Irish to make use of underdog standing as OSU motivation

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Notre Dame and coach Marcus Freeman are getting ready for the primary soccer recreation of the season towards Freeman’s alma mater, Ohio State, and are in search of any benefit they will get.

When requested at his media availability about his group being a 17.5-point underdog on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC), Freeman mentioned he did not know the stat however would use it for motivation this week.

“We’ll use that within the group assembly at present — it is good to know,” Freeman mentioned. “I have never paid a lot consideration to the unfold. However I keep in mind the one time we had been on School GameDay, I mentioned simply maintain making it go up and up.”

Each groups are ranked as preseason top-five opponents with Ohio State at No. 2 and Notre Dame at No. 5, however the 17.5-point unfold by Caesars Sportsbook is simply the fourth time up to now 45 years a group has been favored by 17 or extra factors in an AP top-five matchup. Notre Dame confronted Alabama in such an occasion within the 2021 School Soccer Playoff semifinal when the Irish misplaced to the Crimson Tide 31-14.

The Buckeyes are favored with an 84% likelihood to win, in response to ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index, and a giant a part of that final result will probably be whether or not visiting Notre Dame can cease Ohio State’s high-powered offense.

Freeman mentioned he watched movie on the Buckeyes final season, however the offense is so versatile, there is not one space you’ll be able to give attention to. As an alternative, he desires his group to ensure it stops the run, which is able to in flip assist with shutting down the move recreation.

“If you happen to do not cease the run, they’re going to run all of it day lengthy, so the power to cease the run is most essential,” Freeman mentioned. “We all know they’re very gifted in throwing the ball, however it’s simply the mindset of, if you cannot cease the run, they will throw it, they will run and do no matter they wish to do. You may have to have the ability to cease the run after which be capable to give totally different appears defensively.”

Freeman is aware of what it is prefer to attempt to cease an Ohio State offense, as he performed linebacker for the Buckeyes from 2004 to 2008. Regardless of his ties to this system, he has been capable of keep targeted on his activity as the pinnacle coach of Notre Dame. He is trying ahead to going again to the Horseshoe to educate in such an essential recreation and says he has put all of the feelings of teaching towards his alma mater behind him.

“I am fairly, proper now, impassive about going again to Ohio State, however extra it is like concerning the feelings you might have is like we get to go play an incredible group,” Freeman mentioned. “You get to go play in an incredible, hostile atmosphere and that is to me the place the emotion is. Like all competitor, you get these butterflies, you get that pleasure about going to a spot like that and going to compete towards an incredible program like Ohio State.”

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