Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman defends having only 10 men on field on final plays vs Ohio State

Notre Dame allowed Ohio State’s game-winning score with one second left, and college football fans who tuned into the final play noticed the Fighting Irish were down a player on the final play. Ohio State running back Chip Trayanum got the push he needed to go across the plane. The touchdown gave Ohio State a…

Notre Dame allowed Ohio State’s game-winning score with one second left, and college football fans who tuned into the final play noticed the Fighting Irish were down a player on the final play.

Ohio State running back Chip Trayanum got the push he needed to go across the plane. The touchdown gave Ohio State a 17-14 lead and victory. Confusion over the play was a talking point after the game.

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Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord said he was just trying to work against what he called Notre Dame’s “soft” late-game defense. McCord didn’t realize that the Fighting Irish only had 10 men on the field for the final two plays of the game.

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman acknowledged the mishap. He said he wanted to avoid a penalty that would have moved the ball a half-yard closer to the line or give Ohio State another play.

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“To me, it was like, ‘Hey, don’t give them another opportunity to get settled and to try to make a different call,’ right?” Freeman said via 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.'”

Freeman didn’t have any time-outs to make an adjustment.

“And I thought maybe they would do the same thing they did the snap before, and then they ended up running the ball. 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 hasn’t won a game in the series since 1936.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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