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Marcus Freeman Takes Responsibility for Notre Dame Upset Loss: 'It Starts with Me'

Erin WalshSeptember 11, 2022

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish were upset by unranked Marshall 26-21 on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, and head coach Marcus Freeman is taking the blame for the team's 0-2 start to the season.

"We have to look at ourselves as individuals, the whole team, starting with the head coach on down, and say, 'What do I have to do?' 'What do we have to do to fix the issues?'" Freeman told reporters after the loss. "We have to look at the lack of execution in all phases of our team."

He added: "This is an evaluation of everything we're doing. It starts with me, it starts with me as a head coach."

Freeman, who took over after Brian Kelly was hired as head coach of the LSU Tigers at the end of last season, is the first Notre Dame head coach to lose his first three games.

The Fighting Irish lost his coaching debut in the Fiesta Bowl last season, which was a 37-35 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and also lost their 2022 season opener last weekend against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

After using a limited playbook against Ohio State, Freeman opened it up a little more against Marshall, but the offense still failed to find much success.

Quarterback Tyler Buchner completed just 18 of 32 passes for 201 yards and two interceptions. He also led Notre Dame on the ground with 13 carries for 44 yards and two scores.

The Fighting Irish held a 15-12 lead over the Thundering Herd early in the fourth quarter, but Marshall went up 19-15 with a little more than five minutes remaining in the game when quarterback Henry Colombi connected with Devin Miller for a three-yard score.

Marshall put the game just out of reach when Steven Gilmore returned a Buchner interception for a touchdown to extend the Thundering Herd's lead to 26-15.

Drew Pyne replaced Buchner after the pick six, but he tossed an interception on the next drive, which allowed Marshall to run down the clock even further. After the Thundering Herd punted, Pyne led the team on a touchdown drive, but it was too little, too late for the Fighting Irish.

The season won't get any easier for Notre Dame, which will fall even further in the AP Top 25 poll after starting the season ranked No. 5 in the nation. The Fighting Irish are set to face California, North Carolina and BYU over the next three weeks.

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