Notre Dame’s Secondary: A Force to be Reckoned with in 2023
As we entered 2023, there was a palpable buzz surrounding Notre Dame’s football secondary. This squad boasted a star in Benjamin Morrison—a consensus freshman-All American who consistently improved with every game during his rookie season. He was ably backed by veteran Cam Hart, marking the start of a potentially formidable duo.
Strength in Depth and Experience
What set this secondary apart was its rich blend of youth and experience, making it one of Notre Dame’s strongest units. With the addition of Oklahoma State transfer Thomas Harper, Notre Dame’s secondary appeared to be in excellent shape. A major strength of this unit was its continuity, given the combined 14 years of experience in the starting rotation.
First Test for Irish Secondary
However, up until now, all the hype had been just that—a buzz. The first real test for the Irish defensive backfield came in a showdown against North Carolina State. In a game where the Irish offense struggled, containing Wolfpack quarterback Brennan Armstrong proved to be a crucial aspect of Notre Dame’s game plan.
Irish Defense Rises to the Occasion
The Irish defensive backs answered the call effectively, limiting Armstrong to just 22 completions from 47 attempts. As the game progressed and the pressure mounted, Xavier Watts stepped up with a crucial interception in the fourth quarter, deflating the Wolfpack’s momentum and boosting Notre Dame’s chances of winning.
Capitalizing on Opportunities
Watts’ interception turned out to be a turning point and gave Notre Dame’s offense the spark they needed to get back in the game. In the next series, DJ Brown read an Armstrong throw accurately and secured his first interception of the season, further tipping the balance in Notre Dame’s favor.
Challenges Moving Forward
With high-profile games against Ohio State and USC on the horizon, Notre Dame’s secondary will need to maintain their top form to guarantee success for the team. This unit’s performance against NC State serves as an encouraging sign of what they can achieve when they play to their potential.
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