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Steven Gilmore returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and Khalan Labron rushed for 163 yards as Marshall shocked No. 8 Notre Dame 26-21 on Saturday, making Marcus Freeman the first coach of the Fighting Irish to lose their first three games.
Gilmore, the brother of Indianapolis Colts’ Stephon Gilmore, caught a pass from Tyler Buchner with 4:35 left, raced to the end zone and then jumped into the stands where Marshall fans were already celebrating the victory.
Marshall (2-0), the first Sun Belt Conference team to play at Notre Dame Stadium, beat a top-10 ranked team for only the second time in school history. The Thundering Herd beat No. 6 Kansas State 27-20 in 2003.
Freeman, the 36-year-old first head coach to be promoted after Brian Kelly left for LSU, lost a bowl game to Oklahoma State and Ohio State last week. This one will be very different for hopeful Notre Dame fans.
The Irish have enjoyed a 42-game winning streak against unranked opponents.
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The Herd took a 19-15 lead with 5:16 to go when Henry Colombi completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Devin Miller. The score was set up by a 42-yard run from Laborn, who broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and blasted Irish safety Brandon Joseph before breaking free.
Any hope of a comeback for the Irish (0-2) was ended when Owen Porter intercepted a pass from Irish quarterback Drew Pyne three minutes from time. Pyne threw a TD pass with 14 seconds left to cut the lead to five points.
Colombi passed 16 of 21 for 145 yards and the Thundering Herd rushed for 221 yards on 49 carries.
The Irish, who struggled offensively a week earlier in a 21-10 loss to Ohio State with a sure game plan and ball control, opened the playbook against the herd but still have some difficulty. hard to get things done.
Buchner passed 18 of 32 for 201 yards with two interceptions. Buchner also led the Irish on the ground with 44 yards on 13 carries, Michael Mayer had eight catches for 103 yards.
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The Irish took a 15-12 lead early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run from Buchner. He then kept it and ran wide to the right for the 2-point conversion. But the Irish couldn’t mount much attack after that.
Two games with just over eight minutes left in the third quarter epitomized Notre Dame’s struggles. On Notre Dame 47’s third and second, the Irish couldn’t get Audric Estime’s first two-run down, missing 6 inches as the line couldn’t be pushed much.
This led to a Thundering Herd drive, highlighted by a back pass from Colombi to Talik Keaton along the left sideline for a 30-yard gain, but the drive stalled after Cam Fancher took the quarterback stint for Colombi. Marshall drove to the 4-yard line before settling for a 20-yard field goal to go ahead 12-7.
Marshall: Sophomore coach Charles Huff, a former Alabama and Penn State assistant, put together a heavy roster of Power Five transfers such as Florida State’s Labron for the school’s first season in the Sun Belt . It paid off with one of the biggest wins in school history.
Notre Dame: The Irish attack have shown they still have a lot of work to do, and the honeymoon period for Freeman is probably over.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY
The respect the Irish have earned by facing Ohio State will not be enough to overcome this poor performance.
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Marshall: The Thundering Herd play Bowling Green on Saturday, their first meeting since 2010.
Notre Dame: The Irish will wear green jerseys when they host Cal on Saturday. It will be the first time the Irish have worn green since 2018. The Irish were wearing green 4-0 in the Brian Kelly era – and will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak this time.