SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Steven Gilmore returned for a 37-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, while Callan Labine ran for 163 yards and Marshall stunned No. 1. 8 Notre Dame 26-21 On Saturday, Marcus Freeman became the first Irish fighting coach to lose his first three fights.
Gilmore, brother of Indianapolis Colts’ Stephen Gilmore, took Tyler Buchner’s pass with 4:35 left, rushed into the end zone, and jumped into the Marshall fans already in the game. Victory in the stands.
Marshall (2-0) was the first Sun Belt League team to play at Notre Dame Stadium, beating a top-10 team for the second time in school history. The Thunder beat No. 6 Kansas State 2003 27-20.
“I’m really proud of the way our players play,” Marshall coach Charles Huff said in a live interview after the game. “Notre Dame is a hell of a football team. Hats off to them, but our players have been saying ‘control what we can control’ all week. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Freeman, the 36-year-old first-time head coach who was promoted after Brian Kelly left LSU, lost a bowl game at Oklahoma State and Ohio State last week.
Marcus Freeman is the first head coach in Notre Dame history to lose the first three games: the Irish bowl game, the season opener against Chicago. Ohio State University and now Marshall. pic.twitter.com/vzxE3DNa4y
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 10, 2022
It will be very different for hopeful Notre Dame fans, many of whom packed the stadium. In all three losses, Notre Dame led the second half.
“There’s no better place in this country to get our first win of this new era than at Notre Dame Stadium,” Freeman told the crowd after walking across campus before the game earlier Saturday. “
The Irish have won 42 consecutive games against unranked opponents.
The Herd led 19-15 with 5:16 left when Henry Colombe, a transfer from Texas Tech, completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Devin Miller. The score was run from 42 yards by Labone, who broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and knocked down Irish safety Brandon Joseph before breaking free.
“With Marshall’s history and heritage, we showed up and played hard,” Huff said. “These games are not as important to us as they are to others because our kids are locked into the process all the time.”
Hopes of a comeback for the Irish (0-2) were dashed when Owen Porter intercepted a pass from Irish quarterback Drew Pine with three minutes left. Pine threw a TD pass with 14 seconds left to cut the lead to five.
“It’s never easy to get here after a loss, no matter who it is,” Freeman said in a post-game news conference. “It’s disappointing. We didn’t execute, it came down to execution.”
Colombi was 16 of 21 for 145 yards passing, and Thundering Herd had 49 passes for 221 yards.
The Irishman, who struggled offensively with a safe, ball-handling game plan in a 21-10 loss to Ohio State a week ago, opened the script against Herd but still struggled to make progress.
“We have to see ourselves as individuals, as a whole team, starting with the head coach and saying, ‘What do I do?’ “What do we have to do to address these issues? “We had to look at the lack of execution at all stages of our team,” Freeman said. “
Buchner went 18 of 32 for 201 yards with two interceptions. He also led the Irish in rushing for 44 yards on 13 carries while Michael Mayer completed eight catches for 103 yards.
The Irish led 15-12 on a one-yard run by Buchner early in the fourth quarter. He then saved the ball and ran right on a 2-point conversion. But after that, the Irish couldn’t attack much.
Two games with just over eight minutes left in the third quarter exemplified Notre Dame’s struggles. In the third and second innings at Notre Dame 47, the Irish couldn’t get the first drop on Audric Estime’s two carries because the line couldn’t get much push, so it shortened 6 inches.
This led to Thundering Herd’s kickoff, particularly Colombi’s 30-yard pass back to Talik Keaton along the left line, but the kickoff stalled after Cam Fancher took over Colombi’s quarterback. Marshall drove to the 4-yard line and then made a 12-7 lead with a 20-yard field goal.
“It’s an assessment of everything we’ve done,” Freeman said. “It started with me, started with me as the head coach.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.