Remaining winless (albeit limited sample size) as Notre Dame coach, Marcus Freeman will lead the Fighting Irish into their home opener Saturday against the Thundering Herd of Marshall. The Fighting Irish came out of their season opening loss to Ohio State rueing missed opportunities, but now have a chance to fix some of those issues against a lesser opponent.
“I think you have to look at the game and learn from all those different opportunities that you had to execute,” Freeman said. “How do we make sure that in those opportunities we are able to get points?”
Better quarterback play is a good place to start as Tyler Buchner looked shaky against a good Ohio State defense.
The Thundering Herd had a rousing opener to their season, 55 points against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe Norfolk State. Marshall won’t be able to use much from that game against the Fighting Irish, but they did get to use much of their roster.
Ethan Payne and Khalan Laborn each went over 100 yards on the ground. The Thundering Herd finished with 380 rushing yards in the rout, 7.6 yards per carry.
“We got the opportunity to play a lot of guys, which doesn’t always happen,” second-year coach Charles Huff said. “Sometimes these guys will work all camp and then don’t touch the field. It was good for them to get in.”
Notre Dame is 7-0 against the college football spread in its last seven games as a favorite.
Marshall is 1-4 against the odds in its last five games after scoring 40 or more points in their previous game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Freeman hasn’t had the best beginning to his tenure as head coach after replacing Brian Kelly, the winningest coach in Notre Dame history. With a defensive meltdown in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State last January, the Fighting Irish didn’t have much of an answer on offense or defense against Ohio State.
They limited one of the leading Heisman Trophy candidates, quarterback C.J. Stroud, to 223 passing yards and just seven points in the first two quarters. However, Ohio State was able to put together long touchdown drives in the second half to overcome a 10-7 deficit, including a 95-yarder to seal the win.
“How do we make sure that when the game is on the line and we’re down four (points), a team doesn’t drive the field 95 yards and score a touchdown,” Freeman said “There are plays all over the place you can learn about execution and how we prepare better as coaches and execute when it matters most.” Notre Dame has a few weeks to figure it out, opposing California and North Carolina before a neutral-site game with BYU.
Marshall Thundering Herd
Quarterback Henry Colombi had a solid debut leading the Thundering Herd, with 24-of-26 pass completions. The Redshirt senior had been around, spending two years at Utah State and two more at Texas Tech before ending at Marshall in hopes of landing a full-time gig as the starter. The Florida native probably won’t get much done against the Irish defense, but should be more than serviceable in the Sun Belt. “Henry played really efficiently,” Huff said. “That was the biggest boost of confidence.” Talik Keaton had eight receptions (71 yards) in the opener.
Marshall vs Notre Dame Injury Report
Notre Dame linebacker Bo Bauer left the opener due to an unspecified injury and is questionable for this game.
Marshall vs Notre Dame Head-to-Head
The Fighting Irish have never faced Marshall or a team from the Sun Belt, the conference the Herd moved to this season. Dating to 2017, Notre Dame is 11-1 against non-Power Conference teams, a lone loss against Cincinnati.
Marshall vs Notre Dame Game Information
- Game: Marshall vs Notre Dame
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
- Day/Time: Saturday, Sept. 10th, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Marshall vs Notre Dame Live Stream: ESPN
Marshall vs Notre Dame Betting Lines
Marshall vs Notre Dame Prediction
The Fighting Irish will use as a chance to get their running game in order, as they averaged just 2.5 yards per carry against Ohio State. Look for both Chris Tyree and Audric Estime to go over 100 yards on the ground as the Fighting Irish easily cover the spread.