Marcus Freeman says Notre Dame offense was 'spooked' by pick-6 vs. Clemson
Marcus Freeman acknowledged that Sam Hartman’s pick-6 in the first half vs. Clemson on Saturday had an impact on the play-calling for the remainder of the game.
Hartman’s interception gave the Tigers a 24-6 lead over Notre Dame midway through the second quarter. The play gave Clemson plenty of momentum, but the Irish were able to respond with a field goal on their ensuing drive.
Still, Freeman said the pick-6 caused Notre Dame to try to lean on the running game more than it planned to in this contest.
“The pick six kind of spooks you,” Freeman said. “It spooks you. It spooks the quarterback a little bit. Makes you say, ‘OK, let’s go back the run game a little bit.'”
Notre Dame’s offensive struggles really began in the second half. The Irish scored touchdowns on their first two drives in the third quarter, but then the offense dried up.
They had six drives to end the game and none of them lasted more than 1:39 of game clock. Notre Dame’s offense gained a total of 60 yards on those six offensive drives to close out the game.
Hartman finished the game 13-of-30 for 146 yards and that costly interception.
Notre Dame wasn’t able to get the running game going, either. Audric Estime had 49 rushing yards on the game’s opening drive, which led to a field goal for the Irish. But he finished with just 87 yards on 17 carries.
Notre Dame is now 7-3 on the season as it enters its second bye week.