(Photo: Chad Ryan)

Game 1, back on September 3rd was an amusement park teaser as the Irish went toe to toe most of the day with Ohio State before succumbing in the second half, 21-10.

In game two the ride all but derailed as underdog Marshall took out the Irish at home 26-21, and the Irish lost quarterback Tyler Buchner for the season.

In game 3, after a slow first half by Drew Pyne, and some hard coaching by Tommy Rees, the ride picked up some momentum with a win over Cal 24-17.

Game 4 at North Carolina was an exhilarating affair full of thrill as Pyne threw for 289 yards and 3 TDs and Audric Estime ran for 134 as the Irish outdueled the high-powered Tar Heels 45-32

Game 5 in Vegas the ride could not have been much more fun as Drew Pyne continued to show a hot hand with three more TD passes, Michael Mayer proved he was the “World’s Greatest College Tight End” and the Irish notched a win over BYU, 28-20.

In Game 6 the ride took an unexpected turn as another underdog, Stanford took out the Irish 16-14. The rollercoaster left players, fans and Marcus Freeman, whipsawed and looking for answers.

In Game 7 the ride had some ups and downs but jolted back to life as the Irish, behind Logan Diggs’ 130 yards dominated UNLV, 44-21. 

For game 8 the ride swerved into the old Carrier dome at Syracuse, and the ground game put up 246, 123 of them by Audric Estime, and the ride picked up some serious momentum.

That momentum turned into a triple loop spinetingling freefall as the Irish dominated 4th ranked Clemson 35-14 in game 9.  Logan Diggs and Audric Estime pounded the Tigers by each going over 100 yards, and freshman Ben Morrison had a coming out party with 2 interceptions, one a 96-yard pick six.

Game 10 against Navy included a fast and fun ride in the first half with Drew Pyne accounting for 5 TDs, but then a sudden stop in the second as the Irish had to hold on for a 35-32 victory. The game wasn’t over until Matt Salerno fell on a Navy onside kick in the final minute.

Last week in game 11, the rollercoaster turned into the polar express as wind, cold and snow combined with 437 yards of offense, 3 more Ben Morrison interceptions and Senior Day to turn Notre Dame stadium into a snow globe celebration as the Irish shut-out Boston College 44-0.

This week the wild ride continues as the 8-3 Irish barrel full speed west to take on their 6th ranked archrival, the USC Trojans.  USC has their sights set on the College Football Playoff, ND is looking to derail that quest and to add one more exhilarating twist to their own 2022 season.

By Phil Houk

For 25 years, bringing you the glory of Notre Dame football.

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