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The Fighting Irish 4-1-1 – Cal – Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Official Athletics Website

4 elements that defined Notre Dame’s first win of the 2022 campaign; 1 unique stat, 1 thing to pivot forward

by John Brice
Special Contributor

Resolve.

An unflappable mindset.

Oh, and a couple of those things for which Notre Dame typically has and insists it will be known: effective, at times dominant, play from the offensive line and wholly disruptive play from the Irish’s defensive front.

The result? The first victory of the fledgling Marcus Freeman era here beneath the Golden Dome, where the Irish rallied in the second half and withstood the visiting Golden Bears’ desperation heave into the end zone as time expired for an 24-17 triumph in this sold-out, ‘For The Irish’ green Saturday matinee.

In an item we’ll bring you after each Notre Dame contest, here’s the 4-1-1 on Notre Dame’s much-needed win Saturday before a capacity crowd inside Notre Dame Stadium.

FOUR ELEMENTS THAT DEFINED THE FIGHTING IRISH’S CAPTIVATING WIN INSIDE NOTRE DAME STADIUM

  1. SIX. Still seeking its first forced turnover of this season, Notre Dame capitalized on what was by far the Irish defense’s most effective, oftentimes-suffocating pressure. In fact, Notre Dame recorded both six sacks and an additional six quarterback hurries; collectively, the unit had eight tackles-for-losses (TFLs). Perhaps no one was more effective than Isaiah Foskey, who recorded two TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and then two hurries. He finished with five tackles.
  2. CLOSER TO DICTATING PACE, TEMPO: The Fighting Irish had struggled in each of their first two games to control time of possession and sustain drives, particularly in the second halves of contests. In setting the tone for how this contest would be decided in the second half, Notre Dame’s offense possessed the ball for 17 minutes, 4 seconds across the third and fourth quarters. The Irish amassed 188 of their 297 yards’ offense in the second half.
  3. PYNE SHYNES: For his first career start, Drew Pyne overcame a first-half turnover and merely executed a 17-for-23 passing day for 150 yards, two touchdowns and officially six rushing attempts that included a long of 13, as offensive coordinator Tommy Rees helped Pyne and the offense settle into a second-half rhythm.
  4. TAKEAWAYS … TAKEN AWAY: Not once but twice Notre Dame appeared to polish off the Bears with decisive turnovers, including what would have been a punctuating scoop-and-score fumble return from TaRiq Bracy after earlier Clarence Lewis had seen his apparent game-ending interception negated by a targeting penalty on an Irish linebacker. Still, Freeman praised the want-to of the group to secure turnovers and the first-year head coach noted postgame that he witnessed a much greater intentionality from the defense to try and dislodge the football from the Bears.

ONE THING TO NOTE

Chris Tyree got untracked for the Irish, as the dynamic third-year back accumulated 108 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches; Tyree rushed 17 times and caught a team-best five passes. Though his longest rush covered just 10 yards, Tyree moved the sticks on a 21-yard reception out of the backfield while he and Audric Estime combined to average 4 yards per carry on their 35 joint rushing attempts.

Tyree was one of six players to record a reception from Pyne on the afternoon.

ONE THING PIVOTING FORWARD

Marcus Freeman didn’t present a game ball, and it’s not an item that will be a staple of his program. He said it was far more important for this moment to be collectively celebrated by all, after so much time and so many people had invested to help Notre Dame get to this point – its first win since at Stanford on Nov. 27, 2021.

Though there wasn’t a game-ball presentation, Freeman did ask Drew Pyne to address his teammates in the post-game locker room scene and he discharged a stirring, passionate message to his coaches and peers.

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