Beyond the Boxscore: Notre Dame Takes a Battering Ram to Pitt in 58-7 Rout

Scoring early and often, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish coasted to an easy 58-7 pounding of the Pitt Panthers on Saturday. The Irish used all facets of their lineup to fashion scoring opportunities against their three-touchdown underdog foes. The end result was a thrashing that matched their 53-point winning margin against Tennessee State last month.

The Irish ended up with 535 yards of offense and delivered a ball-hawking defense that collected four interceptions. Special teams were also a key part of the storyline in which some early concerns gave way to another breather for Marcus Freeman’s squad. The victory also eliminated any conjecture about the team looking ahead to the Clemson clash next Saturday.

Below are some of the key aspects of the victory:

Joined in Progress

Notre Dame was coming off a dominating defensive performance against USC two weeks ago, so a potential letdown against a lesser opponent might have been a possibility. Instead, they ramped up the level of domination and helped the Irish coast to their seventh victory of the season.

The tone was set in the first half when Pitt only managed one drive of more than five plays and headed to halftime with only 113 yards of offensive yardage. Xavier Watts continued his standout stretch with two first-half interceptions that led to 10 points, More of the same awaited them after the break, with a pick-six from Jaden Mickey and an acrobatic interception from Christian Gray on the series after that. By the time Freeman inserted the reserves, Pitt had managed only 163 yards of offense.

Chris Tyree Time

Prior to this season, Chris Tyree had largely been an afterthought when it came to the Notre Dame offense. In 2023, his profile has risen with a shift to wide receiver and on Saturday, exploded with a standout performance. The shock of seeing the first Notre Dame drive of the game end abruptly evaporated a short while later when Tyree broke off an 82-yard punt return to make 7-0 in favor of the Irish.

On Notre Dame’s next offensive series, a seven-yard loss on the first play of the drive was quickly forgotten when Tyree snagged a pass and picked up 47 yards. Unfortunately, that drive was short-circuited with an interception but Tyree ended up finishing the afternoon with his touchdown return, three catches for 62 yards and one run for three yards.

Putting the Special in Special Teams

In Notre Dame’s first six games, special teams exploits were largely limited to the field goals of Spencer Shrader and the punting of Bryce McFerson. Jadarian Price’s kickoff return for a score against Southern Cal began to change the conversation. Against Pitt, this unit took center stage with a pair of touchdowns to their credit.

The first of these came on Tyree’s scoring jaunt, a momentum-building run that shook the Irish out of their early funk and helped get the rout going. In the third quarter, Pitt’s defense stopped the Irish and was set to get the ball back. Instead, the Panthers’ M.J. Devonshire muffed McFerson’s punt with Ramon Henderson recovering the ball in the end zone to make it a 37-0 contest.

Early Struggles for Hartman

For most of this season, Sam Hartman has been a steady component of the Notre Dame offense. All three of his interceptions on the year had come in the loss against Louisville but against Pitt, he had problems finding Irish receivers in the first quarter. By the time the period had ended, he had been picked off twice.

The first of those interceptions came on the opening drive and after he’d had no problem marching the Irish to the Pitt 32. His second errant toss came in the Red Zone and temporarily kept Notre Dame from doubling its lead. Hartman ended up completing 18 of 25 passes for 288 yards but failed to throw a touchdown pass for only the second time this season. The rout did allow Steve Angeli to get some fourth-quarter playing time behind center, a circumstance that can only aid his development for next season.

Next Up

Notre Dame faces yet another challenging road matchup next Saturday when they travel to Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers. The Irish have made only two trips there before, the most recent coming in a heartbreaking 2015 loss. Last season, Notre Dame knocked the Tigers from the ranks of the unbeaten in a 35-14 rout. Two big plays accounted for a pair of Irish scores: a blocked punt return by Prince Kollie and a 99-yard pick-six from Benjamin Morrison. Notre Dame’s offense was fueled by a running game that gained 263 yards on the night.

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  1. Thinks he owns the comment section, let’s give “david” the boot!
    Multiple obscene postings
    Please report in contact us section
    Site abuse
    Thank you

    1. Let’s get “dopey dave”removed
      On face page
      About: contact us: report abuse:
      He has posted threats, obscenity’s, homophobic and transphobic items
      Please remove him from platform
      BTW if he’s gone I won’t be posting, so it will clean up the comments section immensely

    1. More like dopey dave vs Goliath
      Except you don’t have any stones or balls to sling
      (No balls at all)
      You should just surrender like you tried before

  2. Mitchell Evans done for the year. Torn ACL. Sucks cuz he will probably miss most of next year.

    In other news congratulations to Davia in becoming the first Transgender Leprechaun to represent ND. Might want to work on your ability to perform more than 10 push-ups douchebag.

    1. Jeez…ghet Evans’ dick out of your mouth, you dumb whore!
      Stop trying to be his girlfriend!…he’s just a loser, and so are you!

    1. Woooooshh. Smart as a bag of rocks.

      Suggestion for board ops…..Make stupid a penalty: 15 yard major, repeat offenders ejected.

  3. Turning now to the weather….

    ‘Weather’ JIm Harbaugh will remain in Ann Arbor is now in serious question.
    Michigan has reportedly rescinded the contract extension it had on the table with Harbaugh, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    And “weather” he could then simply bolt to the pros : the NFL is “unlikely to make itself a safe harbor” for embattled Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

    Poor guy.
    Poor, personality deprived, inconceivably stupid guy.

  4. plaudits to the D. and specials!
    Hartman, however, needs to be on his A game next week for the Irish to win.
    This will be the Tigers super bowl. It will salvage the seaon if they can beat us.
    No sleepwalking allowed! We don’t want another Louisville

    1. Yes, Hartman really needs to buck up.. I can’t even count the number of times he’s missed guys running wide open downfield.
      Sorry?….What’s that? None?

      Well then, he better really speed up his reads finding guys open on the short routes.
      …..Yes, what is now ? Oh. He pretty much nails every guy right in the numbers? Fine then.

      Then he better just run better then. Oh….they have specific guys who are trained to do just that?
      Well, just forget it then.

      1. Get over your love affair with Sam, At least 20 QBs better than Sam, it takes a lot more than just QB to win games

  5. Celebrate
    Anytime you win by 50+ is impressive, with the D’ and special teams providing 3 TDs ( + field position)
    Truly special teams and as elite a D’ as there is in college football

    1. For want of a couple of experienced WRs, this might have been an actual, formidable playoff-worthy team.
      But 10-2 is still possible, and that’s a very fine, celebration-worthy season.

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