There is no way around it: Notre Dame gave this game away
A win over Ohio State would have been a defining moment for Marcus Freeman's team. Instead, the staff froze, ruining an epic atmosphere and leaving all Irish fans to wonder what could have been.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — They are going to have to wear this one for awhile, this Notre Dame staff. There is no other way around it.
It was the biggest game here in 18 years, these Irish proved to be better than the visitors from Ohio State for most of the night, and yet here this program was, walking off the field dejected once again in a prove-it game, an instant classic that ended the only way it couldn’t possibly end in order for Notre Dame to save face.
It was Ohio State 17, Notre Dame 14. The biggest game here since the Bush Push lived up to the hype. It was decided in the final seconds, in the same end zone as that infamous loss to USC in 2005.
Notre Dame looked like it belonged on that night. It also walked away losers, and it would end up spending far too much time in the aftermath of defeat chasing that feeling of being a national contender.
No one is writing these Irish off after Saturday’s loss, but damned if this wasn’t the blown opportunity of all blown opportunities.
And they have no one to blame but themselves.
Buckeyes coach Ryan Day talked his talk afterward, calling out Lou Holtz, touting his team’s toughness, giving a giant fist-bump to the Buckeyes fans who stuck around to bask in the glow of going into Holtz’s house and — officially, at least — out-toughening the home team with a do-or-die, 15-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run with 1 second left, a touchdown that probably never should have happened.