Game 4 Recap: Ohio State 17 – Notre Dame 14


Have we all come back to earth yet? What a game, what a moment, and what a relief for Buckeye Nation. It wasn’t just the fans that heard all of the criticisms and naysayers (looking at you Lou Holtz) that doubted this team going into the game, and called them soft. Ryan Day heard it too, and boy did he let his passion show at the end of a breathtaking finish to a game that could arguably be the best of the season so far between two of the best teams in the country. 
Even with the win, it is safe to say that the Buckeye defense has taken a step forward, and some of the criticisms of the teams physicality are still yet to be answered after getting pushed at the line of scrimmage for the second half of the game.  But on this night, it was enough to get the win, and at the end of the day, that is what mattered. For Ohio State, to get the win with areas to improve is a great thing, and they get this week and next week to work on those opportunities and get ready to jump back into Big Ten play after finishing their non conference slate without blemish. For Notre Dame, they have a gamer in Sam Hartman, and they have the opportunity with their schedule to make some noise and still get a shot at the playoff if they can go undefeated the rest of the way. 
You have to love football right? Especially for games and moments like the one last night. And like Ryan Day said, it wasn’t a pretty game, but it is Ohio Against the World, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 
Kyle McCord passed for 21 of 37 for 240 yards, no touchdowns, but more importantly no interceptions. The Irish defensive gave him some pressure at moments, but he foundways to make plays with his legs, avoiding trouble. It wasn’t a perfect game, and he had some completions and yardage taken away, but when he needed to step up on that last drive, he made the plays he needed, and that is what mattered 
The running back rotation involded only 3 players, and that is being generous. I don’t know if Miyan Williams is not 100%, but he only got 1 carry on a 4th down run that got stopped. TreVeyon Henderson showed flashes of what made him a top running back recruit, he had 14 carries for 104 yards and out rushed everyone for a touchdown on the Buckeyes first 3rd quarter possession. Chip Trayanum got 6 carries 13 yards, and the 13th yard yard was the clinching yard with 3 seconds to go as he punched it into the end zone. 
Emeka Egbuka was the top receiver for Ohio State this game with 7 catches for 96 yards. He came up clutch all throughout the game, and set up the Buckeyes for the last 2 plays at the one yard line after a long catch that saved the drive after an intentional grounding. Cade Stover made some good catches, including a tipped ball, and finished also with 7 catches, for 52 yards. Marvin Harrison Jr got hurt as a blocker on Henderson’s 61 yard touchdown run, but later came back into the game. He finished with 3 catches for 32 yards, in spite of being double covered and bracketed all game. 

Turning Point

A moment that felt like it was the end for Ohio State was the failed fourth down play as they were trying to get a scoring drive in Notre Dame territory after trailing 10-14, and it was the second failed 4th down conversion on the night. Giving the ball back to the Irish, who had scored their last two drives with running the ball on sustained drives, the optimism for Buckeye Nation was all but gone, and memories of the Georgia Peach Bowl, and the last two Michigan games couldn’t help but resurfaced. And then, there was life. The Buckeye defense stopped the Irish on a 5 play drive that chewed 2 minutes and 46 seconds, giving the Buckeyes the ball back with one more chance to win. 65 yards, 1 minutes and 25 seconds, and a go ahead touchdown from Chip Trayanum running into the end zone for a touchdown where a missing Irish defensive lineman should have been. History made, and a sigh of relief.

Star of the Game

Emeka Egbuka. This game, there were a lot of options based on individual performances in a game where every inch mattered, but Egbuka made the plays to help set up Ohio State in this win, especially on the last drive for the go ahead touchdown. We can almost forgive his drop which would have been a touchdown, but with Marvin Harrison Jr blanketed for most of the game, and hurt, Egbuka became the best target for McCord.

Playoff Picture

The game wasn’t pretty, but a win on the road against a top 10 team while you are breaking in your new quarterback while your defense has been playing as great as it has been in the last 5 year, this win has to feel pretty good for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. Now, they go into a bye week to rest, get Marvin Harrison Jr rest, who was injured in the third quarter on the Henderson touchdown run, and give Kyle McCord extra practice to work on his timing. Outside of maybe Washington though, there has not been a dominant team so far this year, but this is a great year for a lot of teams ot make a playoff push. Penn State, Michigan, and Maryland are all undefeated, and the Terrapins have a good chance to be 5-0 heading into Columbus. The SEC looks like Georgia and that is about it as a lot of 1 loss teams are trying to keep their season hopes alive. The PAC-12 will be interesting to see as the top teams will start to play each other soon, and I think the Oregon-Washington winner on October 14th will give that conference some clarity. Florida State survived their last toughest test on their schedule and have a good chance to be 12-0 going into the ACC Championship Game. Meanwhile in the Big 12, the Red River Shootout might be repeated in the championship as Texas and Oklahoma are both undefeated, and seem to be the cream of the crop for that conference. But hey, its September 24th, and there is so much more football left to be played. lets enjoy the ride, one game at a time, and the pretenders and contenders will sort themselves out.

Looking Ahead

Ohio State (4-0) will head into a by week, before returning home to take on Maryland (4-0) on October 7.

Notre Dame (4-1) will travel to Duke (4-0) on Saturday September 30 at 7:30pm on ABC. GameDay will be at their second straight Notre Dame game


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