Notre Dame’s 17–14 last-second loss to Ohio State on Saturday was painful enough. But the defeat was even more embarrassing amid the revelation that the Fighting Irish had only 10 men on the field during their final two defensive plays of the game.
To avoid such a blunder in the future, Irish coach Marcus Freeman said Monday that the team will use a signal to draw a penalty and stop the game in such a situation, per ESPN’s Heather Dinich. Thus, coaches can then send an 11th player onto the field.
“What we learned from that situation is that, (1), don’t ever be in the situation where you’ve got 10 guys on the field,” Freeman told Dinich. “But (2), if something happens, we have to have a signal to tell somebody to jump offsides and touch somebody.”
Notre Dame’s gaffe was especially costly on the last snap of the game when the Irish had no one lined up at right defensive end. With no obstacle in the way, the Buckeyes’ Chip Trayanum ran the ball for a 1-yard touchdown through the left side of the line.
Following the game, Freeman explained that the Irish knew they were short one defensive lineman. But with no timeouts, coaches didn’t want to risk a penalty by rushing a player onto the field. Plenty of observers pointed out that a penalty wouldn’t have cost Notre Dame that much, as Ohio State was already near the goal line.
According to Freeman, he and his coaches won’t make such a mistake again.