Notre Dame defeated Central Michigan 41-17 on Saturday afternoon in South Bend.

The Fighting Irish are now 4-0 on the season and have won each of those games by at least 3 touchdowns.

Quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win. Running back Audric Estime also had a big day, going for 176 yards and 1 touchdown on just 20 carries.

Here are 3 takeaways from Notre Dame’s win:

The offense hit its stride

Despite some unexpected struggles up front in this game, Notre Dame’s offense performed well. Hartman was very efficient through the air and Central Michigan had no answer for Estime on the ground. Hartman threw multiple touchdowns of 75+ yards in this contest.

Overall, Notre Dame averaged 8.9 yards per play. The Fighting Irish likely could have put up more points in this game, but they went just 4-for-11 on 3rd down and had to settle for 3 field goal attempts.

Tight end Holden Staes also continued his emergence with a 4-yard touchdown reception in the 4th quarter.

Defense responds

Notre Dame’s defense didn’t have a great 1st half against Central Michigan. The Chippewas scored 14 points before the break and trailed by just 7 points at the half.

But Notre Dame responded in the 2nd half as Central Michigan managed just 3 second-half points. The Chippewas gained only 108 yards in the 2nd half for an average of 4.5 per play.

Perhaps most importantly, Notre Dame cleaned things up on 3rd down. Central Michigan was successful on just 1-of-7 3rd down attempts in the second half.

Looking ahead

All-in-all, this was a strong performance from a Notre Dame team that was looking ahead toward a potentially season-defining game next week against Ohio State.

Notre Dame’s Week 4 contest against the Buckeyes will likely determine whether or not they are College Football Playoff contenders this season. The Fighting Irish lost to Ohio State in Columbus last season.

Overall, Notre Dame is just 2-5 all-time against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won 5 in a row in this series. Notre Dame’s last win over the Buckeyes came back in 1936.