Things We Learned: Notre Dame's 2022 foundation 'a tough football team' - Inside the Irish | NBC Sports (2022)

The Minnesota native laughed at the cold, thinking back to an eighth-grade game with a windchill pushing 0 degrees. The Louisiana native grimaced at it, twice saying, “It was cold, it was cold,” before adding the weather was “doable,” as if that wasn’t obvious in No. 18 Notre Dame’s 44-0 drubbing of Boston College on Saturday.

Would it be too cliché to say the Irish ground game hit the Eagles like an avalanche in the first half before the snow actually showed up after halftime? Nordic countries supposedly have about 180 words for snow — more than triple the actual number in Eskimo languages — but the more pertinent number tied to the snow on Saturday was 214, as in Notre Dame’s first-half rushing yardage on 22 carries.

When the six inches of snowfall dropped on South Bend on Saturday clouded all vision and reduced most traction after halftime, Boston College’s fate was already buried beneath that avalanche, a 37-0 halftime deficit more than the Eagles (3-8) may have been able to overcome against even an FCS team in September, let alone the Irish (8-3) as they round into the form expected in September.

Averaging 9.73 yards per carry in the first half will do that. That rate was more indicative of Notre Dame’s rout than anything diminished by 67 yards on 16 second-half rush attempts, both the score and the snowfall removing any version of active aggression from the competition.

“We’re challenged to run the ball every week,” sophomore left tackle Joe Alt said. “Being able to go out and put up a number like that for our seniors, especially our senior offensive linemen, send them out on the right foot at Notre Dame Stadium, it was so much fun for us as a group.”

From a Minneapolis suburb, Alt could be believed to think the 25-degree afternoon and heavy snowfall was “fun.” It was still a bit difficult to trust his, or anyone’s, embracing of bare skin on the day. The Irish offensive line spurned head coach Marcus Freeman’s repeated requests to dress for the occasion and all played without sleeves.

There was no surprise in that. The standard so consistently espoused by sixth-year right guard Josh Lugg and fifth-year left guard and two-time captain Jarrett Patterson is as much about mentality as fundamentals, and that mentality would never allow the perceived display of weakness from wearing long sleeves. Irrational? Perhaps, but not surprising.

“For us offensive linemen, it’s never going to be sleeves,” Alt said. “… It’s also a mindset. It’s going to be cold, it’s cold for everybody. You don’t want to let that affect your play. The cold is going to be there, it’s there for everybody, but let’s just put that out of our heads and go play.”

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Fair enough. Not quite logical, but the focusing and motivating aspect of that cold may hold merit. Nothing more, though.

Then Notre Dame gave Alt every ounce of credibility imaginable.

The Irish offensive line regularly stays after practice on its own to work through a few more drills, another example of that long-held “standard.” Apparently, at some point in the past week — Notre Dame practiced outdoors two of the three midweek days — the offensive line finished its drills and made snow angels, put a helmet on a snowman and had an all-out snowball fight. All, of course, without sleeves.

Prepared all week#GoIrish

— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) November 20, 2022

Pennsylvania’s Lugg (No. 75) made one of the taller snow angels ever known, his 6-foot-6 ⅞ frame pushing aside the snow. Illinois native Pat Coogan (No. 78) helped Pennsylvanian Michael Carmody (No. 68) with the snowman. Indiana native Ashton Craig (No. 70) drilled Alt with a snowball.

These idiots really did enjoy the snow. Alt was not blustering after the rout. If he unexpectedly stuck around in South Bend for his senior season and the College Football Playoff expanded smoothly, an unprecedented thought, before the 2024 season, the thought of an on-campus Playoff game would clearly bring Notre Dame’s offensive line utter joy.

They may try to act like the snow is falling next week in Los Angeles, too.

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“We’ll look back today and look at this past week of our preparation and say next week’s not going to be a snow game, but two of the three days this week, we went outside, because it’s a mentality,” Freeman said. “We’re going to be tough.”


— Matt Cashore (@mattcashore) November 20, 2022

The first snap from scrimmage.

Past descriptions like that have been glib, accurate but glip. This was not a “Kickoff” moment a la Bowling Green in 2019. Rather, sophomore running back Logan Diggs’ 51-yard carry on the first play of the game set the tone and immediately made it clear, Notre Dame could plow through Boston College with reckless abandon.

A couple poor throws stalled the drive inside the 10-yard line, leading to the first of Blake Grupe’s three field goals, but the point was made all the same. The Irish would not only dominate the Eagles’ offensive line but on both sides of the trench.

“Five people just this past week were telling me, ‘Logan, you’re going to have a big one,’” said Diggs, the aforementioned Louisiana native who was a bit less enthusiastic about the temperatures than Alt. “I was just like, ‘I hope so.’

“First play of the game, they blocked it up well. I had the perfect opportunity to go, when I was running like, I don’t want to go down.”

(Video) FULL BROADCAST | Notre Dame vs Boston College (2022 Senior Day) | Notre Dame Football

Diggs breaking that play confirmed Notre Dame’s offensive approach. A week ago, Navy’s all-out blitzing in the second half hassled Irish quarterback Drew Pyne and stifled the run game. Initially, Freeman intended to adjust if Boston College employed a similar defensive strategy.

“One of my keys, it said, run the ball or make them pay,” Freeman said. “What happens if a team doesn’t let you run the ball, they bring nine guys into the box? You have to make them pay. They’re playing zero and they’re pressuring, you’ve got to throw the ball.”

Freeman headed to an offensive meeting with that thought process. Then he heard from offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.

“Coach Rees said something about, ‘We’re going to run the ball, there’s no other option,’” Freeman said. “I said, you know what, that’s right. So we went to the Friday night meeting, I said, listen, we’re going to run the ball and make them pay.”

Particularly in the second quarter, Notre Dame ran the ball and made Boston College pay. On 19 offensive plays, it ran 12 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

“We had to run the ball,” Freeman said. “I don’t care what they’re playing defensively. I don’t care if they brought everybody they had, similar to Navy, we’re going to have to find a way to run the ball.”

Yep, Benjamin Morrison has tied the #NotreDame record for interceptions in a game with three.
The last player to do it?
Clue: There was snow.

Harrison Smith in the 2010 Sun Bowl against Miami.

— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) November 19, 2022

(Video) Notre Dame Crush Boston College | The Irish Prepare for USC Next

Cornerback Benjamin Morrison may not be remembered for making a freshman All-American team. He could end up on thee All-American team. With five interceptions in the last two Irish home games, Morrison is now among the nation’s leaders in picks. Heading into the weekend, only Miami’s Kamren Kinchens had more interceptions with six. He did not add one this weekend.

“He finds a way, he keeps finding a way,” Freeman said. “He’s a talented young man.”

To hear Morrison walk through his interceptions, the lead-up varies. His first was during a scramble drill initiated by defensive line pressure, Morrison “plasting” himself to the receiver as he is coached. The second was an instinctual snag. The third came courtesy of a ball with a bit too much air under it, perhaps hard to see in the flurries but otherwise easy.

Inside the Irish

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Notre Dame scored on its first eight possessions. Its ninth stalled out inside the 10-yard line, a turnover on downs in the snow. Only on the 10th Irish possession did Harvard transfer punter Jon Sot get in some work.

Meanwhile, 10 of Boston College’s 11 possessions should be chalked up as failures.

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In other words, Notre Dame controlled 90.5 percent of the game. That remaining 9.5 percent was deep into garbage time, not to mention it came when Lugg would rather have been making a snow angel and Diggs would have preferred to be drinking some of the hot apple cider stashed on the sideline.

“Just fun,” Morrison said when asked to summarize the day in the snow as Notre Dame recognized 25 seniors. “To have a game like that with the seniors, not even talking about my performance, but a day like that, felt like I was a kid out there around a bunch of other grown kids. It was a fun day.”

tweet to @d_farmer


Why is Notre Dame football so popular? ›

Notre Dame has won eight wire service National Championships (AP or coaches), claims credit for 11 and is credited by many for 13. The Irish are second in winning percentage behind only Michigan, third in wins behind Michigan and Texas and have the fewest losses of any FBS program (minimum of 700 games).

Where is Notre Dame's football team ranked? ›

11Penn State994
13Notre Dame710
22 more rows

When did Notre Dame add names on jerseys? ›

1979: Nameplates for 3 of 7 home games and 2 of 4 road games. The first time ND wore nameplates was during the '70 Cotton Bowl. 1980: Only some players wearing nameplates for the 1981 Sugar Bowl. 1981 – 1985: Nameplates in all games except USC 1983 and 2nd half of USC 1985.

What is the most loved college football team? ›

Alabama's popularity is far and wide. The Crimson Tide is the most popular team in 15 states, representing in all U.S. time zones.

What makes Notre Dame so special? ›

As a top 20 national research institution, Notre Dame offers a world-class academic experience with opportunities for student research, creative pursuits, and projects that go beyond the classroom.

What is the prettiest college football stadium? ›

College Football's Top 10 Most Beautiful Stadium Settings
  • Folsom Field. 8 of 10.
  • Falcon Stadium. 7 of 10.
  • Bronco Stadium. 6 of 10.
  • 6. California Memorial Stadium. 5 of 10. ...
  • Michie Stadium. 4 of 10. ...
  • Kenan Memorial Stadium. 3 of 10. ...
  • Neyland Stadium. 2 of 10. ...
  • Sun Devil Stadium. 1 of 10. ...

Who is Notre Dame's biggest rival? ›

Due to Notre Dame's historic success, they've generated rivalries with a handful of teams in college football. The USC Trojans are the Fighting Irish's primary rival. However, Notre Dame also have rivalries against the Navy Midshipmen, the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans.

What college has the best football fans? ›

The biggest fanbase in college football resides in Columbus, Ohio. Altimore estimates that Ohio State has 11.26 million fans in all. The Buckeyes are the only team with an eight-figure fanbase in his findings.

Do they paint the Notre Dame helmets before every game? ›

You can't think about Notre Dame without thinking of gold. "Every Friday night before each home game, the helmets would be spray-painted by the student managers," Heisler said.

Why is it called Fighting Irish? ›

The Fighting Irish nickname was first coined for the Irish immigrant soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War in what became called the Irish Brigade, including three regiments from New York. Their valor was later memorialized in the poetry of Joyce Kilmer.

Who was the first black player at Notre Dame? ›

In the autumn of 1952, when Wayne Edmonds arrived at Notre Dame to study and play football, he wasn't so much daunted by the fact that the university had never had a Black player on the squad. The western Pennsylvania native was worried about his mother.

Who has the loudest stadium in college football? ›

The Seattle Times reported that the highest decibel level ever record at a college football game was 133.6 decibels played at the University of Washington at Husky Stadium in 1992.

Who is No 1 in college football? ›


Which football team has the most loyal fans? ›

A Green Bay Packers fan base leads all NFL fan bases as of 2022, followed by the Patriots, Cowboys, the Eagles, and a Steeler fan base. Most NFL fans would agree with this result, with the Eagles possibly being an exception.

What are the 3 main characteristics of the Notre Dame cathedral? ›

Notre-Dame Cathedral consists of a choir and apse, a short transept, and a nave flanked by double aisles and square chapels. Its central spire was added during restoration in the 19th century, replacing the original, which had been completely removed in the 18th century because of instability.

What is Notre Dame ranked in the world? ›

University of Notre Dame is ranked #322 in Best Global Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence. Read more about how we rank schools.

How much is Notre Dame tuition per year? ›

What is the smallest college football stadium? ›

At 16,000, the Kibbie Dome is by far the smallest football stadium among the Bowl Subdivision.

What are the toughest places to play in college football? ›

Toughest road game environments in college football

Penn State was voted as having the toughest road game environment in college football, earning 13 votes, followed by LSU and Oregon.

Which stadium has the best pitch? ›

1) Lord's London

More than 100 test matches have been played here in its history of 201 years.

Who is the oldest rivalry in college football? ›

The Yale-Princeton rivalry is the oldest in college football, dating back to 1873. Yale and Princeton dominated the college football scene when this rivalry began, with Yale claiming 13 outright national titles and Princeton claiming eight between 1869 and 1894.

What is the biggest rivalry in football history? ›

The 20 biggest football derbies
TeamsDerby nicknamBiggest win
1. Barcelona vs Real MadridEl Clásico11-1 (Real Madrid)
2. Celtic F.C. vs Rangers F.C.The Old Firm Derby7-1 (Celtic)
3. Boca Juniors vs River PlateThe Superclásico6-0 (Boca Juniors)
4. AC Milan vs Inter MilanDerby della Madonnina (Milan Derby)0-6 (AC Milan)
16 more rows
7 Sept 2022

Who is the rival of Harvard? ›

The football rivalry between Harvard and Yale is the second oldest rivalry in college football, dating back to 1875.

What is the most prestigious college football program? › Presents: The Top 15 Most Prestigious College Football Programs
3Penn State0.359580489
4Notre Dame0.355218396
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Is Notre Dame the most popular college football team? ›

The biggest fanbase in college football resides in Columbus, Ohio. Altimore estimates that Ohio State has 11.26 million fans in all. The Buckeyes are the only team with an eight-figure fanbase in his findings. Notre Dame ranks second with over 8 million fans.

Is Notre Dame football popular? ›

Notre Dame ranks second with over 8 million fans. The two programs with the biggest fanbases will go head-to-head in Week 1 of the college football season, as the Fighting Irish will head to the Horseshoe for a primetime battle on Sept. 3.

Is Notre Dame a top football school? ›

Among the teams broken down for this ranking, Notre Dame ranked ninth in win percentage, tied for ninth in total wins and tied for fifth in 10+ win seasons. Notre Dame is one of just two tier three teams to have a College Football Playoff berth under their belt (Washington).

Who has the nicest fans in college football? ›

In social media post, FOX called Texas Tech fans “THE BEST FANBASE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL.” Tech secured the win by 82,000 votes against the University of Oklahoma in the contest. This win came a few days before the Red Raiders took on Murray State in the first home game of 2022 Football season.

What football team has the largest fan base? ›

NFL teams - number of Facebook fans 2022. With 8.29 million fans, the Dallas Cowboys have the most followed National Football League team account on Facebook. Second on the list are the New England Patriots, six-time winners of the Super Bowl.

Who is the most famous football player from Notre Dame? ›

Jim Martin is one of the most accomplished players in Notre Dame history. He won three national championships and never lost a game in his four years with the Fighting Irish.

Who is now number 1 in college football? ›


What sport is Notre Dame the best at? ›

The school has a comprehensive and nationally competitive Division I athletic program, but it is most famous for its football program. Notre Dame fielded its first football team in 1887.

What is the hardest college to get into for football? ›

Ranking the 7 Hardest Schools to Recruit At
  • Iowa State. 1 of 6. The Cyclones find it tough to become a recruiting power because, for starters, their in-state rivals of Iowa get more attention than they do. ...
  • Wyoming. 2 of 6. ...
  • and 4. New Mexico and New Mexico State. ...
  • Duke. 4 of 6. ...
  • Idaho. 5 of 6.
  • Rice. 6 of 6.

What is the best d2 football school? ›

View Rankings
  • Colorado School of Mines. NCAA Division 2. ...
  • Truman State University. NCAA Division 2. ...
  • Grand Valley State University. NCAA Division 2. ...
  • Bentley University. NCAA Division 2. ...
  • Augustana University - South Dakota. NCAA Division 2. ...
  • University of West Florida. ...
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania. ...
  • Ashland University.


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