Notre Dame football: 3 takeaways from blowout win at NC State

Nov 26, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman leads players out to the field before playing against the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman leads players out to the field before playing against the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Notre Dame Football
Sep 9, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Sam Hartman (10) throws a pass during the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Notre Dame football’s offense showed big-play capabilities

NC State’s offense held up early against Notre Dame’s offense. However, the Irish began hitting explosive plays as the game continued. The Irish weren’t great on a down-to-down basis, but they could come up with big plays, something they did not do very well in 2022. Sam Hartman proved to be quite the difference-maker.

Hartman was efficient, throwing for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Notre Dame went three-and-out on its first two drives before kicking a field goal. Their next drive produced the first explosive play of the game, an 80-yard touchdown run by Audric Estime. Notre Dame went three-and-out on two more drives.

Then, the Irish answered an NC State score with a touchdown of its own. The catalyst of that touchdown drive was a 65-yard reception by receiver Chris Tyree. Tight end Jalen Greathouse caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hartman.

After a three-and-out drive to open the second half, they scored on a three-play, 76-yard touchdown drive, aided by two big passes to wide receiver Holden Staes. The sophomore receiver caught a 28-yard pass and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hartman.

Big plays were the theme of the day for Notre Dame.