College Football Pick’em
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If there’s been a theme through the first two weeks of Notre Dame’s 2022 season, it’s that its offense has struggled mightily. And first-year coach Marcus Freeman is paying dearly for it. A stunning upset loss at home to Marshall puts the Fighting Irish at 0-2 on the season and Freeman at 0-3 to start his career in South Bend, Indiana.
Historically speaking, it’s the worst start for any Fighting Irish coach — and there have been 24 of them in 116 years — over a long, storied run.
While nothing will make Notre Dame fans feel good about losing their home opener as a three-touchdown favorite, it might have stung a bit less if the Irish held on to beat Ohio State last week … or if they hadn’t blown that lead against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl to end last season. But they didn’t.
At the core of the problem is offense. After managing only 10 points and 253 yards against Ohio State, it followed up with 21 points and 351 yards against Marshall, but the final seven points came with 15 seconds left and Marshall was already celebrating on the sideline.
Quarterback Tyler Buchner threw for 201 yards, but both of his touchdowns came on the ground. In the air, he threw two interceptions and has yet to throw a passing touchdown. It wouldn’t matter as much if Notre Dame could run the ball, but an offensive line that was supposed to be a strength has looked like a weakness; the Irish averaged only 2.53 yards per rush against Ohio State and improved slightly to 3.51 yards per rush against Marshall.
If there’s any consolation, the Irish defense played well again despite three turnovers putting it into bad situations.
Marcus Freeman has coached three games and lost every one of them. Now, the Irish are 0-2 for the first time since 2011 when they finished 8-5 in Brian Kelly’s second season. If Notre Dame is going to rebound from this start, it needs to figure it out on the offensive end quickly. If it doesn’t, Freeman could easily become the first Notre Dame coach to start 0-4, too.
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