Notre Dame’s heartbreaking loss to Ohio State last weekend came with a ton of scrutiny, as the Fighting Irish had just 10 defenders on the field during the final play from scrimmage, which resulted in a game-winning Buckeyes touchdown. Since the loss, head coach Marcus Freeman and his team have had to address how to make sure the crucial mistake doesn’t occur again.
However, that wasn’t the first time this season that Notre Dame had made that mistake. In Notre Dame’s Week 1 game against Tennessee State, the Fighting Irish had only 10 players on defense while Tigers were nearing the red zone.
Fortunately for Notre Dame, that play resulted in an incomplete pass.
So uh, Notre Dame only had 10 players on the field on this play. Tennessee State nearly scored a touchdown.— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) September 4, 2023
That can't happen against better teams. pic.twitter.com/AXqlL76PTz
After the Week 4 game against Ohio State, Freeman explained how the most recent 10-men mistake happened, but that doesn’t explain why the first one occurred. In any case, Freeman said the Irish are trying to learn from their mistakes moving forward.
“What we learned from that situation is that, (1), don’t ever be in the situation where you’ve got 10 guys on the field,” Freeman said this week, via ESPN’s Heather Dinich. “But (2), if something happens, we have to have a signal to tell somebody to jump offsides and touch somebody.”
Since the mistake against Tennessee State didn’t ultimately hurt the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame apparently didn’t focus on it enough to prevent it from happening again weeks later. Now that the team actually has lost a game due to being a man short on defense, Freeman seems intent to make sure it won’t happen again.