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Saturday, May 25, 2024
The Observer

Four key moments from Notre Dame’s Dublin demolition in season opener against Navy

Notre Dame-Navy
Sam Hartman looks to the sideline during Notre Dame's 42-3 win over Navy at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on Aug. 26, 2023.
Graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman looks to the sideline during Notre Dame's 42-3 win over Navy at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on Aug. 26, 2023.

The No. 13 Notre Dame football team made an impressive opening statement in their season-opener Saturday afternoon. The Irish throttled Navy at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, beating up on the Midshipmen. Here are some of the most important developments from the most lopsided game of the Marcus Freeman era.

1. Irish set the tone with methodical opening touchdown drive

The Irish offense was led by graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman and junior running back Audric Estime. The two led Notre Dame down the field in an opening drive that had Irish fans on their feet cheering. Hartman went 3-for-4 for 48 yards and Estime ran for 29 yards and a touchdown. His biggest play, though, was a 22-yard reception on a critical third down and 12 that could have stalled the offense.

Hartman’s consistent play throughout the game opened up extensive options and a level of excitement that was missing from last season. Staying focused on this mindset gave the Irish an attitude that proved unstoppable.

2. Defense notches a near-shut out

After a failed fourth down attempt on their opening drive, Navy turned the ball over on downs to Notre Dame on the Irish 37. Once again, Notre Dame turned a possession into seven points. This time it was sophomore running back Jadarian Price who found the end zone. While the Irish defense didn’t cause a turnover during the game, they didn’t allow a touchdown and kept Navy frustrated for four quarters. Several sacks at the end of the game showed the ability to make big play, especially the first, by sophomore defensive lineman Joshua Burnham.

3. Hartman proves he can pass, receivers showcase depth

Irish fans finally got to see Sam Hartman’s arm in a real game. He lived up to the hype. After completing passes of 19 and 17 yards on Notre Dame’s third drive to junior wide receivers Jayden Thomas and Deion Colzie, respectively, Hartman connected with freshman Jaden Greathouse for a 35-yard score to put the Irish ahead 21-0.

Five players had over 20 yards receiving yards and eight players caught at least one pass for the Irish. Greathouse hauled in a second touchdown at the end of the game, continuing on the promise he showed during the Blue-Gold game in the spring. His development will be exciting to watch throughout the season.

4. Irish dominate both halves, march to biggest season-opening margin since 2012

Hartman led Notre Dame on a clinical two-minute drive after a missed Navy field goal. The 80-yard march culminated in a 14-yard touchdown reception by Thomas for 14 yards. The Irish went into the locker room with a 28-point lead and no shortage of momentum. That continued into the second half, along with Navy’s uninspiring offensive plays. Six plays after forcing a punt, Hartman found Greathouse, from 20 yards away, for his second touchdown of the game.

After another Irish touchdown, this time by Colzie, the starters were pulled with a few minutes left in the game. It was all over except for the shouting before the fourth quarter even began. The final score was 42-3 Notre Dame. That is Notre Dame’s biggest season-opening margin of victory since the last time they played in Dublin, when they smashed Navy 50-10 at Aviva Stadium in 2012. The Irish finished with 459 total yards of offense and only allowed Navy 169 yards.