No. 8 Notre Dame Upset by Unranked Marshall, Marcus Freeman 1st ND Coach to Start 0-3

Erin WalshSeptember 10, 2022

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 10: Tyler Buchner #12 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish throws a pass against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the first half at Notre Dame Stadium on September 10, 2022 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish dropped to 0-2 on the season with a 26-21 loss to the unranked Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.

It's been a tough start to the season for the Fighting Irish under first-year head coach Marcus Freeman, who previously served as the program's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

Freeman also served as the team's interim coach for the Fiesta Bowl (a 37-35 loss to Oklahoma State) last season after Brian Kelly took the LSU job. As he has yet to record a win as the team's head coach, Freeman has made some unfortunate history:

ESPN College Football @ESPNCFB

Marcus Freeman is the first head coach in Notre Dame history to lose his first three games: the Irish's bowl game, season opener vs. Ohio State and now Marshall. <a href="https://t.co/vzxE3DNa4y">pic.twitter.com/vzxE3DNa4y</a>

For Marshall, this is its first win over a top-10 ranked opponent since 2003 when they defeated Kansas State, per Adam Silverstein of CBS Sports. Notre Dame entered Saturday with a 42-game win streak against unranked teams, per The Athletic's Matt Brown.

Both Marshall and Notre Dame were held scoreless through the first quarter.

The Thundering Herd broke through first in the second quarter on a four-yard rushing touchdown from running back Khalan Laborn. However, Rece Verhoff missed the extra-point attempt, leaving Marshall with a 6-0 lead.

Notre Dame didn't respond until quarterback Tyler Buchner rushed in for a one-yard touchdown with three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Blake Grupe made the extra point to give the Fighting Irish a 7-6 lead.

Notre Dame Football @NDFootball

.<a href="https://twitter.com/tylerbuchner?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tylerbuchner</a> takes it himself<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoIrish?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoIrish</a> <a href="https://t.co/IMpY6EwD6Q">pic.twitter.com/IMpY6EwD6Q</a>

However, Marshall ended the half with a field goal to take a 9-7 lead to the locker room.

The Thundering Herd added another three points on a field goal on their second drive of the second half, and the Fighting Irish didn't respond until early in the fourth quarter on another rushing score from Buchner, who also converted a two-point attempt to put Notre Dame up 15-12.

Notre Dame Football @NDFootball

Make that two for <a href="https://twitter.com/tylerbuchner?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tylerbuchner</a><br> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoIrish?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoIrish</a> <a href="https://t.co/QgL8Yka2sV">pic.twitter.com/QgL8Yka2sV</a>

From there, everything went down hill for the Fighting Irish.

Marshall quarterback Henry Colombi found Devin Miller for a three-yard touchdown pass to give the Thundering Herd a 19-15 lead, which they would not give up, with about five minutes remaining in the game.

Not even one minute later, Buchner threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Marshall's Steven Gilmore to give the Thundering Herd a 26-15 lead.

Drew Pyne replaced Buchner after the pick-six, but he then threw an interception to Marshall's Owen Porter.

After the Thundering Herd punted on the ensuing drive, Pyne connected with Michael Mayer for a five-yard score to cut Marshall's lead to 26-21. However, it was too little, too late, for the team that began the season ranked fifth in the AP Top 25 poll.

Buchner finished the game having completed 18 of 32 passes for 201 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also led the team in the running game, having rushed for 44 yards and two scores.

Pyne completed three of six passes for 20 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Mayer led all receivers with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.

If Notre Dame's struggles continue into Week 3, changes could be coming. They'll face another tough opponent in California on Sept. 17 before a matchup against North Carolina on Sept. 24.