Could Notre Dame run the table and finish 11-1, potentially having a chance to crash the College Football Playoff party?
Even if not, an appearance in the Orange Bowl or another New Year’s Six game would be a great way to start the Marcus Freeman era.
How about starting the year 0-2 with an admirable battle at Ohio State before one of the worst losses the Fighting Irish have suffered in the long history of Notre Dame Stadium.
Marshall, a team that Notre Dame wrote a check for $1.25 million dollars to come play at Notre Dame Stadium, walked into the historic venue, punched Notre Dame in the face, did it again, again and again before walking out with a 26-21 victory.
Where do we start?
An anemic offense that struggles to do the littlest of things right. You can question play-calling, but when presented an opportunity the Irish suffered through a case of the drops, overthrown receivers and entirely missed open receivers.
It was one thing a week ago when Ohio State’s offensive line gassed Notre Dame’s defense and was able to run at will in the fourth quarter. It was an entirely different thing when Marshall did the same on Saturday.
Tyler Buchner, who had a pair of interceptions, a number of overthrows and a pair of rushing touchdowns, finished with 44 rushing yards on 13 attempts. The rest of the Notre Dame backfield? Twenty-four rushes for 86 yards.
Next: Marshall punched Notre Dame in the face
Again, no disrespect to the Thundering Herd: They came and punched Notre Dame in the mouth today. But… Marshall?
Why was Marshall able to run for over 220 yards?
Why was Marshall the one forcing three turnovers and not Notre Dame?
Why when Notre Dame got down late was there so little urgency from the offense to get on the ball and get moving?
So at 0-2, and 0-3 in the Freeman era, the first time that’s ever happened to a head coach at Notre Dame, where do the Irish go?
It’s not all Marcus Freeman. There are personnel issues that have become glaringly visible, but the personnel issues aren’t great enough to have Notre Dame even in games at home against the likes of Marshall, let alone getting pushed around by it.
This isn’t to say things will not one day end up great under Freeman, but this is that big fight moment that you realize things aren’t on as solid ground as you may have thought.
I hope you enjoyed the Marcus Freeman honeymoon at Notre Dame while it lasted because two weeks into Year 1 the rookie head coach now has a locker room to keep together after one of the worst losses in a really long time by the blue and gold.