Game Observations: Notre Dame Defense Is Dominant In Win Over Wisconsin (2022)

Notre Dame's defense turned in its second dominant performance in a row over a Big Ten foe as the Irish blasted the Wisconsin Badgers by a 41-13 win in a game the Irish were a 6.5-point underdog.

How dominant was the defense? The Irish defense outscored Wisconsin by itself, as the unit returned a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter for touchdowns, outscoring the Badgers 14-13 in the game.

Here's my initial thoughts on the performance of the Irish defense from the win.

*** Marcus Freeman's defense has improved each week, and this performance was absolutely brilliant. The Irish defensive coordinator used a multiple attack against the Badgers, showing four-down linemen at times and there were even snaps where the Irish had five defensive linemen on the field in base down situations.

*** Notre Dame was geared towards shutting down the ground game and they certainly did just that, holding Wisconsin to just 74 yards on the ground. Wisconsin could never get anything going on the ground, which was a driving force behind the win.

*** Freeman knew his unit was undersized compared to Wisconsin, but it was also faster and more athletic, and he used that to his advantage in this game. Notre Dame's defensive line beat the Wisconsin blockers off the ball all game long. They won with speed, leverage and excellent block destruction technique.

*** Even more impressive is that Mike Elston's unit was playing without nose tackle and team captain Kurt Hinish, who missed the game with a concussion. His replacement, Howard Cross III, made a smooth transition into the starting lineup. Despite weighing just 275 pounds Cross was tasked with manning the nose position and he played arguably the best game of his career. Cross used his quickness to win off the ball throughout the game, but even when he was put into situations where he had to anchor I was impressed with how well he held up. Cross was disruptive against the run all game long and he also had a couple of nice inside pass rushes.

*** Sophomore Rylie Mills also had a strong performance for the Irish defense. He was quick off the ball and battled hard against the Badgers. He was disruptive in the pass game, executing a number of strong power moves that allowed him to make life uncomfortable for the Wisconsin quarterback. He forced an early incompletion on Wisconsin's second drive that helped shut down the drive. I had Mills down for three impactful pressures in the game.

*** Hinish being out also gave junior Jacob Lacey a chance to get more action and he played very well. Lacey combined with Myron Tagovailao-Amosa to blow up a 4th-and-1 run in the first half that set up the Irish offense for a game-tying drive early in the game. Lacey battled hard against the Badgers and was stout at the point of attack despite also being just 275 yards. I was impressed with his physicality, but when he needed to shoot a gap he did, and he graded out quite well.

(Video) Post-Game Show: Notre Dame Falls To Marshall

*** Wisconsin seemed to focus on Jayson Ademilola for much of the game buy they still couldn't contain him. His ability to occupy blockers allowed the linebackers to run free all game, but Ademilola also made his fair share of plays. He had a sack in the game and a run game stop behind the line. On his sack he got his facemask yanked but Ademilola kept powering through and stripped the ball from the Wisconsin quarterback. Isaiah Foskey recovered it and that turnover set up the score that put Notre Dame up 27-13. Ademilola also sniffed out a third-down screen in the second half, and Foskey had one in the first half that forced a punt.

*** We got to see what a defense with Foskey and Jordan Botelho looked like, and it was impressive. Botelho played all over the field, lining up on the edge as an end and also taking reps off the ball as a linebacker. His motor proved impactful as a pass rusher.

*** Foskey and Tagovailoa-Amosa were outstanding at setting the edge throughout the game. They were physical and were a big reason Wisconsin couldn't stretch out their runs.

*** I had linebacker Drew White marked down as having arguably the best game of his career, and that was before he intercepted a late fourth quarter pass that he returned for a touchdown. White was all over the field against the Badgers and played much better than his numbers (3 tackles). White blew up Wisconsin blockers, ate up gaps and played a key role in the Badger run game not having anywhere to go. What made this such a great game for him was what he did in the pass game, as White was highly effective in coverage and he also had a pressure in the game.

*** Rover Jack Kiser bit up and got beat deep for a 41-yard gain, but outside of that I thought he played quite well. Of course he put the game away with a 69-yard pick six in the fourth quarter. But Kiser showed very good route recognition outside of that one mistake. Not only did he jump the throw that he returned for a score, Kiser was all over the Wisconsin backs and crossing routes in the pass game. He also broke up a pass on an edge blitz where he used his speed to quickly get into Mertz's face.

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*** Cornerback Cam Hart was brilliant for the Irish. His two interceptions were truly impressive plays, as Hart showed great route recognition on both plays. He also showed the ability to plant, drive quickly on the ball (great burst) and he did a phenomenal job on both interceptions of beating the Wisconsin receiver to the football. Both interceptions led to Notre Dame points. His first interception set up a touchdown that gave the Irish a 10-3 lead and his second led to a field goal that made it a 27-13 game in the fourth quarter.

*** Cornerback Clarence Lewis did not have as good of a performance. Wisconsin picked on him quite a bit. Lewis gave up a 22-yard gain on Wisconsin's first drive because he was late reacting to the ball, he got beat on a pair of slant routes, including one for a touchdown and he got beat on a double move in second quarter that could have gone for a very long play, perhaps a touchdown if the quarterback didn't miss the throw. Lewis bit on the throw and then tried to reach and grab instead of opening and running once the receiver went deep.

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FAQs

Does Notre Dame have good defense? ›

Notre Dame football ranked a top-10 defense.

10 overall, thanks to their rare blend of talent on the field, and an elite coaching unit on the sidelines.

What team has beaten Notre Dame the most? ›

Since 1982, the Panthers have remained a relative fixture on the schedule. Notre Dame leads the series 49–21–1. The longest game in Notre Dame history occurred between the two schools in 2008, when Pitt defeated ND in a record 4 overtimes by a field goal.

What defense does Notre Dame run? ›

Defensive line

Notre Dame typically runs a variation of a 4-3 defense, with two defensive tackles bookended by a defensive end and what Notre Dame calls the “Vyper.” The Vyper is essentially a stand-up defensive end who can drop back to linebacker when necessary.

What is the point spread between Notre Dame and Wisconsin? ›

Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame spread: Badgers -6.5. Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame over-under: 44 points.

Who has the best defense in college football 2022? ›

CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Defense Unit Rankings: Big 12
  • 1 Baylor.
  • 2 Oklahoma State.
  • 3 Oklahoma.
  • 4 Kansas State.
  • 5 West Virginia.
  • 6 Texas.
  • 7 Iowa State.
  • 8 Texas Tech.
1 Sept 2022

Who is Notre Dame biggest rival? ›

Notre Dame and USC have met almost every year since 1926 in what's called the greatest intersectional rivalry in sports.

What is the biggest college football rivalry? ›

Ohio State. The granddaddy of all college football rivalries is the University of Michigan vs. Ohio State University. These two midwestern Big Ten powerhouses have been at it since 1897, with the Wolverines and Buckeyes meeting for "The Game" around Thanksgiving weekend for over a century.

What team is Notre Dame's rival? ›

Due to Notre Dame's historic success, they've generated rivalries with a handful of teams in college football. The USC Trojans are the Fighting Irish's primary rival. However, Notre Dame also have rivalries against the Navy Midshipmen, the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans.

What is base defense in football? ›

In American football, a 4–3 defense is a defensive alignment consisting of four down linemen and three linebackers. It is called a "base defense" because it is the default defensive alignment used on "base downs" (1st and 2nd downs).

What is the bs position in Football? ›

BS - Boundary Safety - This is the safety that will line up to the boundary side. From what I've gathered the Irish will be versatile with its safeties, but in the base defense they will go field vs.

Who is favored in the Notre Dame game? ›

Notre Dame is a 10.5-point favorite in the game, according to Tipico Sportsbook.

What's the over/under on the Notre Dame game? ›

Cal vs. Notre Dame spread: Fighting Irish -12. Cal vs. Notre Dame Over/Under: 41 points.

Who is the number one defense in college football? ›

Football
RankTeamYPG
RankTeamYPG
1Minnesota187.8
2Alabama201.2
3James Madison208.0
26 more rows

What college has the best Defence? ›

Under Venables, Clemson ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense over the past eight seasons (2014, 2016-19, 2021), allowing an average of just 15 points per game over that time.

Who has the best defense in college football 2021? ›

2021 College Football Team Defense
  • Champions: Georgia (AP, CFP)
  • Heisman Memorial Trophy: Bryce Young (Alabama)
  • AP Preseason #1: Alabama.
  • AP Final #1: Georgia.

Who is the oldest rivalry in college football? ›

Yale vs.

18 Princeton 51-14 in 2019. The Yale-Princeton rivalry is the oldest in college football, dating back to 1873. Yale and Princeton dominated the college football scene when this rivalry began, with Yale claiming 13 outright national titles and Princeton claiming eight between 1869 and 1894.

What is the greatest rivalry in college sports? ›

University of Michigan and Ohio State University – ESPN calls the Michigan–Ohio State rivalry the greatest sports rivalry of the 20th century. According to legend, its history can be traced back to the Toledo War.

Who has the biggest fanbase in college football? ›

Which college football team has the biggest fanbase? The biggest fanbase in college football resides in Columbus, Ohio. Altimore estimates that Ohio State has 11.26 million fans in all.

Who is the greatest college football team of all time? ›

The 7 Greatest College Football Teams Ever Are All-Time...
  • 2005 Texas Longhorns.
  • 2013 Florida State Seminoles.
  • 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide.
  • 2019 LSU Tigers.
  • 2004 USC Trojans.
  • 2. 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers.
  • 2001 Miami Hurricanes.
11 Aug 2022

What is the greatest college football game of all time? ›

  1. Rose Bowl, Jan. 4, 2006: Texas 41, USC 38.
  2. Orange Bowl, Jan. 2, 1984: Miami 31, Nebraska 30. ...
  3. Iron Bowl, Nov. 30, 2013: Auburn 34, Alabama 28. ...
  4. Hail Flutie! Nov. ...
  5. Cotton Bowl, Jan. 1, 1979: Notre Dame 35, Houston 34. ...
  6. Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1, 2007: Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42, OT. ...
  7. Rose Bowl, Jan. ...
  8. Catholics vs. ...
15 Apr 2021

Will Notre Dame join the Big 10? ›

Notre Dame won't be joining the Big Ten any time soon. It is time for the Big Ten to stop waiting. Sports Business Journal reported Notre Dame "should expect around $60 million from a new TV contract" which would be a substantial increase from the $25 million the school gets from NBC through 2025.

Why is USC and Notre Dame rivals? ›

In fact, many sports writers often cite this popular story as the main reason the two schools decided to play one another. As the story goes, the rivalry began with USC looking for a national rival. USC dispatched Wilson and his wife to Lincoln, Nebraska, where Notre Dame was playing Nebraska on Thanksgiving Day.

Will Notre Dame ever play Michigan again? ›

As it currently stands, Michigan and Notre Dame are set to play again in 2033. The last contest between the two schools was in 2019. Now with the new expected deal between NBC and the Big Ten, the possibility of the two schools playing before 2033 became much more of a reality.

What year did Georgia beat Notre Dame? ›

Part of the 1980–81 bowl game season, it matched the undefeated and top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference, and the seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. A slight underdog, Georgia won, 17–10.

Has Notre Dame ever beat Georgia in football? ›

In three meetings all time (1981 Sugar Bowl, 2017/2019 Regular Season) Notre Dame has never beat… In three meetings all time (1981 Sugar Bowl, 2017/2019 Regular Season) Notre Dame has never beat Georgia, losing to the Bulldogs three times by a combined 14 points.

Who is the best running back from Notre Dame? ›

This Notre Dame football roster has famous All-Americans, Notre Dame running backs in the NFL, and Fighting Irish players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Featuring some of the greatest college running backs of all time, the best Notre Dame RBs include Autry Denson, Darius Walker, Josh Adams, and Cierre Wood.

Who is Notre Dame all time leader in passing yards? ›

Brady Quinn

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