Did Marcus Freeman and Notre Dame blow their best chance at a CFP berth? | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Ross Dellenger, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde hop on the College Football Enquirer to discuss Notre Dame’s disappointing loss to Ohio State on the final play of the game on Saturday, and talk about Marcus Freeman’s terrible coaching decision to play the final two plays with 10 men on the field.

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Video Transcript


DAN WETZEL: Notre Dame had this thing. They had it. They had it. They had it. And they've lost six straight to Ohio State, everybody loses to Ohio State pretty much.

There's just only so many opportunities to have that night and they had the game won. Their defense played so well. Sam Hartman was good enough. The offense was good enough. They're sitting there with that lead 14-10 and they give them too much time.

They get the ball back. They almost-- They get these two first downs too quickly. That didn't help. They would have been better off gaining 9 yards and then plunging over. Everything went bad at the end.

Ohio State gets the ball to get down to the end and Notre Dame has two men on the field for the final two plays. The first one is a pass breakup and then the second one, of course, is the plunge over the goal line with one second. Now, I was watching with some other people and we couldn't-- Needless to say, we did not assume, we didn't count players because why would you ever think there's only 10 people on the field?

I don't know if Ohio State knew and that's why they didn't sub because then Notre Dame could have subbed. I'd like to know that. But we looked at that defensive formation like they're going to run it right there.


Like where there's no defensive tackle. Right, it's like if he throws another pass he should get fired. All time coaching gaffe.


DAN WETZEL: I'm sorry. Egregious. Marcus Freeman would be a likable guy, that is just ri-- 10 for two plays and then he says we knew about it, we didn't want to take a penalty.

Now, they love-- they love analytics, but there can't be an analytic that says you're more likely to stop from the one with 10 guys then the half yard line with 11. Take the penalty and get short yardage. Defense, it was-- I don't understand the explanation. I don't understand how the failure happens.

I don't understand any of it, Pat.

PAT FORDE: No, and the other thing-- And this was where, again, I think Ryan Day was a little excessive in the celebration of his team's toughness. They barely got that yard against 10 guys running right over the absent player.

ROSS DELLENGER: About 3 or 4 inches.

DAN WETZEL: The Holy Ghost.


DAN WETZEL: If they had stopped him, that would have been gone down in Notre Dame lore. The Holy Ghost.



Somebody said-- Somebody tweeted they put it in the-- they put it in the Lord's hands. They put it in the Lord's hands.

PAT FORDE: Well, the Lord's not big enough to be a run stopper, I'm afraid.

DAN WETZEL: No. The Holy Ghost that turned out to be a 303 pound nose guard. I don't know. I don't know what.

PAT FORDE: Yeah. No, I mean it was, like you said, it was a great game. It was so fiercely contested. Great atmosphere. And then it was just kind of this cacophony of what the hell's going on.

What are they doing? Why did they do that? Why didn't they do that? And then what did Ryan Day say? Like everything just blew up at the very end.

DAN WETZEL: For Notre Dame it's another close, but no. And I'll tell you if they had beaten that, they'd beaten Ohio State, they had real playoff chance.

PAT FORDE: Self-inflicted really. I mean, give Ohio State credit for battling, but the way Notre Dame finished that game was just a disaster.