Key takeaways from Notre Dame’s defense against Ohio State

Notre Dame fell short last night against Ohio State, falling to the Buckeyes by a score of 21-10. Despite the loss, there were certainly plenty of positives, especially in defence. Notre Dame held Ohio State to its lowest point total since 2018 and its lowest yardage total and average yards per play since the national title game against Alabama in 2020.

Here are my main takeaways from last night’s defensive performance.

Golden shines in his debut

defensive coordinator Al Golden was thrown into the fire facing an Ohio State offense that ranked No. 1 in the nation last season in scoring, total offense and yards per play. also faced ryan Daywho is considered one of the best callers in college football.

Last night Golden showed he was more than up to the task and in many ways edged out Day and the Ohio State offense. Star Quarterback JC Stroud had a hard time getting comfortable in the pocket. Notre Dame did a great job of disguising their covers and appearance, and having Stroud look in one direction based on the pre-snapshot appearance, to take away his best options. When Stroud made big plays in the second half, it was mainly when he was forced out of the pocket.

Notre Dame’s game plan against the run was pretty good early on, and the Irish managed to balance slowing down the ground attack while still being able to handle the perimeter pass. Ohio State makes a living attacking teams with the quick perimeter throws and quick play, but Notre Dame was more than ready to prevail both schematically and with a group of secondary players who, for the most part, made great job bringing it all back. on the inside.

The fourth quarter saw the defense wear down a bit, and Ohio State started to push the Irish line, something Golden and his team will have to sort out, but the Irish offense must also give a help there and do better.

The only black eye was clear miscommunication on Ohio State’s first touchdown in the second half, which will need to be corrected. The two blitzed safeties and the freshman cornerback jadeen Mickey defended the road from the inside post like someone waiting for inside help. Clearly Mickey or one of the safeties was wrong, and from what we saw all night of the defense, I’m guessing one of the safeties made a mistake and didn’t managed to cover the midfield, and it proved costly.

Skeptical Secondary Silences

The biggest question mark on the Fighting Irish defense was the secondary, especially in the game against Ohio State’s mighty passing offense which ranked third nationally in yards by the passes a season ago.

Notre Dame limited Ohio State to just 223 passing yards and 6.6 yards per attempt. The 6.6 yards per attempt was Ohio State’s lowest average since losing the national title to Alabama in 2020 (5.9 YPA). Ohio State also averaged just 9.29 yards per carrying, its lowest production since the Buckeyes’ loss to Clemson in the 2016 College Football Playoff semifinals.

Notre Dame did all of this without rushing too much, which is the only thing we thought the Irish would have against the Buckeyes. The secondary was the main reason for this success. It didn’t start well, and cornerback standout Cam Stag was flagged for a pass interference penalty on the same drive as he misplayed a stop route that resulted in a 31-yard touchdown.

Hart settled in and played better after that, and the rest of the secondary was outstanding for the rest of the game aside from the aforementioned miscommunication.

Fifth year senior Tariq Bracy was brilliant throughout the game both in coverage and as a perimeter support defender. He won Irish Breakdown’s player of the match honour, and most of the other contenders for that honor were secondary players. Junior cornerback Clement lewis had one of the best games of his career, limiting Ohio State to short completions when they attacked him.

Freshman cornerback Benjamin Morisson had a lot of playing time last night and he was excellent. Ohio State challenged Morrison, but he was more than up to the task. He was sticky in his cover and played with a lot of confidence. Transfer Security Brandon joseph was also quite good as an assist coverage defender and against perimeter runs and throws.

If the secondary can bet on this performance it will be a significant force in the defense.

The defensive line was up and down

Notre Dame’s defensive line was expected to be the strength of the defense in 2022, if not the entire team. There were a few positives, but overall the line wasn’t as effective as it needed to be in a game of this magnitude.

Ironically, it was the new starters who played the best football. A case could be made that junior Rylee Mills was the best lineman for the Irish last night, with Mills producing multiple edge pressures, and he was solid on the edge against the run. nose attack Howard To cross III earns that honor if he doesn’t go to Mills. As well as earning a sack early in the game, Cross was one of the most disruptive leading players for the Irish.

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I’ll have more on the other linemen below, but overall the only disappointing aspect of the game was the inability to be more disruptive against Ohio State. Notre Dame only had two tackles for the loss and a sack in the game, and while they sometimes flushed Stroud, they didn’t have enough consistent pressure on him. To make matters worse, one of the two tackles for loss came from a cornerback.

Stars didn’t play like stars

There are two ways to look at my next statement, and that is that aside from Joseph, Notre Dame’s stars on defense didn’t play like stars last night. We didn’t see much of the standout edge Isaiah foskeywho finished with four tackles but didn’t generate much pressure in the game.

defensive tackle Jayson ademila was also quiet for much of the match and failed to disrupt the midfield. Notre Dame needed Foskey and Ademilola to play to their potential and billing and neither made it. In the fourth quarter, this was especially true. When the defense needed the line to step in and make a play to stop the bleeding, they couldn’t do it, and when that happens you have to look at the better players.

linebacker Marist Liufau had some good moments but overall he wasn’t too impactful in the game. Hart settled, but his mistake early in the game cost the team points, and in a game like this, those kinds of mistakes can prove very costly.

The other way to look at it is to be encouraged. We saw Foskey, Ademilola and Hart all play much better than last night, including in the big games. They will be fine and they will return to their normal form. If the other players who played like stars last night can build on their performances, this Irish defense could be special if it’s topped off with the stars starting to play like stars again.

Tacking was better improved, but not enough

This one is simple, Notre Dame tackled better last night than they have for much of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but they still need to improve. The secondary had a few too many missed tackles and linebackers took questionable angles for much of the night and didn’t have too much impact on the ball. It was better, but still not good enough.

Be sure to check out the Irish Breakdown message board, the Champions Lounge

Content of the Irish breakdown

Notre Dame List 2022
Schedule Notre-Dame 2022

Notre Dame 2023 Class Big Board
Notre Dame 2023 Commits Board – Offense
Notre Dame 2023 Commits Board – Defense

Notre Dame Scholarship Offers 2023
Notre Dame Scholarship Offers 2024

Ranking of signatories 2022 – Attack
Ranking of signatories 2022 – Defense


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