said about our team. This is a tough team here. We are proud to be from Ohio,” Day said. “It’s always been Ohio against the world, and it will continue to be Ohio against the world.”
A costly mistake
Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman called a timeout to settle his defense on what turned out to be Ohio State’s game-winning touchdown. But that moment proved to be the system’s undoing as Notre Dame played the game’s final two snaps with 10 men on the field.
On the first one, McCord’s lateral pass left Irish safety Marvin Harrison Jr. a hole. In the second, DeaMonte Trayanum plowed into the end zone with one second left, a touchdown that survived a review before it turned into a fumble.
“It’s on us,” Freeman said. “We have to be better.”
The Irish played without a fourth defensive lineman in both snaps, a role that would have been filled by Jordan Botelho or another Viper defensive end. A Notre Dame timeout ran out, and Freeman struggled to explain why the Irish didn’t take a penalty to get a full defense on the field for the most important game of the season.
Taking the offsides penalty on the substitution violation cost Notre Dame yardage with the ball already on the 1-yard line. Instead, it would have restored security.
“Everything was happening so fast,” Nickell Thomas Harper said. “I’m just trying to do my job, get the call. In that situation, players and coaches have to do better. — Samson
Notre Dame missed fourth-down opportunities
On the first fourth-down attempt, Notre Dame tried to break into heavy personnel and hit a play-action pass. It turned into a Hartman scramble that seemed to move the chains only for the officials to reconsider the position and move Ireland backwards. On the second fourth-down attempt, Notre Dame rushed to the line of scrimmage and Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg overthrew a quarterback sneak that led to another stop.
Two series. No points. In a 3-point game.
“I mean, when we get past the 50, I’ll go for it on fourth-and-1,” Freeman said. “You play percentages. You either do it all or you do it. Obviously, when you don’t get it, it’s terrible. But percentages show you fourth-and-1, out of 50, and you have to go for it because of the percentage to get it.
Hartman was emphatic about what could have been done differently in the first sneak.
“Yes, it would have been the best thing to do there if I had landed first,” he said. “I can’t be sure. Maybe you can let me know.
One change would have been Notre Dame’s star running back Audrey Estime, but offensive coordinator Jared Parker moved away from the Irish’s strengths in each instance, perhaps the play-action pass (it wasn’t) and turned out too cute. Urgently.
In the end, both plays were invaluable in a game where Notre Dame had every chance to win. The first came on Ohio State’s 18-yard line in the first quarter, and the second on the Buckeyes’ 39-yard line in the third quarter.
“Perform a little better, find a better hole, go out a little better,” Hartman said. “It’s a different ball game, first down, the drive goes on.” — Samson
Ohio State and the QB Question
When was the last time Ohio State didn’t have an elite quarterback? There was some concern from the Buckeyes faithful that this year would be the first time in a long time that the team was without a quarterback who could win. But in McCord’s third game as Ohio State’s starter, he led a 65-yard touchdown drive in the game’s final 90 seconds. Ohio State faced third-and-10, fourth-and-7 and third-and-19 during the game-clinching drive and McCord converted them all.
While McCord didn’t finish the game with 400 yards and four touchdowns, he did when his team needed it most. He showed poise on the road after Notre Dame grabbed all the momentum. Simply put, he succeeded. Ohio State found out a lot about the quarterback leading up to this program. And what they discovered was remarkable. — Wasserman
The highlight of the game
(Photo: Michael Reeves/Getty Images)