Senior Day style points
Your Notre Dame Fighting Irish are a double-digit-win team for the fifth consecutive season following a 55-0 annihilation of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Senior Day. With this team seemingly on cruise control to close out the season and one last tilt with the Stanford Cardinal to come, let’s take a look at some things we saw in this contest to watch in the future – short-term and long-term.
Isaiah Foskey is Heading For a Big Payday
Any NFL scouts looking to see what Notre Dame’s top pass-rusher is capable of got a full showcase on Saturday. The junior from California (who, fun fact, played for one of my rival high schools) was a terror in the backfield who had Jordan Yates running for his life. Foskey’s pass rush generated not one, but two defensive touchdowns – the first a pick-six that landed in the arms of Jack Kiser, the second a strip-sack recovered and returned by Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.
Foskey flew relatively under the radar in the preseason when it came to 2022 NFL draft hype. As the season has progressed, however, with Foskey among the nation’s leaders in sacks, racking up TFLs and pressures each week, and demonstrating an elite combination of size and athleticism, his stock should rise significantly. Get ready to see Foskey’s name called early should he go to the draft in 2022.
Notre Dame’s Running Game Has a Very Bright Future
Kyren Williams got to enjoy a relatively light workload in his (likely) final home game, with 56 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries. The blowout circumstances of this game created opportunities for other backs to shine. While Logan Diggs only had two carries, he got in the end zone twice – once on a red-zone carry and once on an impressively executed screen pass. The newcomer this week was Audric Estime, who racked up 61 impressive and physical yards on Notre Dame’s final possession. If you follow this site regularly, you’ve heard about Estime’s size and physicality for months now, and it was great to finally the bulldozer in action. With what we have already seen from Diggs and Chris Tyree, the Irish have the makings of a fearsome three-headed backfield in 2022.
Tyler Buchner also impressed as a runner in this game, with a monster 68-yard gain on his opening carry. With Notre Dame’s offensive line rapidly improving and returning much of its personnel in 2022, Buchner – notwithstanding some needed development in the passing game – the likely starter at quarterback, and the raw talent the Irish will have in the backfield, fans should be excited for what this offense can produce on the ground moving forward.
Senior Day Magic is Still Real, and Still Beautiful
The best Senior Days are the ones that provide outgoing players with some special moments, and this one did not disappoint. The headliner is, of course, Myron Tagovailoa’s aforementioned scoop-and-score. A big-man touchdown is always fun, but when said big man is a fifth-year senior captain playing in his final home game? Poetry.
Beyond that we had: Bo Bauer flying all over the field racking up 9 tackles and 1.5 TFLs; Jack Coan playing his best game since the opener, with his family in attendance; Kevin Austin hauling in a pair of long balls; Josh Lugg de-cleating Tariq Carpenter on Diggs’ touchdown catch; and George Takacs getting to rumble down the sideline and nearly score.
Some of the seniors in this game will be back next year, and some will be gone. For those who did play their last home game, it was an appropriately dominant sendoff. These guys’ classes led the way in re-establishing a standard of excellence for this program. That standard is their legacy, and based on what we saw from their younger counterparts in extended action on Saturday, it’s in good hands.