Two weeks. Two blowout wins. What’s not to like? Sure, Irish fans will find areas the team needs to further develop before the Buckeyes’ impending visit. But overall, Notre Dame fans have to love what they’ve seen so far out of the team. This week wasn’t quite as clean as last week’s performance, but the Irish still took over the game and dominated Tennessee St. 56-3.
The defense has yet to allow a touchdown. Sam Hartman is, dare I say, perhaps even better than advertised. This team is getting deeper, more athletic, and faster than it was ever physically capable of being under Brian Kelly. It’s not a finished product, but Notre Dame is building itself differently. In a more modern way. Freeman’s vision is starting to come to fruition.
Next week comes the first big test. NC State will provide the Irish with a much more physically capable foe than the initial two opponents could. Let’s examine three things I know about the Irish entering this crucial week.
Sam Hartman played only the first half Saturday. He was 14/17 for 194 yards, 2 TDs passing, and one acrobat flip on another. It’s just such a bizarre, comforting new feeling for Notre Dame fans to have a quarterback they truly trust. He’s been great so far.
10 Different players caught passes in the first half. All of the five backs contributed. Multiple tight ends got involved. This offense is still building towards clicking on all cylinders but has been better than anyone expected through two games.
No Touchdowns Allowed
I thought Notre Dame tackled better vs. Navy than they did against Tennessee St. That being said, it’s hard to find much to complain about when the defensive unit hasn’t given up a touchdown in 2 full games. That’s solid, winning football by starters and backups.
I’m very interested in seeing how Notre Dame’s defense operates against NC State. This will be their first big physical and athletic test. How will they hold up against the run? Will they be able to apply pressure on the quarterback? I’d like to have an idea before Ohio State rolls into South Bend.
One of the big storylines surrounding the Irish this past off-season was the discussion about Freeman’s head coaching capabilities. So far so good the first two weeks. I’ve felt that the operation both weeks has seemed to be very efficient. The staff seems organized, prepared, and well coordinated for games.
Both of these statements can be true at the same time. Notre Dame hasn’t played very good teams. The Irish have looked really good. Enjoy these relaxing second halves while you can Notre Dame fans, the road soon gets much rougher.
More Notre Dame-Tennessee State Reaction: