Notre Dame's final-second 17-14 loss to Ohio State in a top-10 matchup might have been a victory for the Fighting Irish ... had they been at full strength on the field for the final moments. Notre Dame had just 10 men on the field for the final two plays of the game, the latter of which resulted in a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run by Buckeyes RB Chip Trayanum.
Fighting Irish coach Marcus Freeman said after the game he wanted to get a fourth defensive lineman on the field for the final play following a Notre Dame timeout, but he didn't want to receive a penalty that would've inched Ohio State closer to the goal line for one final play.
"To me it was like, 'Hey, don't give them another opportunity to get settled and to try to make a different call,' right?" said Freeman, per ESPN. "Hey, guys, stay off the field. Let's not give them a freebie from the half-yard line and let's try to stop them.
"And I thought maybe they would do the same thing they did the snap before, and then they ended up running the ball," Freeman continued. "So I got to watch the play and see where the ball hit. But, yeah, that's why that I made that decision."
Notre Dame had one final chance to win the game but its final lateral attempt failed. The Irish were seeking their first win over an AP top-6 ranked opponent in South Bend since beating USC in 1973.
After falling behind 10-0 in the third quarterer, Notre Dame responded by scoring 14 unanswered to take a four point lead with 8:22 remaining. Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman connected with freshman Rico Flores Jr. on a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the Irish their first and only lead of the night, which would be relinquished in the final seconds.
Notre Dame (4-1) travels to Durham, North Carolina next weekend for a matchup with No. 18 Duke, while Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) host Maryland on Oct. 7.