Notre Dame football ditches punchline status after Duke rally

Ohio State running back Chip Trayanum (19) scores the game winning touchdown against Notre Dame.
Ohio State running back Chip Trayanum (19) scores the game winning touchdown against Notre Dame. /

Following Notre Dame football’s loss to Ohio State, the Irish started to become a national punchline. Their rally against Duke should end that.

After Notre Dame football lost to Ohio State on a last-second touchdown, you can’t really blame the fanbase for feeling a bit snakebitten. When it came out that the Fighting Irish only had 10 defenders on the field for that final touchdown, the team became a bit of a punchline.

Fast forward to the game against the Duke Bluedevils, and for most of the second half, it felt a bit like history was about to repeat itself. After dominating the game for the first half, after looking like the obviously better team for 60 minutes and taking a 10-0 lead, it felt like Notre Dame football was starting to crumble.

Duke took a 14-13 late in Saturday night’s game and it felt like the Irish were going to be a national joke some more. This was after spending most of Saturday watching memes pop up all over social media. Oh and ESPN.

Had Sam Hartman not led Notre Dame football on that final, 94-yard drive, it’s a safe bet things would have only gotten worse for the program and its fans.

Notre Dame football ditches punchline status

Some Fighting Irish fans might claim that what the rest of the country thinks about the Notre Dame football team doesn’t really matter. But especially in this era of college sports, perception carries a lot of weight.

Freeman was already getting mentioned as being on the hot seat thanks to the 10-man gaffe. Had his team dropped the very next game after that blunder, his seat would only have gotten warmer.

That’s why the rally against Duke, the win that improved Notre Dame football’s record to 5-1 on the year was even more massive than usual. Now, instead of constantly talking about how many men the Irish had on the field, people can go back to talking about the Golden Domers being back in the AP Top 10.

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