Delayed, not denied: Irish find spark against NC State after lightning stoppage

Notre Dame's Sam Hartman (10) hands the ball off to Audric Estime (7) during the second half of...
Notre Dame's Sam Hartman (10) hands the ball off to Audric Estime (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)(Associated Press)
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 11:41 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNDU) - Looking back at Saturday’s game, Notre Dame was off to a bit of a rough start against NC State before a weather delay postponed the action for an hour and 45 minutes.

Immediately after that delay though, Audric Estimé ripped an 80-yard touchdown run, which sparked momentum for a 45-point day for the Irish offense.

While waiting for the game to resume, head coach Marcus Freeman told his guys to forget about the sluggish start and come out aggressive.

“Just come out and go and do your job,” he said. “Like, who cares how the game is started? Who cares about the two-hour delay? Let’s go out there and play ball and be aggressive as heck. And that’s what I wanted our team to be. All week, we’re talking about how aggressive they are and those things, and rightfully so. That was a good football team that we faced. But I wanted our guys mentality (to be) we’re not going to play passive. We’re just as aggressive as any team we face.

“And I think when you have a team that’s been through some of that adversity, and then you got guys coming in like Sam (Hartman) that’s been through adversity to stay in the moment — like, to not be so focused on what happened in the past,” he continued. “Right now is all that matters. That’s, to me, what the mindset was during those times.”

The game wasn’t as easy as the score indicated much of the way for the Irish, as they were only up 24-17 after three quarters. But Notre Dame found another spark early in the fourth quarter thanks to thanks to interceptions on consecutive possessions.

The Irish won by a final score of 45-24 and moved up to No. 9 in latest Associated Press Top 25 college football poll.

The Irish now come back to South Bend for a two-game homestand starting with Central Michigan this upcoming Saturday. The game, which will be streamed exclusively on Peacock, will kick off on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

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