Freeman's Focus: Playing hard and respecting the rivalry
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Big stops by the defense, unbelievable catches, and program records broken. The Irish got off to a fast start and led the 16th ranked Cougars with a score of 18-6 heading into the locker room after two quarters.
"I told them at halftime, this team wasn't going to quit," said Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman.
And he was right.
BYU made things interesting in the second half, scoring two touchdowns, but the Irish never gave up control, beating the Cougars 28-20 and advancing to a 11-0 record in the Shamrock Series.
"That's what makes Notre Dame special is the Shamrock Series games," said Freeman. "And this one was special."
It's a series of special games for the first-time head coach, as he gets ready for his first Legends Trophy matchup Saturday night against Stanford.
If there’s anyone who knows about, and has respect for a rivalry, it’s Freeman.
As an Ohio State linebacker, Freeman played against what most people know as the University of Michigan. But if you’re a Buckeye, it's "the guys up north."
"I’m fortunate. And I played in one of the greatest rivalries in all sports," said Freeman. "Because of that game, you understood what that rivalry meant and the history behind it. I think that's the same thing for this game."
Freeman says the Irish aren't fooled by the Cardinal's 1-4 record but that the Irish need to execute.
"It's going to be a talented football team that is going to come in here and present a huge challenge for our football team," he said.
It’s safe to say, Freeman's focus is clear as day.
Notre Dame has won the last three matchups against Stanford.
This is only the second time in the last 12 meetings that neither team is ranked.