Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

Key moments from Notre Dame’s Sun Bowl victory

1703884305-4298bd1983df78b-700x427
Ryan Romero for The Observer


In its Sun Bowl win against Oregon State, Notre Dame was able to closely, if not perfectly, adhere to its ideal gameplan. Interim offensive coordinator Gino Guidugli stuck to the run while also allowing sophomore quarterback Steve Angeli to get creative, finding receivers both short and long. Most of Notre Dame’s success came from forcing Oregon State to make a handful of errors, solidifying the Irish’s ride off into the sun.

1. Stopping Oregon State’s Fake Punt

Down 7-0 with 3 minutes left in the second quarter, Oregon State elected to fake a punt at its own 49-yard line. The Beavers’ Jesiah Irish caught the snap and found himself immediately surrounded by Irish defenders. In his postgame press conference, Marcus Freeman commented that before the play, special teams coach Marty Biagi commented that something looked suspicious, causing the Irish to utilize a spy.

After obtaining the ball, Notre Dame took up much of the remaining clock, ending in a touchdown. The fourth-down stop was one of the highlights for Marty Biagi’s unit, which played well throughout the year, albeit without much of the flash it saw in 2022.

2. Angeli Connects with Jordan Faison

While not one single moment, Angeli found wide receiver Jordan Faison for his longest pass of the game. On the game’s first drive, Angeli found Faison for a 55-yard pass; the drive ended with a touchdown. In the third quarter, Angeli found Faison up the middle for a touchdown. Faison ended the day with 115 yards on five catches. He was named the Sun Bowl MVP.

As a true freshman with excellent size and mobility, he looks to be a legitimate asset for Riley Leonard and Mike Denbrock next year.

3. Angeli’s (Recovered) Fumble

Angeli had some nice runs in the game, including a 17-yard run in the third quarter that ended with Angeli lowering his shoulder and embracing contact. He ended with 27 rushing yards. At the same time, his runs left coaches and fans worried, as he slid twice but was open to contact, to say the least.

In the second quarter, Angeli scrambled on second down, hurdling over a defender, simultaneously losing the ball. Although the ball was recovered, Angeli’s decision to sacrifice himself and the ball was unnecessarily risky, looking similar to other situations that have taken quarterbacks out of the game.

4. Howard Cross’s Drive-Ending Sack

Howard Cross has had a great year for the Irish, especially in the team’s win against Duke. In somewhat of a surprise move, the graduate student announced that he would return for a final campaign in 2024. Cross tied the ribbon on his penultimate year with a massive third-down sack, pushing Oregon State back 10 yards and forcing them to punt. The Irish got the ball at Oregon State’s 40-yard line and scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

5. Notre Dame’s First Safety of the Season

Freshman linebacker Drayk Bowen made an endzone tackle to give Notre Dame two points and the ball. Before the safety, Notre Dame unsuccessfully ran the ball on fourth down, giving Oregon State the ball at the one-yard line. Notre Dame’s last safety was in the 2022 Las Vegas Shamrock Series against BYU.

Sign up for our Observer Sports newsletter!Have an Irish sports question? Ask it for our Observer Sports mailbag!