By Omar Ureña
South Bend, IN., November 25, 2022.
It’s a postcard from the prairies, a magical afternoon, a beautiful cool day with clouds and the sun setting out like an impressionist painting, it’s time for the oldest tradition of taking the ball to the end zone in an unforgettable dream and a surreal afternoon enhanced for the beauty of the snow. #18 Notre Dame is ready to take on the Boston College Eagles.
The atmosphere is exciting at Notre Dame Stadium. The temperature on the field is 26 degrees. Today the Fighting Irish say goodbye to their seniors in the coldest home game since BYU in 2013 (also 26). With 20 mph winds, the temperature feels like 22.
After Emmett Morehead’s pass is intercepted at their 13-yard line by the freshman Ben Morrison (20), the Fighting Irish show power with two tight ends and Logan Diggs runs 1 yard for TD. Big explosive weapons on the attack. Drew Pyne throws a 1-yard pass to Matt Salerno for a TD. Notre Dame 17 Boston College 0 (1st).
After the TD a hero appears in the snow as the mighty Blizzard. Who else but the pride of Brophy Prep College in Arizona? Benjamin Morrison with his second pick of the day, this time freezing the BC receiver in the end zone for a touchback. Just as the snow falls at Notre Dame Stadium, Gabriel Rubio reads the quarterback, follows his instincts and tries to go for the sack. Marist Liufau is inspired by making great coverage and then recovering a fumble at the BC 42-yard line. Later Audric Estime (7) runs down the right side for a touchdown. On a 1st and 10 at the Eagles 12 Chris Tyree (25) runs up the middle for another Fighting Irish TD. Notre Dame 37 Boston College 0 (2nd).
On a 2nd and 10 at BC’s 48 yard line Gabriel Rubio was on the left side, he pushed the lineman as Laufey, one of the greatest ‘Frost Giants”, this is a real superhero fight, Gabriel disrupts the offensive line, jumps and the QB feels trapped, then Jack Kiser attacks furiously and forced his third career fumble and first of the season, the ball is recovered by Isiah Foskey. On the last play of the first half, Eagles QB Emmett Morehead is sacked by Isaiah Foskey for an 11-yard loss. The #7 senior thus reached 25 sacks in his career, setting a new all-time record for sacks in his career at Notre Dame, surpassing Justin Tuck’s 24.
Ben Morrison’s 3rd pick comes as snow falls hard on the gridiron at Notre Dame Stadium. Enthusiastic fans chant “Let’s Go Irish!” Ben thus equals the Notre Dame record for 3 interceptions in a single game that he and 14 other players hold. The last Irish player to intercept three passes in one game was Harrison Smith against Miami in the 2010 Sun Bowl. Morrison’s five interceptions in 2022 is the most by any player since Manti Te’o intercepted seven passes ten years ago.
Audric Estime runs 6 yards for another TD, Blake Grupe does the extra good. Absolute dominance of the Fighting Irish in this shutout over the Eagles.
Noise, noise, noise! The fans are celebrating the sack made by Xavier Watts (26). Gabriel Rubio and the rest of the defense were pretty fired up. Gabriel is from St Louis, so he knows exactly how to have fun in the snow, chasing down QBs and hitting dudes. His methodical way of doing his maneuvers, practicing his craft in a sacred way, a mystical approach to the toughness of a defensive tackle, this is the picture on the field, there are wolves trying to hunt eagles.
It was again Rubio’s time to fight. In the second half, he took to the steppe like a Steppenwolf, carrying his pride and honor like Jack Frost in the snow, dreaming of a dramatic and heroic landscape on the Notre Dame gridiron. On every play he gave his best, he is impacting, it doesn’t matter if it rains or snows, #97 chases the one with the ball until the whistle is heard. Gabriel is as hard as an iceberg, the rock of the Frost Giants in the arctic cold, a massive ice structure for taking down enemies and collapsing an entire offensive line.
In the 4th quarter he stayed strong, unshakable, stoic, giving freshman Jaylen Sneed (17) a chance to drop RB Alex Broome (20). Then Gabriel chased after the QB when he ran away on the left side, chased him and almost got him, then he dove like ‘Polar Boy’ in front of a cave, while the frozen runners were getting smashed, he almost got the sack, he was pressing in each play, he did not let the other win, that is the mentality of this player, whose hunger determines his desire to be the best, coach Freeman knows it and shared it with GráfIco Sports.
“He is a tough guy. He is a tough guy. He is high motor, high energy. He has exceeded my expectations of the past year. I thought Gabe was going to be a good player? Absolutely. I didn’t know how soon he was going to be. And he has exceeded my expectations. He has been a great addition to this team this year.”
Gabriel Rubio, had a tackle and a hurry. Jaylen Sneed and junior LB JD Bertrand led the Irish defense with five tackles each. The Irish defense executed well by forcing five turnovers, which generated 27 points for the offense.
This day will be forever remembered by senior Irishmen who enjoyed playing in the snow. Impeccable defense and a devastating rushing attack that recorded 281 yards. Audric Estime ran for 71 yards. Logan Diggs was an extraordinary snowmobile, he ran for 122 yards on 15 carries averaging 8 yards per carry. RB # 3 shared with Gráfico Sports what his personal challenges were for this game specifically.
“I would probably say our challenge as running backs was first and foremost, ball safety, protecting the quarterback, protecting the ball. And secondly, I would probably say, you know, not let the cold dictate how we perform. So we had to keep going. We had to keep playing. Keep playing through whatever condition it was. And today we had that mentality that we want to have a record day.”
And that is the link with Chris Tyree and Audric Estime, they support each other, they are brothers and share the same instincts to overcome defensive schemes, it was no exception for Boston College. And everyone scored and was happy in the snow like in a fairy tale.
“And all of us had a chance to get in the end zone today. So that was very important to us. I mean, I love those guys. They are both my brothers. They welcomed me with open arms. And that bond will be forever.”
Notre Dame has rushed for the third time this season and has five straight games with 35 or more points. The Irish haven’t done that since 1943 and have never scored 35 or more points in six straight games. It was a beautiful, magical day at the final game of the 2022 season at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame improves to 18-9 against the Eagles in the series and has won nine straight contests.
The Irish close out the regular season next weekend at the Los Angeles Coliseum when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the USC Trojans.
Notre Dame 44 Boston College 0 (F)
Follow Omar Ureña on Twitter: @omarurena_