NDs Freeman stuck with 10 players during OSU game winning game

ND’s Freeman stuck with 10 players during OSU game-winning game to avoid ‘freebie’ plays – ESPN – ESPN

Heather DinichESPN Senior Writer September 24, 2023, 12:46am ET3 minutes read

Marcus Freeman explains why ND only had 10 defenders in the playoff

Marcus Freeman reacts to Notre Dame’s loss to Ohio State and explains why the Irish only had 10 defenders for the Buckeyes’ first touchdown.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman said he tried to get a fourth defensive lineman on the field for the final play of Saturday night’s 17-14 loss to Ohio State, but didn’t want to draw a penalty, so he was left with 10 defenders on the play that made the winning touchdown possible.

Trailing 14-10, Ohio State had the ball on third down at the one-yard line when Chip Trayanum ran up the middle and scored the game-winning score with one second left. Freeman, a former linebacker, was asked after the game if he should have taken the penalty and tried to get the 11th defender onto the field.

“For me it was like, ‘Hey, don’t give them another opportunity to calm down and try to make a different decision,’ right?” said Freeman, who was out of time off. “Hey, guys, stay off the field. Let’s not give them a freebie from the half-yard line and try to stop them.”

“And I thought maybe they did the same thing they did before at the snap, and they ended up running the ball,” he said. “So I had to watch the game and see where the ball hit. But yeah, that’s why I made this decision.”

Notre Dame’s undermanned defense was noticed by many as the officiating team reviewed the winning touchdown.

“Everything happened quickly. “I’m trying to do my job and get the call,” said security chief Thomas Harper. “This is something we have to do better. We must not be depressed in this situation. We have to do better, players and coaches. We will learn and grow from this.”