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SEPTEMBER 3, 2022 The Horseshoe Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. The Ohio State Buckeyes

Updated: Nov 5

You need one of these 104,944 . . .




. . . to be in one of the 104,944 seats here . . .



on . . .



SEPTEMBER 3, 2022

at

The Horseshoe

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

v.

The Ohio State Buckeyes





Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!


The aforementioned 104,944.


#2 Versus #5.


12 5-stars on roster versus 2 5-stars on roster.


17.5 point favorite and a 17.5 point underdog.


Head Coach’s record of 34-4 versus winless Head Coach’s record of 0-1.


#1, #10 and #12 of the Pre-season Heisman Favorites versus 1 Pre-season Heisman Favorite tied, somewhat ignominiously, at #26.


Starting QB with 44 TDs and 6 INTs in 2021 versus starting QB with 3 TDs and 3 INTs in 2021.


Starting RB with 19 TDs in 2021 versus starting RB with 3 TDs in 2021.


The twice aforementioned 104,944 (or at least a sizeable percentage of the 104,944) being rather raucous, if not actually boorish in their over-the -top, infantile-inspired (perhaps, more accurately, infantile-inebriated-inspired) indecent, humiliating, and downright embarrassing behavior directed at the Irish team and their limited fans shoe-horned into the Horseshoe.


These numbers lead to a very legitimate question. Why play the game? Well, because, while all of the foregoing numbers are illustrative (and disconcerting to Irish faithful), none of them matter. The only numbers that matter are the ones on the scoreboard when the game ends. And those numbers will be . . . . Read on!

Three Ohio State “beat writers” each recently predicted the scores for all of the Buckeyes’ twelve 2022 regular season games with 34 of the 36 predictions expecting an Ohio State victory. The other two? One predicts a Buckeye loss on the road against Penn State. The other one? September 3 against Notre Dame.


The three Buckeye “beat writers” predict the following OSU/ND scores: OSU wins wins 31-20; OSU wins 45-28; ND wins 56-49!!




Let’s start the season and the 2022 Irish Talk with a feel-good story. Marcus Freeman as the Irish Head Coach. They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. “Here is the picture” and that is all I have to say, saving 996 words!.


2022 is the 100th anniversary of the opening of Ohio Stadium now known as the Horseshoe or just the ‘Shoe. Originally with a capacity of 66,210, the 1922 opener against Ohio Wesleyan University drew 25,000 fans which, at less than 38% capacity, led some to wonder why they built such a large capacity stadium. And, during the balance of the 20’s and the decade of the 30’s, 20,000 to 30,000 was a common attendance level. The average was somewhat skewed in 1935 when Notre Dame visited the ‘Shoe in a game witnessed by some 81,000 fans, being more than 122% of capacity. And a winner for the Irish!

Readers, I know you are not looking for a feel-good story, nor a mathematics lesson. No, you want pithy, probing, precise prognostications so you will know how to lay your hard-earned bucks on the game. Perchance your bucks on the Buckeyes? It is certainly okay with me if you want to throw your bucks away. By the way, which of these do you believe is a Buckeye?


This nut?



This Ohio State helmet sticker decal?




This combination?


Have you ever wondered why the Buckeyes are always high in the football ratings? Could it be those helmet stickers depict, not a buckeye, but a marijuana leaf?





With seven Heisman Trophy winners, Ohio State is tied with Notre Dame and USC for the most Heismans’ awarded to players from any one school. The Buckeye winners include Eddie George, Archie Griffin (twice), Howard “Hopalong” Cassidy (my personal favorite nickname), and Vic Janowicz, the 1950 winner who thoroughly enjoyed the Buckeyes encounter with Iowa that season to the tune of 2 kick-offs out of the end zone, 2 defensive fumble recoveries, an 11-yard TD run, a 61-yard punt return for a TD, a 12-yard TD pass, and 3 extra points. ALL IN THE FIRST 5 MINUTES OF THE GAME!!!!!!!


Electric as those names may be, none of them is my favorite Buckeye. This is my Buckeye guy:





How about some football stuff? Well, you have read the numbers and read the predictions of the three Ohio State beat writers. They will either be 67% correct or 33% correct. By contrast, the predictions of 6 Irish beat writers will either be 100% correct or 0% correct. Those 6 on the Irish beat display an unwanted, but, nevertheless, consistent refrain of “NO” to an Irish beat down on the Buckeyes.


By contrast, I say it will happen, and when the final second ticks away, the Irish beat the Buckeyes. How, you may ask? Who will be the Irish behemoth to lead the way to victory?

How about #7, Isaiah Foskey, with THREE, count ‘em THREE, sacks of Buckeye QB C.J. Stroud (#7) making all Irish fandom proud. Will this actually be an example of 7 on 7 football?



Maybe #87, Michael Mayer, with THREE, count ‘em THREE, TD catches. Will the post-game refrain be “Player Mayer a Buckeye Slayer?

Perhaps #12, Tyler Buchner, leading THREE, count ‘em, THREE drives to FGs, and one other non-Mayer TD drive. The Sunday headline in The Columbus Dispatch will read “Buchner Bucks Buckeyes”.


Perhaps, #8 Marist Liufau, leading the Irish linebacking corps with THREE, count ‘em, THREE solo stops of TreVeyon Henderson (#32) for no gain, limiting TreVeyon’s effort to repeat his 1,248-yard Freshman season rushing total that broke Archie Griffin’s Ohio State Freshman record. Do I hear Heisman? No, but Liufau will be considered the answer to the question “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” Marist is the fairest!!



Might it be #16, Brandon Joseph, the safety transfer from Northwestern where two years ago he was a first team, Freshman All-American. Brandon and his cohorts must limit the big Buckeye plays and quick scoring drives that can be expected with a receiving corps of Jaxon Smith-Njigba (#11), Marvin Harrison, Jr. (#18), Emeka Egbuka (#2), and Julian Fleming (#4). I suspect in this context all Irish fans will enthusiastically cheer “Let’s Go Brandon”.



While all are possibilities, I will put my bucks on #99, Blake Grupe. Standing all of 5’ 7 3/8” and weighing all of 150 lbs, this Irish lad (as Coach Leahy referred to his players and just looking at him renders that moniker spot on), with THREE, count ‘em, THREE field goals will earn the title of “Behemoth”.



Could you identify him without knowing his number? Well, after the big upset, you, too, will be a Blake Grupe Groupie!


If you cast your eyes two to the right of Blake, you will find who? Gotcha!! This is a trick question, because in this photo there are not one, but two Blakes. #54 is Blake Fisher, the Irish’ right tackle who is all of 6’ 6” and 327 lbs. He be a behemoth even before the game beginith!!


In an effort to pull some off the ledge worried about a blow-out and another non-competitive Irish game against a top opponent, let me offer this well-reasoned, cogent, thoughtful, precise, and persuasive insight into how the Irish can be victorious. Ready . . . . ?


SCORE MORE POINTS THAN THE BUCKEYES!!


Okay! Okay! That was a vainglorious, cheap shot.


Here are the keys to an Irish victory:

1. Limit the number of Buckeye quick scores. (CRITICAL)

2. Control the line of scrimmage to enable the Irish offense to run the ball and eat up the clock. (Extremely important)

3. Win the turn-over battle (DUH, that’s true in every game so that ain’t no surprise.)

4. Use ND’s talented defensive depth along the front 7 and hope that the unproven and hopefully talented secondary depth perform well. (I say 80% yes on the former and 55% on the latter.)

5. If Jarrett Patterson is unable to play, Andre Kristofic and Rocco Spindler play well. (I say 50% on both.)



Before I give you my prediction for the score of this game, I return to numbers. We need running yard totals for Buchner (65 yards), Estime (35 yards), Diggs (45 yards) and this guy (95 yards).



“Watch Tyree Flee for ND”

Remember the first number we gave you of 104,944? Well, our guy, LB Jack Kiser (#24) is from Royal Center, Indiana, a burg teeming with 828 denizens and a graduate of Pioneer Junior/Senior High School with an average class size of 65. (Not 65 per class room, but 65 in the entire freakin’ class year.) So, even if capacity is not exceeded at the ‘Shoe, more than 127 Royal Centers or more than 1,614 Pioneer Junior/Senior High School class years could be in attendance.



And, finally to the numbers you have all been waiting for . . .




(Needed these pictures to simulate the sound creating the expectation for the exciting prediction.)

The prediction is …….


Notre Dame 37

Ohio State 27

GO IRISH!!

Sunday morning silence along the Olentangy River . . .



The horse lost its shoe!


Here are your Irish Trivia Questions for this week.

It must have been a “Midsummer’s Night Dream” for the first ever draft selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers to fantasize that his last second pass to defeat Ohio State in 1935 would, “As You Like It”, bring a result for the Irish that was certainly “All’s Well That Ends Well”, despite the “Comedy of Errors” that resulted in the Irish having ZERO points entering the 4th Quarter. While you may consider this “Much Ado About Nothing”, can you identify this Notre Dame player who staged this play?


The answer to that question is so easy for any ND Football fan that you do not have to be a playwright to answer it. So, let’s tack on a follow-up question that may be just a wee bit more challenging. The end who caught the pass was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968 and to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Can you identify this player?


And for a more recent vintage Notre Dame/Ohio State question, everyone knows Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman played linebacker at Ohio State. Can you name four other coaches who either played at or also coached at the other school?



And, our hearts forever . . .



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