Day is finally here. The Notre Dame football team is getting set to end its 2023 season and looking to do it with a 10th win of the campaign. In order to get that 10 wins, they’re going to need to beat Oregon State in the Sun Bowl.
Offensively, there are quite a few questions about just what Notre Dame football is going to look like. Sam Hartman is sitting out, Audric Estime is sitting out. And a handful of other Fighting Irish stars are sitting out for various reasons.
With all the turnover and the questions, there are some things that the Golden Domers need to do in order to secure the victory.
Notre Dame football must run the ball early and often
While Estime might be out, the Irish still have plenty of talent at running back. Of course, guys like Jadarian Price, Gi'Bran Payne and Jeremiyah Love are going to try and be a 3-headed monster behind an offensive line that is also revamped.
Oregon State’s rushing defense is underrated in part because it had a couple of bad games. However, they managed to hold a powerhouse rushing game to just 113 yards against Oregon. They did even better against Utah when they allowed just 57 yards on the ground.
Finding a way to get yards by running is going to be a big key, especially with quarterback Steve Angeli getting his first career start on a pretty big stage.
Find passing game down the field
It’s worth pointing out that the Beavers were not particular good against the pass. In that game against Oregon, they might have held the running game down, but they allowed over 360 yards through the air.
Notre Dame football is going to want to establish the run for sure. But when they go to the air, it can’t be dinking and dunking down the middle of the field. It should be finding a way to throw deep and to the outside.
Angeli might be starting for the first time, but he played well when he entered a game in relief. In fact, 7.7 percent of his passes were “Big Time Throws” according to PFF. That was just slightly under Sam Hartman’s 7.8 percent.
Angeli also averaged more yards per pass than Hartman. He can lead this offense through the air. He’s going to need to step up, and find a star in the depleted Notre Dame football wide receiver corps in order to beat Oregon State on Friday afternoon.