After a performance Notre Dame football fans have been waiting for from Daelin Hayes, he is my Defensive Player of the Game vs. Northwestern.
Notre Dame football’s deep defensive line is simply impossible to shut down. Daelin Hayes has patiently waited for his breakout game. He got it against Northwestern Saturday night.
Hayes has been a bit of a frustrating player over the past couple seasons. The potential is clearly there, but he never seemed to make the most of it. He made the most of it Saturday night.
When it was all said and done, Hayes had 7 tackles (all solo), 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. It was truly a coming out party for Hayes, finally, as he notched his first sack(s) of the season, and tied his season high for tackles (7 vs. Wake Forest).
If Daelin Hayes can continue to perform as he did against Northwestern, opposing offenses are in REAL trouble. The Notre Dame defensive line was already the strength of this team, but it had been lacking solid performances from Hayes. Guys like Kareem, Okwara and Tillery have had monster seasons thus far and adding an in-form Daelin Hayes into this already menacing pass rush could spell major trouble for Irish opponents heading into the final three games of the regular season.
Overall, the Notre Dame defense has and will continue to be the strength of this team. Heading into some very tough matchups as we head towards the last quarter of the regular season, performances from guys like Daelin Hayes are going to be needed. By saying from “guys like Hayes”, I mean guys that Notre Dame does not have to absolutely rely on week-in and week-out in order to win; guys like Coney and Tillery that are vital. However, anything that helps to reduce the amount of stress on them, the better.