With Sam Hartman deciding to opt out of the Sun Bowl, Notre Dame football had to rely on an unproven backup in the form of sophomore Steve Angeli.
Hartman was on the sidelines rooting Angeli on as he had a career game, proving himself worthy of being that QB1 next season. He looked like Hartman reincarnated, passing for 232 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-19 completions. He didn't make many mistakes and really carried the offense to a 40-8 win over a solid Oregon State team that was ranked 19th nationally.
Notre Dame needed a near-perfect performance from Angeli to beat the Beavers and he provided just that with nearly as many touchdowns as he had incompletions.
And he did some damage with his legs, too, rushing for 27 yards on eight carries.
This performance provided some hope for Notre Dame fans who have nowhere else to turn but to Angeli or Kenny Minchey next season. The Irish could also try incoming freshman blue-chipper CJ Carr out, but I doubt he's going to be ready. Angeli proved that there's nothing to worry about with him under center.
Angeli was confident, cool, and collected in the pocket and always seemed to make the right decisions. He made the right reads and tucked and ran when he needed to.
His first-ever start ended in a blowout win over the nation's No. 19 team.
Hope is there for the future in South Bend with Angeli under center. There feels like no more need to worry about the quarterback situation. Angeli calmed those worries in the Sun Bowl.
Notre Dame could push for the playoff in 2024.