Buckeyes Grind Down Irish

Clutch passes by C.J. Stroud and powerful runs by Miyan Williams fueled a dominant second half by Ohio State as the Buckeyes rallied to defeat Notre Dame by 21-10 on Saturday. The Irish led 10-7 at the half but the hosts took control of the line of scrimmage as the game wore on. Two long scoring marches provided the points Ohio State needed while Jim Knowles’ defense smothered Notre Dame after intermission.

The game was physical and hard fought as expected but few people believed it would be such a low-scoring contest. The Irish drew first blood after a Tyler Buchner to Lorenzo Styles pass on the first play of the game set up a field goal by Blake Grupe. Ohio State answered later in the quarter when Stroud hit Emeka Egbuka from 31 yards for a 7-3 advantage.

With the frenzied Buckeye fans screaming for a blowout, the Irish did not roll over. Buchner led an 87-yard march to retake the lead as the game entered the second period. Audric Estime crashed over from one yard out for a 10-7 margin.

With Defensive Coordinator Al Golden calling the signals, Notre Dame kept Stroud and his mates off balance for the remainder of the half. The Irish were not getting much pressure on Stroud, but they were covering his receivers effectively and tackling well. Unfortunately, Buchner and the offense could not keep the defense off the field and eventually they wore down.

The defining play occurred late in the third quarter on a third down and 11 play from the Notre Dame 24. Golden called a safety blitz that left the middle of the field wide open. Xavier Johnson ran a post and Stroud hit him in the end zone. The blitzing safeties did not come anywhere near Stroud. It was a poorly timed blitz attempt but also an unnecessary gamble. The Buckeyes took the lead by 14-10 and never relinquished it.

Buchner tried to respond as the game entered the final period. He hit Braden Lenzy for 32 yards and Chris Tyree swept for 14 more to cross midfield. The drive died a sudden death when Matt Salerno was flagged for offensive pass interference. The Irish punted and Ohio State took over on its own five yard line.

The Buckeyes went to their ground game as the Notre Dame defense appeared to sag. Williams broke tackles on several powerful runs while Stroud bailed them out on a couple of back-breaking third down completions. The drive ended seven minutes and 95 yards later in the Irish end zone.

Miyan Williams ran through the tired Irish defense late in the game

Now trailing 21-10 with five minutes remaining, the Irish could not sustain a drive. Defensive tackle Michael Hall led the surge that overwhelmed the Notre Dame front and shut down all hope for the underdog visitors. After the Irsh held their own in the trenches for two and a half quarters, Ohio State’s linemen dominated the final 20 minutes.

The first half statistics were approximately even but the Buckeye’s ended the night with a 172-76 yard advantage on the ground. Stroud passed for 223 yards and two scores while Buchner had 177 yards through the air. Neither team committed a turnover. Ohio State harassed Buchner all night and sacked him three times. The Irish managed one sack on Stroud but he was not pressured on most of his throws.

Despite a strong effort and a solid game plan, the Buckeyes attacked and ultimately exposed the weaknesses on this team. The middle of the Irsh offensive line, particularly center Zeke Correll and guard Josh Lugg, where no match for Hall and the rest of the Buckeye defenders. They missed blocks in the running game and were unable to handle blitzes or stunts in pass protection.

The Irish linebackers also played poorly, especially in the second half. They either missed tackles, were out of position, or were run over by Williams and TreVeyon Henderson. The secondary held up reasonably well despite a poor first quarter by cornerback Cam Hart and the regrettable safety blitz. Tariq Bracy played particularly well.

Notre Dame also failed to establish its wide receivers. Styles caught one pass at the outset of the game and Lenzy caught a long ball to open the second half. They were not heard from again. The Buckeyes also made it difficult for Michael Mayer to get open. He had five receptions but only one was of any consequence.

Let’s review the answers to our pregame questions:

  • Can the Irish establish and maintain a productive rushing attack? The Irish running game was satisfactory in the first half but ineffective thereafter.
  • Will Joseph be a difference maker in the Notre Dame secondary? Joseph was around the ball and played a decent game considering the quality of the competition, as did most of the Irish secondary
  • Can Isaiah Foskey and the Irish generate a pass rush sufficient to disrupt Stroud’s accuracy? No, and this one was on the biggest disappointments of the night.
  • Will Notre Dame’s receivers prove they belong on the field with their OSU counterparts? Even without Jaxon Smith-Ngigba, who went down with a first quarter injury, the Buckeye wideouts were clearly superior. Emeka Egbuka looks like a really nice player for them.
  • Can the new look Irish special teams make a meaningful contribution? Not at all. Kickoff returns were abysmal and field position was even worse all night.
  • Will Rees get the better of Knowles this time around? Maybe in a game of cornhole but certainly not in football.
  • Can Freeman do better in a night game on the road than his predecessor? Yes, his team was fired up and unafraid. They played well until the better team took control.
  • Will Jesus forgive me for refusing to refer to this opponent as THE Ohio State University? I’m not sure, but Irish fans can always count on his Mother.

Early comments from Notre Dame fans were most critical of the safety blitz call and of Rees. Some jumped on Buchner but I believe that is unfair. He did what was asked of him and did not turn the ball over. He did not do a great job reading and adjusting to the defensive looks, but he will learn and improve. He is coachable and Rees needs to provide that mentoring.

We should give him and the rest of the team a chance.

66 thoughts on “Buckeyes Grind Down Irish

  1. The ND offense did not look much different from 22 years of Kelly. Please give Buchner more plays that will utilize his rollout running and passing skills. It doesn’t matter how good your defense is the offense is still running plays from the dark ages.

    • Once upon a time there was a football team that had imagination and originality in there offensive play, that sadly has not happened for the last 10+ years.
      When Kelly arrived we as Domers were told that the offense was to complicated. Our better than average student athletes were kept in the 1950’s and 1960’s offenses. Our offensive co-ordinator has the Kelly mindset because that is the system he knows. Young Mr. Carr will make a mistake if he honors his commitment and plays for this backward thinking offensive mind. I for one wish he had gone to LSU with Kelly. He may be a great person as a man but he is way over his head now. It will be a long season when we play good teams.
      Special teams coaching is also lacking. Return yardage on kickoffs didn’t get us to the 25. If the kick is inside the 10 make a fair catch get the ball on the 25 and save wear and tear on the players. If someone isn’t within 7 yards when receiving a punt, catch it and run. Are we paying a coach for teaching to fair catch on a punt.
      I thought we matched up very well with Ohio State. Defense did get tired when the offense could work when 9 men we lined up within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
      Disappointed I am TomK ’65

  2. A few observations:
    1. Chris Tyree was a nonentity. With a weak wide receiver group and all the pressure on Mayer, how do you sit an excellent slot and out-of-the-backfield receiver like Tyree for almost the entire game?

    2. The slow developing double safety blitz in the 3rd quarter backfired, OSU scored, reversed the momentum and put the pressure squarely on Buchner. The secret to winning at poker is well timed aggression; the same applies to football. Aggression for aggression’s sake is a nonstarter.

    3. The team (especially the defense) did not appear to be in good enough condition to play 4 quarters of tough football. Shades of the Fiesta Bowl and a flabby starting QB in the Spring game. In his post-game interview, even Stroud acknowledged the role conditioning played in the OSU victory.

    4. It’s not time to panic, but the coaches should consider using the Marshall game to decide who really wants to play for Notre Dame. Some Lou Holtz type tough love. Play almost everyone and see who should start and who should sub based on game performance.

  3. OSU was beatable tonight. ND had them on the ropes after a 3 and out in the 1st series of the 3rd quarter.
    However, the offense was horrible. Lacking creativity, imagination and leadership, there was no spark at all and no 2nd half adjustment. This is the result of poor coaching by the O. coordinator and the O line coach. Ultimately the responsibility for the fix lies w/ the HC. This was deja vu of the the Ok st bowl game w/ a flat 2nd half performance.
    The next 3 games will determine this team’s fate. Irish need to be 3-1 going into BYU. Losing 2 or 3 of these games could spell absolute disaster
    Don’t write this loss off as simply a loss to a top 2 team
    Offense playing like this tonight won’t even beat Marshall, let alone NC.

  4. The double safety blitz on 3rd and 13 after keeping everything in front of them prior to that was tough to watch. Regardless, it was good to see the team show up without the fear they played with in a big game on the road every time they were led by Brian Kelly. For the first time in 12 years, I have hope for the long term. As an aside, I’m almost embarrassed to admit I can’t wait to root on FSU Sunday night.

  5. Irish in the South says:

    I was disappointed in our offensive line, touted earlier as a very good one. Buchner was rushed most of the night and was unable to use his legs effectively. This led to our gassed defense. On the positive side, we did cover the spread and were prepared for the game. OSU was the better team and by far the best on our schedule. Hopefully, we learn from this game and improve going forward.

  6. They gave it all they had but Ohio State was clearly superior – in the second half they wore us down. For a first time starter in such a game Buchner did fine. Mayer was basically neutralized, which was what OSU needed to do.

    Meanwhile Alabama managed to squeak by Utah State 55-0.

    • A first time starter who “did fine” was Terry Hanratty against Purdue which had Bob Griese and Leroy Keyes and beat USC in the Rose Bowl. You can’t take your foot off the gas against great teams, as Ohio State probably is, and it appeared that Buchner did so for a stretch, mentally.

      • True, but you are talking about one of the best college football teams of all time, the 1966 National Champions, which had a dominant offense with no weaknesses. It was also blessed with with All-American O linemen, running backs and receivers, so it’s not really a fair comparison. It was also a team with one of the best defenses ever, giving up only 38 points in 10 games, with 6 shutouts, which kept the other teams’ offenses off the field.

        • All you say is true except about the fair comparison. Before the first game that season, it wasn’t conclusive about the legend to come. The pressure on Hanratty was huge. He was 19 years old. It was no sure thing ND would win. Purdue lost only to the Irish and to Michigan State that season. It was one of the greatest Boilermaker teams.

          • Irish in the South says:

            This game pitted No. 5 against No. 2. It came out the way that the polls predicted. Without an “upset”, this loss was expected. We simply missed many opportunities to pull off an upset.

  7. Good analysis of the game John. I thought Coach Freeman really had them prepared and ready to go!! Still wished they would have won. Like you said, the defense got tired and the offense needs to fix some things. Do you think they will move Patterson back to center? I feel with his experience he will be able to make the calls at the line of scrimmage and communicate with the other lineman better. Anyway, Go Irish beat Thundering Herd!!

    • Patterson’s foot injury is serious and will likely keep him out for a couple of months, if not all season. We are stuck with the stiffs we have at center and right guard for now. If we’re lucky we can get Patterson back in November when we play Clemson and USC.

      Next year we’ll have Pat Coogan and Billy Schrauth in those OL spots – a big upgrade. They are not quite ready yet but they have a much higher ceiling.

  8. John Vannie – Great analysis as usual. In the second half, Rees seemed to be predictable with his play calling and called for passing a lot, minimizing the running game. Doesn’t seem like Rees has the experience to maximize production of the offense. What are your thoughts?

    • I’m not a fan of the Kelly/Rees offense from a fundamental standpoint. It asks a lot of the QB, especially at the line of scrimmage. It’s not as though we have Peyton Manning back there to yell out “Omaha” whenever he recognizes what the defense is doing. Buchner missed several reads but that is to be expected in his first start. Some of the play calls might have worked if Buchner understood what was happening in front of him and checked into the right call. Who knows how long it will be before he is capable of that? The bottom line is OSU’s DC Knowles made Rees and ND look like amateurs in the second half. If only we had Al Golden’s equivalent on offense.

      In the mean time Buchner is not going to get better if his center and right guard can’t block anyone.

      • I think the o line will improve every game with Hiestand at the helm, however I’m having my doubts about Ress’ ability as an offensive coordinator. Not much creativity.

  9. The defensive line was supposed to be one of the strengths of this team but for the most part it didn’t play like it last night and Foskey had a very quiet night. It did look to me that they were getting held sometimes. Once again Tommy Rees had few answers to Jim Knowles’ defense after halftime. ND only had 60 yards in the 3rd quarter.

    I don’t know if Hiestand is overrated and past his prime or 2-3 of the offensive lineman are that bad. On replays OSU d-lineman were easily running through Corrall and Lugg while other times the line seemed confused on assignments and who to block.

    The better team won but it’s just disappointing how the team seemed to collapse in the 4th quarter and get physically pushed around on both sides of the ball. ND still can only compete with the best for about 2.5 to 3 quarters.

    I’m getting tired of hearing how ND is just 2-3 of hot recruiting classes away from elite status. Been hearing that since the Weiss years and the “hot” classes turn out to be not hot enough to deliver.

  10. Spot on John. ND needs some adjustments especially the offensive line and the linebackers. To win a national championship they will need an elite QB. Buchner is good but not elite. I think Carr incoming in is one of them. But I will give Buchner the benefit of the doubt. He should have player last year but BK went to the portole and left him hanging. Had he had the one year experience they may have had a better chance. Biggest issues, no WR, no offensive line or LB. No running game.

    In other words they need a better players if they want a National Championship. Yes they will get there but it will take a few years. I willing to give them 4 years.

  11. Let’s be realistic, ND cannot beat the OSU’s,UGA’s Alabama’s because of the academic standards , period. I’m happy with 11-2 every year. Same drivel starting again in 2022.

    • Tim, I 100% agree with you. If you’re a talented, athletic football player, the admissions office at Alabama will tell coach Saban that ‘he’s not getting into Alabama unless he’s a carbon based organism.’ Only about 5% college football players have an NFL career. Alabama has the highest percentage of former football players who are currently homeless. ND has the highest earning former football players–who didn’t have NFL careers.

  12. Notre Dame, with its very solid defense, is a top 10 team. Unfortunately, they are not a top 3 team – OSU, Georgia, and Bama are still at another level.

  13. The better team won. But, we beat the spread in a tough environment and are getting better. Give them a chance. Go Irish!

  14. It’s still up in the air; hopefully this wasn’t just the dawn of another age of mediocrity.

    ND teams are generally pretty athletic, but they are rarely tough.

  15. I think we all knew you needed more than 10 points to be Ohio State. I think both Ohio State and Notre Dame were overrated based on what I saw last night.

    The defense did play well but Stroud was anything but sharp especially in the first 3 quarters, but you can’t leave the defense on the field forever with out them wearing out.

    The offense was sad, plain and simple. Buchner was under pressure all night but still under performed. Punt returns were non-existent even though several fair catches were called with no defenders within 10 yards and kick off returns were worse.

  16. Bottom line another loss vs big time opponent. Nothing really changes. Offense was from the leather helmet days. Anything less than 12-1/11-2 and season is a loss. After last nights game this might be a 3/4 loss team.

  17. The Irish played a solid 1H. Played just well enough on both sides of the ball to keep them in the game. Clearly, OSU would make adjustments at halftime but ND staff appeared to be satisfied and did not anticipate 2H changes by Knowles. Tommy Reese needs to learn and get better in this area. Optimistic for a winning season. Go Irish!

  18. Think the O-line was the root of the problem last night, leading to no ground game, WAY too much pressure on QB (negating his dual threat value), and too much time on the field for the defense, resulting in the collapse of the last 20 minutes. Very surprised at that. Hopefully, lesser opponents for the next two games will allow the O-line to gets its feet under itself. Would use those two games to find out if this is the line that will work. If not, bring Patterson back to center for the UNC game after 2 more weeks of rest/healing, then practice for the week of the UNC game. The main competition then would be for the two guard spots.

  19. Primary hoped for outcome was a win. The team came close.

    Secondary hope for outcomes was we were competitive and did not get embarrassed. The team accomplished both.

    The first game of the season is always a learning experience. The team has lots of things to learn. Hopefully this will presage a good season.

  20. John – excellent analysis, as always. This was definitely a winnable game for ND IMHO. There were two plays that were instrumental to the final outcome. First, Golden, who otherwise coached a terrific game, made a critical mistake on the 3rd and 11 play in the 3rd QTR by sending a delayed blitz with the safeties leaving single coverage, which resulted in a TD. In all likelihood, OSU would have had to settle for a field goal evening the score at 10-10. Second, as ND had a promising drive going on the next series of downs and was threatening to take back the lead, Salerno was flagged for OPI, leading to a first and 25 and causing the drive to fizzle. OSU seized control of the game from that point forward.

    A few other observations. Candidly, I have never been a fan of Rees’ play calling. I actually thought he did a reasonably good job coaching in the first half, but far from it in the second half. We had some nice running plays in the first half utilizing two tight ends and Estime. Why was that abandoned from the outset of the second half? Using a pound and ground offense is designed to wear down the defense and open up the passing game, and we have the perfect back to do that in Estime. That’s exactly what OSU did late in the game, when our defense had been worn down by being on the field the majority of the second half. And what happened to Styles in the 2nd half? He was a forgotten man. That can’t happen with a receiver of his talent.

    I thought that Buchner played very well and is going to be an outstanding quarterback. He made some terrific passes and demonstrated his running ability. He was playing on the road in his first game as a starter against the #2 team in the country, which clearly had a vastly improved defense over last year’s. He also had to deal with some holes in the offensive line, and a depleted receiving group. Sure he missed some reads, which is to be expected with a young QB, as he was under constant pressure in the 2nd half.

    I agree with you and many other posters that Correll and Lugg are not going to get the job done. That has been obvious, particularly with Lugg, for quite a while, and both have short arms. The solution should be to move Patterson back to center and insert Spindler at guard. The linebackers did not play well either, other than Liafau, particularly in the second half. That did not surprise me, as those who are playing are a good group, who play up to their abilities, but they are hardly elite. Fortunately we have recruited an outstanding group of linebackers, including the freshman class, so the future looks very bright at that position.

    Finally, from what I saw in this game, is is clear that Notre Dame is closing the talent gap under Freeman’s leadership, but that is a process that takes time.

    • What I am now hearing is that Golden did not call the all-out safety blitz. It was an error by a player on the field who did not read the signal correctly from the sideline.

  21. This is no moral victory!

    No “something to build off of”!

    No first game jitters, learning experience, settling in…whatever.

    It was the first game for both teams. OSU was the better team? So what! The better team does not always win – that’s what they call an upset. If the Irish are going to get any traction toward glory, they need to beat a better team once in a while. As long as the Alabama’s of the world keep reloading, we have to bring something more than just talent. We had the chance to do that last night. In other “big games” they just did not compete. We had a chance to do that last night. When the opportunity is so close, you’ve got to be the one to stand up and grab it! A huge opportunity missed.

    I’m not sure that is any more satisfying than getting blown out.

  22. OSU did not score 35-40 points because our defense did not let them, but they won because they wore us down in the 2nd half. The defense was exhausted in the 4th quarter when OSU scored to win the game, and they basically neutralized Mayer.

    OSU won because they were the better team – next year’s game in South Bend should be interesting.

    I look for 9-3 this year and things are looking up.


  23. For this team to reach even 9-3 this year they are going to have to beat either BYU, Clemson or USC, and win the rest of their games. None of those three games mentioned are gimmies, I don’t care where they are played at. Irish are not elite along either line, or at quarterback. Wishing Coach Freeman the best of luck.

  24. Irish in the South says:

    We have a lot of work to do after this game. Our schedule is one of the toughest. Many of our opponents won big. I see USC, BYU, Clemson and even California as big obstacles to our playoff dreams.

  25. I’m not sure why people expected elite play against a top 3 opponent to open the season. Have we already forgotten how many Kelly games opened against abjectly inferior opponents, yet still started with penalties like false starts, delay of game, or TFL on the very first offensive play? And against top ranked teams they seemed scared to even get off the bus. What was Kelly’s record in prime time under the lights against a top opponent?

    This team wasn’t scared to play. They showed up like they belonged there and executed well in the first half. For the first 40 minutes this felt an awful lot like the Oklahoma game in 2012. Right up until it turned into Oklahoma State in 2022.

    Rees has never had a solid grasp of how to make adjustments to keep the ground game alive in the second half, despite innumerable examples on display against us. Maybe he needs to spend more time watching film with the defense to understand why abandoning your running game in the second half is a terrible strategy that gives the opposing D a breather while it wears ours out.

    All in all, it wasn’t an embarrassing blowout loss in prime time and that alone is improvement. I’m not happy they lost, but I’m relieved not to spend the next few months holding my breath waiting to be exposed as frauds. The team is good, but not great, and the flaws were identified right up front. Time to get to work and have a solid season.

  26. Going into the game, I did not believe ND would win, but…we should be able to run more than 20 plays in the 2nd half no matter who we play. Not sure why we kept TR as OC. Except for the double safety blitz, the defense played well. The offense has to give them some time off the field. Perhaps he’ll be ready someday…might be some tough decisions to make at the end of the season.

  27. Michael Stockrahm says:

    1. Game hinged on Rees telling QB and Offense we don’t believe in you. Abandoned run and then ran aconsecutive jet sweep and QB Draw! From 3rd and 25 at midfield? Not trying to go for it at midfield was going to give same field position result. It was almost like centering the ball for a field goal – but we did it for a punt? He admitted we can’t block long enough to keep QB alive long before team collapsed. Had to stay on the field at all costs – try to get a D interference penalty etc… No college team in Top 100 calls jet sweep and QB draw except Navy in that situation. Rees accepts mediocrity and players do not step up.
    2. Punter was Player of the Game – where does that make headlines in a top 50 team?

    Otherwise, many were worried about an Oregon destruction game and did not happen. I had square OSU 7 and ND 3, so at least i got $50!

  28. patmellon9@gmail.com says:

    I really thought we had a good chance to win before the game and at the beginning of the 3rd qt. However, it soon became clear that we were lacking in the offensive line and no pass rush would be our eventual downfall. My expectations were unrealistic which causes pain and misery. Go Irish. My expectations have diminished to 9-3

  29. I had the benefit of sitting in a room with OSU fans who were dying in the first half. They uniformly related that OSU notoriously starts slow and finishes strong. That was observed. Unfortunately, ND is the opposite. Some have observed, “Well, at least we covered the spread!” Get serious. If OSU hadn’t taken its foot off the gas in garbage time, that wouldn’t have been the case. They dominated the 2nd half after waking up. Same old offensive malaise regarding play calling. No running game and receiving corp is sub-par. ND is not in the same universe as the elites, and never will be. We all know this, at least subconsciously. They get the horses, we don’t. We will lose the challenging games this year and win against inferior opponents. Same old story.

    • ND is not in the same universe as the elites, and never will be

      Meanwhile, ND currently has the #1-rated recruiting class for 2023 and 2024, because unlike the previous guy, the current head coach actually works at recruiting.

  30. I think there is too much over reaction about Buchner. he played really well considering he had no time to throw and was in a very hostile environment against a very solid defense as his first start.
    I agree–same old story with another loss to a big team but it was vey different than the Kelly era.
    Under Kelly we always came out flat, unprepared and turnovers were big. None of that was the issue in this game. The team was better prepared and more fundamental.
    The issue in this game was Tommy Rees – as it was in the bowl game–His inability to adjust and a poor red zone play calling sequence early on. Kudos for him for sticking around through all the turmoil but he still is not very good. As for the blitz and Al Golden–not sure if he called that or not. In my mind he is very suspect. he underperformed at Miami and was absolutely a horrible coach there and deserved to be fired. the jury is out on him

    • Irish in the South says:

      No doubt we missed some passing opportunities in the red zone, especially on our first drive. But then our wide receivers are not our strong suit.

  31. I watched every play of this game. Been a lifetime fan and I thought about something. Notre Dame has a bright future under Coach Freeman. He will make changed that need to be made. Imagine the two games he has had to prepare for. A bowl game last year that he never expected to be in and his second game on the road against Ohio St. Now that’s tough. I don’t care who the coach is. Marcus is and is going to be a great coach and he is learning. Yes the middle of the offensive line need work. I thought field position was poor all night except in the second quarter when Notre Dame scored a touchdown. They seem to have a good kicking game. Notre Dame will rebound from this.

  32. Rees is not an elite OC and never will be. He learned under Kelly and should have left with Kelly. How can he be considered an offensive game planner, he had last year’s bowl game to see the Knowles’ defensive scheme with excellent players at OSU that were not as elite as the defensive players at TOSU, yet he learned nothing.

  33. The double safety blitz was worse than Bob Davie’s all-out blitz against Michigan State in 2000. The defensive line kept letting the QB get out of the pocket, he was running for his life, you should be able to get a few sacks, but worst of all was the secondary couldn’t step up and get a pick or bat the ball down with the QB running for his life full speed at the sideline, that happened over and over again.

    ND has a mobile QB but couldn’t take advantage of him, it was another repeat of the past 26 years: the only game worth watching this year, OSU begging to get beat, and uncompetitive players and coaches letting it slip away. Bye-bye!

  34. I admit to feeling a bit depressed after the loss on Saturday, and I admit to watching LSU against FSU last night.

    I feel a LOT better now.

  35. When we did the two TE set with running game in the first half I really saw something. Thought we could pound, but went away from it and went too quick possession passing game. the game plan was great, limiting great OSU offensive possessions by not throwing as much. Can’t fault Buchner, he hasn’t played in awhile and will get better. Defense looked gassed towards the end, or defeated knowing offense wasn’t gonna score.

  36. When’s the last time ND had a receiver who could get good separation?

    I consider Pyne the superior passer, and I think that’s who you need against better teams. Sure Buchner will look great against other lesser teams, but how many times have we seen better squads just put an extra guy or two in the box against “dual-threat” QBs and dare you to beat them with the pass. Somebody give the center a muleta to wave at the linebackers blowing by him.

  37. We will improve as the season moves on. We had better be prepared for Marshall. Watched Clemson on Monday, and they are not an OSU, as least not yet. Another positive note; it’s a good thing BK only took Jay Bramblett with him and no one else (I. E. kicker/ long snapper) as they would have a win and not a loss on game one and we would have a serious problem. Now that is the meaning of schadenfreude.

  38. Vannie- How could Patterson be dressed and going through some workouts and not be ready for 2 more months? Am I missing something there?

    As for the game, I’d be more encouraged by hanging tough with the number 2 team, but this is the 2nd game under Freeman and Rees where they were thoroughly outcoached in the second half and looked to half absolutely no answers from an offensive perspective.

    • Patterson thought he might try to play through the pain to see if he could be effective, but simply could not do it. He’s a captain and wanted to be out there. Freeman allowed him to go through that process although the coaching staff and medical team were not optimistic. If it were some run of the mill team besides Ohio State, I doubt Patterson would have bothered.

      Unfortunately, the nature of his foot injury is such that healing will be slow and he has to stay off it. I doubt he will play anytime soon. I initially heard it would be two months or possibly longer before he is 100%. Nothing has changed in that regard. He has an NFL career in front of him and it’s not worth risking by trying to play through an injury. I’m confident that Patterson accepts this now. It’s just difficult for any competitor to miss games.

  39. Thanks John- seems like they were really weak at Center and RG. Could be tough to dominate on the ground with two subpar linemen.

    • I heard this week that Patterson has made progress and may be back sooner than later. This is good news but also points out the fact that schools (as well as pro teams) do not like to discuss the status of injuries with the media.