A month ago, the Irish left the field after an epic upset loss to Marshall, and the loss of their QB1 for the season, a sullen, and in at least one case angry football team.
At 0-2 on the season , the Irish and their freshly minted head coach faced full blown five alarm adversity.
Post-game Marcus Freeman offered the follow, “We have to look at ourselves from the head coach on down and say, ‘what do we have to do to fix the issues we’re having?’ “
The reboot seems to be working.
Baby steps were made the next week against Cal. A 24-17 win and after a worse than slow start, Drew Pyne started to show some confidence and the running game and offensive line showed a pulse.
Then came the matchup against undefeated and favored North Carolina. A suddenly looking as good as billed pass rush scored sacks and hurries and the running game, spurred on by a gelling offensive line landed a three headed punch by the names of Estime, Tyree and Diggs. The Irish controlled the game most of the day in route to 45-32 victory.
After a bye week the reboot took more steps forward against #16 BYU last week. Drew Pyne took his accuracy to a new level and added a flair of improv to his game, Michael Mayer showed that he is the best college tight end in the world and the defense came up with timely stops and held another good quarterback to well below his season standard. Mix in an emerging playmaker in receiver Jayden Thomas and the Irish scored a 28-20 shamrock Series triumph.
And suddenly you’re asking, where was this team against Marshall?
Notre Dame football 2022 has evolved into a physical team capable of controlling the line of scrimmage and the clock. The best college tight end in the world and assorted other offensive weapons, are now under the management of Drew Pyne, and they are flourishing. The defense is making plays and holding teams to the kind of points that should win against every still scheduled team this side of Clemson and USC, and just might beat those two as well.
Yes there are flaws, but you get the feeling this team will now do whatever it takes to find a way to stop giving a up a couple of big plays each week that have keep opponents in the game and to make a tweak or two on offense.
If that happens, 2022 will go down as a season that went from 0-2 to one to truly remember.