Notre Dame came painfully close to beating Ohio State on Saturday night in South Bend, as the Irish saw Ohio State punch the ball in from the 1-yard line with one second on the clock for a 17-14 Buckeyes win.
Getting to that point was an adventure, as neither offense could do much of anything until the fourth quarter when both squads drove the length of the field for touchdowns on their last two drives. Ohio State’s was set up by a 3rd and 19 completion to the 1, as Kyle McCord somehow found Emeka Egbuka on a seam to get a first down and stop the clock long enough to spike the ball and get two shots at the end zone.Notre Dame called a timeout to set up their defense for the final plays of the game, which was an incompletion followed by a DeaMonte Trayanum run off the left tackle, just barely breaking the plane of the goal line with one second to play.
It was a back-breaking moment for the Irish, who were so close to the big win they have been craving for some time, but it was made even worse when folks began taking a look at the replay and realized Notre Dame was out there with only 10 men on the biggest play of the game — with the guy they were missing being a lineman on the side Ohio State ran it in. On the full width video you can clearly count just 10 guys out there, with two in man coverage down bottom and eight in the box, with just three on the line and a big ol’ gap where Ohio State punched it in.
A walkoff TD for Ohio State pic.twitter.com/uA3DkVggdb
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) September 24, 2023
Not only did the Irish have 10 men on the final play, but it was also on the play following the timeout that resulted in an incompletion.
I just don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything like this. Two straight plays with the game on the line and you have 10 players on the field, the first one was coming out of a timeout. pic.twitter.com/jijvuo1j7U
— Richard🇬🇾Johnson (@RJ_cfb) September 24, 2023
That kind of mistake in that moment is inexcusable from Marcus Freeman and the coaching staff, particularly out of a timeout, and the Irish will have to wonder what could’ve been if they’d just put their full unit out there.