Bowl games aren’t the same for everyone. Coaches sometimes abandon their current program for its upcoming bowl game as the old ball coach begins his new opportunity elsewhere. Players sometimes sit out of bowl games to protect their assumed NFL draft stock, while others play in the bowl game, hoping a good performance will increase their first NFL paycheck. For some of a team’s fanbase, it’s either a birth in the college football playoffs or bust, while other fans are just happy to see their team play one more time. However, one group that’s almost always forgotten about is the small businesses in and around the site of the bowl game. For these people, having a world-renowned program like Notre Dame come to town would be a dream come true because that would mean more money for them and a lot of it.
According to TicketCity, since the bowl games were set, the biggest increase in ticket sales was for the Sun Bowl, which increased by a whopping 141%. The next closest game was the Rose Bowl between Alabama and Michigan (72% increase). Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivias said that once Notre Dame was announced as a Sun Bowl participant, lines were 40 feet out of the door with people waiting in line for a few hours to purchase tickets. Game tickets were in such high demand that Sun Bowl officials had to wait on the local fire marshal to inform them of how many standing-room-only tickets they could sell.
This game could also be a new milestone for Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman, as a win against Oregon State would mark his first-ever 10-win season as a head coach.
Transfer Portal/ Early NFL Draft Departures
WR Chris Tyree, C Zeke Correll, DE Nana Osafo-Mensah, NT Aidan Keanaaina, WR Tobias Merriweather, WR Braylon James, S Ramon Henderson, TE Holden Staes, WR Rico Flores Jr., CB Ryan Barnes, OL Joey Tanona, S Antonio Carter II, OL Michael Carmody, OT Joe Alt, LB Marist Liufau, CB Cam Hart, RB Audric Estime, OT Blake Fisher, QB Sam Hartman
QB DJ Uiagalelei, QB Aidan Chiles, LB Easton Mascarenas-Arnold, S Akili Arnold, TE Jack Velling, CB Jermod McCoy, TE Jake Overman, K Atticus Sappington, WR Anthony Gould
- Notre Dame is 0-2 all-time versus Oregon State.
- Oregon State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games.
- The total has gone under in four of Oregon State’s last five games.
- Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
- The total has gone over in five of Notre Dame’s last six games.
- Notre Dame is 9-2 straight up in its last 11 games versus a Pac-12 opponent.
Line and Total
#21 Oregon State (8-4) (6-6 ATS) vs. #15 Notre Dame -6 (9-3) (8-3-1 ATS)
Oregon State’s last opponent came against its in-state rival, Oregon. It’s a game the Beavers would like to forget as they were smacked around by the Ducks, 31-7. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix completed 33 of 40 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball six times for 31 yards and another score. Oregon State was limited to 273 total yards on offense, including 53 yards rushing (2.2 yards per carry).
That same weekend, Notre Dame also played on the west coast when they traveled to Stanford to take on the Cardinal. Unlike the Beavers, Notre Dame decimated its foe 56-23. Irish running back Audric Estime rushed for 238 yards on 25 carries (9.5 YPC), including four touchdowns.
However, heading into the Sun Bowl, the rosters will look very different due to coaching changes and limited rosters. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unfavorable, especially for Notre Dame. Sure, the Irish will be without its starting quarterback, Sam Hartman, but any honest Notre Dame fan would admit that Hartman’s production in 2023 was far less than expected if it existed in some games at all. In fact, because of costly turnovers, he was a liability in some of the Irish’s biggest games. Others may argue that it wasn’t Hartman’s fault, but instead, it was the play calling by former offensive coordinator and new Troy head coach Gerad Parker. He’s gone now, too, and Notre Dame’s current quarterbacks’ coach, Gino Guidugli, will serve as interim offensive coordinator in the bowl game.
Guidugli will be assigning plays to Hartman’s replacement, Steve Angeli. While playing sparingly in five games this season, Angeli completed 19 of 25 passes for 272 yards (10.9 yards per completion), four touchdowns, and one interception. He was recruited as a pro-style quarterback who could extend plays with his legs when necessary.
Next, many will focus on the loss of running back Audric Estime, who opted out of the Sun Bowl in preparation for the NFL draft. Without question, his power against opposing defenses will be missed, but luckily for the Irish, there’s a stable of young running backs waiting to explode. Perhaps the most significant question mark for Notre Dame will be along the offensive line as they’ll be replacing both of its NFL-bound tackles with a true freshman, Charles Jagusah, at left tackle and a right tackle in Tosh Baker, who’s making his third career start. The bright side is that both were 4-star prospects out of high school with a ton of upside. They should be more than capable of holding their own against the Beavers, especially if the Irish defense keeps the offense in shortened field position.
Luckily for the Irish, its defense will remain intact for the most part, and that should be the key to victory on Friday as they’ll be facing Oregon State’s third-string quarterback, Ben Gulbranson, and Beavers’ interim head coach, Kefense Hynson. Pick: Notre Dame