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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Goals and glory: Estime shines in NC State rain delay, looks forward to season ahead

Irish running back Audric Estime carries the ball during Notre Dame’s 35-14 victory over Clemson on Oct. 5.

Nothing, not even Mother Nature herself, could stop sophomore running back Audric Estime in Saturday’s game at North Carolina State.

For the second consecutive game — and the fifth occasion in his career — Estime clocked over 100 rushing yards, most of which came from his show-stopping 80-yard touchdown effort immediately following a nearly two-hour-long rain delay. It was the play that set the tone for the rest of the matchup, not only acting as a catalyst for his teammates, but also shattering his own record for the longest rush of his career.

Head Coach Marcus Freeman commented on this aggressive restart, noting that he has tried to instill that drive into his team in the week leading up to the game.

“Just come out and go and do your job. Like, who cares how the game started? Who cares about the two-hour delay? Let’s go out there and play ball and you know be aggressive as heck,” Freeman said. “I wanted our guys with the mentality we’re not going to play passive. We’re going to be just as aggressive as any team we face.”

Estime certainly took this message to heart. Commenters jokingly attributed his success to the hot dogs served to the players during the break. Regardless of whether the mid-game meal had anything to do with the running back’s success, the fact of the matter is that that success continuously proves to be a cornerstone of the Notre Dame offense. Estime named his fellow teammates and coaches as vital to his ability to make those plays. 

“[The touchdown] was just a result of everyone staying ready and our offensive line doing their job, and Coach Parker calling the right play,” Estime said. “We didn’t know when we were going to play, if we were going to be able to play … we just got to make plays like that happen.”

Looking ahead to even more daunting opponents on the schedule — namely Ohio State and USC — Estime is taking it one week at a time. He noted that each week, regardless of who they face, is about reaching their individual and team potentials.

“We just focus on every week, reaching our full potential no matter who the opponent is,” he said. “This game kind of gave us a test. We faced a lot of adversity, but we just had to respond. And this team showed that we’re able to respond well in times under pressure, and that’s something that we needed for down the line.”

Part of the work Estime does each week is physically writing down his personal goals. For the game against NC State, one off the list was to have a 60-plus-yard run, which he completed and then some. He commented on the feeling of having that dedication pay off and how he can continue this practice throughout the season.

“It feels great. I have goals every week. I speak it into existence, but that doesn’t happen without the work. So every Monday through Friday, we’re working as a team,” he said. “Offense is preparing the defense, the defensive preparing the offense and you just got to keep on working.”

That offensive coordination comes under the leadership of Sam Hartman, who had previously played against NC State during his time at Wake Forest. Estime commented on his quarterback’s experience in the stadium and how they added a win to his checkered record against the Wolfpack.

“He played great,” Estime said. “He’s a great player, a great leader for this team. He’s a person who likes to share success with everyone on the team. He likes to see everyone have success and everyone eat, and that’s something that is huge in a quarterback. He’s a great leader, and he’s just leading us in the right direction. I’m really, really looking forward to it.”

With strong leadership and camaraderie, Estime has his sights set on the rest of the season and continuing that success. Should his written goals continue to deliver as they have, Irish fans can expect great things from the running back.

“I’m gonna keep setting those goals. And I’m gonna keep on striving to reach it,” he said. “But if I fall short, it’s alright. Just the next week, one game, one life.”

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