The five hidden plays that dictated Notre Dame’s win against NC State

Notre Dame football’s 45-24 win over NC State won’t look as competitive as the game actually was.

It was another solid victory for the Irish, even though they gave up a season high in points. Those big plays weren’t the only ones that helped the Irish get the victory, there were some smaller plays that did as well.

These are those plays, the ones that won’t end up on highlight reels, but were just as important to the outcome as touchdowns or takeaways. Find out below which five hidden plays that helped Notre Dame defeat NC State on the road for win No. 3.

1st quarter, 8:45 left on the clock


The Irish on their first offensive series is facing a 3rd-and-10 after two incomplete passes by Sam Hartman. He once again drops back to look to push the ball down the field, but nothing is there. Hartman finds a running lane and picks up 16-yards giving Notre Dame the first down. They’d finish the drive with the first points of the game, going up 3-0 on a Spencer Shrader field goal.

2nd quarter, 1:25 left on the clock


The Irish have their backs against the goal line and head coach Marcus Freeman has opted to start using timeouts. The move paid off, even though the Wolfpack found the end zone. Freeman’s rationale was trying to save his offense enough time to score a touchdown of their own, which they would 3 plays later, making this move look fantastic from the second-year coach.

3rd quarter, 11:23 left on the clock


The Irish had taken the momentum into the locker room and with NC State getting the ball first in the second half, they could have changed that. They moved the ball to just past midfield and on 3rd-and-5, a pass went incomplete. The Wolfpack looked like they were going to go for it, but after a timeout, changed their mind and punted. The Irish wouldn’t do anything on their next drive, but it still was a big stop for the defense.

3rd quarter, 1:30 left on the clock


The Irish just lost the ball on a Hartman fumble, putting the defense in a very bad position. They responded and face a 3rd-and-15 and defensive coordinator Al Golden played it safe. He rushed only three, dropping every back and let his defense go to work. They’d stop Wolfpack quarterback Brennan Armstrong for a short gain on a scramble, and the Wolfpack would miss a 34-yard field goal on the next play.

4th quarter, 7:38 left on the clock


With time against them, NC State needed to push the envelope as they were close to midfield. On a 4th-and-5, the Wolfpack dropped back to try and throw for the first. It was a good play call, but they came up a yard short, giving the ball back to the Irish. This turnover on downs was essentially the game, as Notre Dame would run down the clock, putting the game out of reach and sealing a win.

[lawrence-auto-related count=3]

Contact/Follow us @IrishWireND on X (Formerly Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Notre Dame news, notes, and opinions.

Follow Mike on X: @MikeFChen

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire