Notre Dame has not lost in November since 2017. He has not lost in the regular season to an opponent from the ACC since 2016. A September loss to Marshall and an October loss to Stanford don’t let this weekend’s clash with Boston College (3-7) be overlooked. , but as the Eagles ride out the flu wave and piecemeal unite their remaining offensive linemen in front of their backup quarterback, The main lessons of this weekend’s Day of the Elderly may not be known for years to come.
No. 18 Notre Dame (7-3) will name 25 senior players ahead of kickoff Saturday (2:30 AM ET; NBC), and while a couple of them may return to South Bend next season, the most the big names are heading to the NFL. or their post-football life. These are also the names that were most talked about when the Irish needed a new head coach some 50 weeks ago.
Yes, Marcus Freeman at this point in charge of Notre Dame for only 50 weeks. Yes, it felt like a lot longer, the natural tangled flow of time in college football.
After Brian Kelly threw the entire Irish football program into disarray less than 48 hours after the end of the 2021 regular season, Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick turned to these Irish seniors for advice on their next head coach. They spoke and then went to Freeman’s opening press conference right behind his family.
Jarrett Patterson turned down a possible third or fourth round NFL draft pick to not only return to South Bend, but switch positions to help the team and only potentially help his draft.
“I am forever indebted to Jarrett Patterson,” Freeman said Thursday. “He’s a great captain and a great leader of our program.”
Patterson is in direct competition with Year 5 linebacker Bo Bauer and Year 6 wide receiver. Avery Davis, all captains – Patterson and Davis, effectively two-time captains – will be the last recognized seniors before kick-off on Saturday. Another thing all three have in common is seasonal injuries. An anterior cruciate ligament tear in August ended Davis’ career, and an October knee injury halted Bauer’s path to Notre Dame’s career game record. Patterson managed to survive the injury, most notably a sprained foot in August that sidelined him in his first game of the year and still hampers him to this day. He joked earlier this season that his shoes might be the most expensive in the Notre Dame area as they have ample support built into his foot.
“I would say [Patterson] is a real iron man,” said Freeman. “Just a guy who struggled with injuries, multiple injuries, before I even got here. He continued to sacrifice his body. He continues to work and play at such a high level.
“To this day, he’s not 100 percent. He has been injured all season. He just goes out, trains and plays. He could very well be the guy who says I won’t play, wait for the NFL and save my body.”
Davis, Bauer, and Patterson are the most obvious incarnations of Freeman’s debut campaign. They advocated hiring him to continue the culture in the Irish dressing room, and then their injuries slowly lowered expectations on the pitch. Without Davis, Notre Dame’s receiver was forced to include two depths. each name on the list of scholarships. Bauer may not have stopped the Irish from failing at Stanford, but the loss of the most experienced player in the roster that week didn’t help matters.
And Patterson’s public show of frustration after losing to Marshall in Week 2 summed up Notre Dame’s season to that date and highlighted how hard he’s worked to play through injury.
“The frustration he showed after Marshall is what any participant would expect to lose a game where you don’t feel like you should lose,” Freeman said. “He is a great leader. He was emotional after a tough loss, but he’s also a guy who can lift others’ game and lift their mentality.”
In this way, Davis, Bauer and Patterson will be the names best remembered this season if Freeman finds long-term success in his first head coaching job.
Again, they were part of a group of leaders who so loudly and publicly demanded the hiring of Freeman. And now they have given the most, in a literal physical sense, this season.
There were others, of course. Josh Lagg returned for a sixth season because he felt it was his duty to mentor Notre Dame’s young offensive linemen. Braden Lenzi responded to this week’s praise for his outrageous haul last week by smiling as he pointed out how much he’s enjoyed this entire season, his blocking role recognizing the perks of attending such a prestigious university. Jason Ademilola has a habit of not only covering his body with “FTB” – which means “For the Brotherhood” – on game day, but also looking for Freeman at the most important moments of the game and insisting that he has it.
When BYU threatened to end the offensive in the second half in Las Vegas, it was Ademilola and the senior quarterback. And Priest-Mensah which unsuccessfully stopped a fourth and one tug.
“This is the guy who, when things go wrong, always comes and grabs me: “Coach, I understand you,” Freeman said after the victory with a score of 28:20. “He did it last year, he does it this year and he shows up at the most important moments.
“You can’t say enough about the kind of guy you know, in the most important moments you can rely on him. He will take care of playing.”
Aside from Saturday’s likely victory, it’s on these names that Freeman’s tenure will be built. None of the mentioned names should return in 2023 – Lenzi and Patterson might, but that would be a surprise; Osafo-Mensah was only mentioned to describe the game, it should be back – but their influence will be felt more than most high schoolers.
It was a class that stood up after the best coach in Notre Dame’s history left town after a hastily scheduled 7:00 a.m. meeting. They asked for votes in choosing his replacement, and they responded to a three-loss streak to start Freeman’s tenure with seven wins in eight weeks, including a decidedly disappointing then-No. 4 Clemson.
Bauer narrated the promotional video on social media this week, and it appropriately focuses on seniors by seniors by seniors.
“We chose Notre Dame,” Bauer said. “We have chosen a job. We chose growth. We chose hard. Again and again and again. Because it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
“We chose love. We chose to trust. We have chosen this place. We chose this family. We chose Notre Dame.”
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) November 18, 2022
And they chose Freeman. Whatever his tenure, he will return to the choices these seniors made in the most chaotic week of their football lives.
For profile each the only senior on the list, scroll through today’s Observer.
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Today’s edition of the Irish Insider includes:
— Observer (@NDSMCObserver) November 18, 2022
The second half of Boston College’s Notre Dame rout will always lack intrigue, thanks to the 18th Irishman (8-3) leading 37-0 at halftime. The blinding snow at least brought some fun to South Bend as Notre Dame watched his stride across the slippery turf, holding back a blowout by just 44-0.
In the same week as the 30th anniversary of the Snow Bowl victory over Penn State, the Eagles (3–8) presented no such drama. Their defensive line was shattered with every Irish run in the first half since Logan Diggs“Walking 51 yards on the first snap after a fight. Their offensive line — seasonal weakness brought on by injury and exacerbated this week by their overall fight against the flu — dropped four bags, including Notre Dame Sr. Isaiah Foskybecame the 25th player in his career, breaking Justin Tuck’s Irish record.
The only thing that could slow down Notre Dame was the snow that covered the field in the third quarter, making it difficult to see both on the air and from the stands, the players noticeably chopped steps to avoid slipping and sliding too far. This is the sixth snow match in Notre Dame stadium history and the Irish now lead 6-0 on these optically stunning occasions.
Three different Notre Dame running backs found the end zone in the first half, with sophomore Audric Estimé adding a second in the third quarter, highlighting Irish dominance in the fast-paced game. Notre Dame finished with 281 yards over Boston…