Irish defense looking to step up their game against Cal
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - The Notre Dame defense has been better than the offense but there's some work to do after giving up long drives and a touchdown in back-to-back games.
The bigger picture is – both games were theirs to lose – and the Irish lost.
It was almost déjà vu watching Notre Dame give up a 94-yard drive to Marshall in a close game early in the fourth quarter that resulted in a touchdown.
"They have a really good running back and he was all over the field," said Notre Dame defensive tackle Howard Cross.
Same thing at Ohio State: a 95-yard drive, close game, and early in the fourth quarter, touchdown Buckeyes.
"That's on me," said Defensive Coordinator Al Golden. "I gotta do a better job of putting them in position to, to execute in the fourth quarter."
Through two games, the Notre Dame defense has allowed 391 rushing yards on 85 attempts.
"At the end of the day, that just can't happen," said linebacker Bo Bauer.
"It's the fundamentals man, how do we get better at tackling?" said Coach Freeman.
For an experienced defense that returned 11 starters, watching the veterans give up big chunks of plays has been difficult.
"I feel like no one is really, like, that much deflated," said defensive end Isaiah Foskey. "Everyone's disappointed, everyone's angry, and everyone is frustrated."
The schedule doesn’t get easier after Cal: the Irish face North Carolina on the road, BYU in Las Vegas, and then Stanford in a primetime match-up at home.
"We’re still confident as [a] group that we can do it," said defensive back DJ Brown. "That we can beat the teams that we have coming up next."
For a team that’s fallen out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2017, the scenario going into week three isn’t familiar.
And after the loss to Marshall, defensive lineman Howard Cross says the Irish need to step it up.
"It’s an upset, it happens. But we got to get our stuff together. Everybody needs to from coaches, to starters, to scout lineman. Everybody got to get their stuff together and we got to move on and fix this. Because we can. We know we can. We can be a great team."