While Ohio State running back Chip Trayanum and the rest of the Buckeyes deserve a lot of credit for the game-winning touchdown in Saturday night’s top-10 clash against Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish deserve a lot of blame for what happened.
Because while Ohio State’s offense executed the game-winning drive well, two mental blunders from Notre Dame made things easier for the Buckeyes.
Shortly after the game, screenshots of Trayanum’s winning touchdown circulated online. The Fighting Irish lined up with only 10 men on the field.
Notre Dame had 10 players on the final play.. pic.twitter.com/RVtyfGLO86
— OddsStack (@OddsStack) September 24, 2023
And as bad as that is, it gets worse.
Notre Dame also had 10 men on the field on the previous play, which was an incomplete pass. Making matters worse, that was coming out of a time-out.
Notre Dame also had 10 men on the field on the play before Ohio State's touchdown. And that was coming out of a time out. pic.twitter.com/O4AV7tK8LY
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 24, 2023
As one might expect, Notre Dame and more specifically, the Notre Dame coaching staff, was widely criticized for these blunders.
It's hard to grasp how Notre Dame's staff could have allowed this to happen on back-to-back plays in the biggest moment of the season. Inexcusable. https://t.co/A1kJ23uu3t
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) September 24, 2023
Just got to the car… there’s no way.
There’s absolutely no way.
HOW CAN YOU LET THAT HAPPEN https://t.co/rZGI233lLl
— Notre Dame Recruiting (@NDrecruiting01) September 24, 2023
The Marcus Freeman honeymoon is officially over. https://t.co/MyQSCdWjF9
— John Casper Jr. (@johncasperjr) September 24, 2023
— Mike BerardinoNDI (@MikeBerardino) September 24, 2023
Ohio State’s coach is preening around about their toughness because they finally got a stinking yard when they needed it…against 10 guys…LOL… https://t.co/N0YKtlaBuA
— Aaron Goldhammer (@HammerNation19) September 24, 2023
Gave up a 4th and 7, a 3rd and 19 and dropped a game-sealing INT on the final drive. Other than that, clean finish. https://t.co/Zo8GiJeSse
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) September 24, 2023
After the game, Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman was asked about having 10 men on the field for Trayanum’s touchdown run. Freeman acknowledged that he saw that his team was short-handed and the Fighting Irish were trying to get an extra defensive lineman on the field. But realizing it would likely result in a penalty and that Notre Dame didn’t have a time-out remaining, the coach opted to play with 10 men.
Freeman did acknowledge that “It’s on us and we’ve got to be better.”
"We were trying to get a 4th D-lineman on the field, and I told him just stay off… I didn't have any timeouts, right? So we couldn't afford a penalty there."
– Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman on having only 10 players on the field for final play pic.twitter.com/Fqtp7oqz0Z
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 24, 2023
It’s one thing to lose because the other team’s 11 players were better than yours. But when such an obvious mental mistake contributes to the loss, it’s significantly worse.