Marshall upsets No. 8 ND 26-21; Freeman to 0-3 for Irish

Sep 10, 2022, 3:17 AM | Updated: 5:12 pm
Marshall offensive lineman Ethan Driskell throws up wide receiver Cam Pedro as they celebrate a tou...

Marshall offensive lineman Ethan Driskell throws up wide receiver Cam Pedro as they celebrate a touchdown against Notre Dame during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame fans could live with the Fighting Irish being overpowered in the fourth quarter against then-No. 2 Ohio State. Being pushed around by Marshall is a different story.

Notre Dame Stadium is supposed to be a place to shake down the thunder, not where the Thundering Herd celebrate a 26-21 victory.

The eighth-ranked Irish led 15-12 when Tyler Buchner ran in for a 1-yard run to open the fourth quarter Saturday, then added a 2-point conversion. It all went downhill from there for Notre Dame (0-2). Marcus Freeman is now the first Irish coach to open his career 0-3.

Freeman, the 36-year-old, first-time head coach, was asked whether his inexperience coaching was a factor in the poor start.

“If it’s my experience as head coach, and I don’t know if that’s a reason why, or the lack of execution? But it starts with me, right? It starts with me as the head coach and looking at myself and saying, ‘What do I have to do to help this football team and really look at everything we’re doing?’ Because the performance isn’t where we needed to be,” he said.

Steven Gilmore returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and Khalan Labron ran for 163 yards as Marshall shocked the Irish. Gilmore, the brother of Stephon Gilmore of the Indianapolis Colts, picked off a pass by 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.

“Obviously, a phenomenal day,” second-year Marshall coach Charlie Huff said. “I’m really proud of the way they competed. I’m really proud of their competitive spirit, the consistency of what we needed to do to come out with a win.”

Marshall (2-0), the first Sun Belt Conference team to play at Notre Dame Stadium, beat a team ranked in the top 10 for just the second time in school history. The Thundering Herd beat No. 6 Kansas State 27-20 in 2003.

Huff tried to downplay the significance of the win.

“In house, no disrespect to Notre Dame, in house, we expected it. Because we talked about this summer being a team that expects to win every time we touch the field,” Huff said.

Freeman, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after Brian Kelly left for LSU, had lost a bowl game to Oklahoma State and at Ohio State last week. This one will go down much differently.

The Irish had a streak of 42 straight wins against unranked opponents snapped. Freeman also said after the game Buchner was replaced in the closing minutes because of a shoulder injury. He said he didn’t know how severe it was.

The Herd took a 19-15 lead with 5:16 remaining when Henry Colombi completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Devin Miller to cap that 94-yard drive. The score was set up by a 42-yard run by Laborn, who broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and juked Irish safety Brandon Joseph before breaking free.

Any hope for a comeback by the Irish (0-2) ended when Owen Porter intercepted a pass by backup Irish quarterback Drew Pyne with three minutes remaining. Pyne threw a TD pass with 14 second left to cut the lead to five points.

Colombi was 16-of-21 passing for 145 yards and the Thundering Herd rushed for 219 yards on 50 carries.

The Irish, who struggled offensively a week earlier in a 21-10 loss to Ohio State with a play-it-safe, ball-control game plan, opened the playbook against the Herd but still struggled to get much going.

Buchner was 18-of-32 passing for 201 yards with two interceptions. Buchner also led the Irish in rushing with 44 yards on 13 carries, Michael Mayer had eight catches for 103 yards.

Freeman said it’s time for self-examination.

“I just told the team that we all have to look at ourselves, starting with the head coach on down and say, ‘Okay, what do I have to do? What do we have to do to fix the issues that we’re having, and not just focus on the end result.’ We have to look at the lack of executions in all phases of our team and where we can improve that,” Freeman said.


Marshall: Huff, a former Alabama and Penn State assistant, assembled a roster heavy on Power Five transfers such as Labron from Florida State for the school’s first season in the Sun Belt. It paid off with one of the biggest victories in school history.

Notre Dame: The Irish offense showed it still has a lot of work to do, and the honeymoon period for Freeman is probably over.


Freeman said the Irish can’t allow an opponent to drive 94 yards for a touchdown like the Herd did to take a 19-15 lead.

“The biggest thing was the lack of tackling. It’s too many times where, run or pass, we didn’t get the ball carrier down. You can’t let an offense drive it 95 yards at any moment, but especially not in the fourth quarter when the game’s on the line and you’re up and you’re trying to put the game away,” he said.


Freeman is the first Notre Dame coach to open his career 0-3. Kelly opened his stint with the Irish 1-2 and lost three of his first four. The last Irish coach to open with two straight losses was Lou Holtz in 1986, opening his career 1-4.

Freeman might have been a bit too confident before the game.

“There’s no better place in this country to get our first win of this new era but here at Notre Dame Stadium,” Freeman said to fans before the game.


The respect the Irish gained by playing Ohio State won’t be enough to overcome this poor showing.


Marshall: The Thundering Herd play at 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 4-0 wearing green during the Brian Kelly era — and will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak in them this time.


More AP college football: and Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
20 hours ago
Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez, left, pats Jonathan Heasley as manager Mike Matheny, center, co...
Associated Press

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, […]
20 hours ago
Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden goes up for a dunk during the first half of a preseason NBA basket...
Associated Press

Embiid, Harden begin as 76ers top Cavs in Mitchell’s debut

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid and James Harden were done with their preseason debuts long before Montrezl Harrell scored the go-ahead basket with 26 seconds left, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat Cleveland 113-112 on Wednesday night in Donovan Mitchell’s first game with the Cavaliers. Embiid had 12 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes before […]
20 hours ago
Central Florida coach Gus Malzahn, left, and SMU coach Rhett Lashlee talk before an NCAA college fo...
Associated Press

UCF scores 31 unanswered points, beats SMU in AAC opener

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — John Rhys Plumlee threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the second half to Ryan O’Keefe, and UCF scored 31 unanswered points to beat SMU 41-19 on Wednesday night in a game postponed because of tropical weather. UCF trailed 13-10 at halftime before scoring four touchdowns in the […]
20 hours ago
New York Mets' Mark Vientos celebrates with James McCann (33) after they scored on a three-run home...
Associated Press

Mets prep for playoffs with 9-2 rout of Nationals

NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets geared up for the playoffs with a 9-2 rout of the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, completing a fantastic regular season with the second-most wins in franchise history. Jeff McNeil won the major league batting crown without taking a plate appearance, and New York (101-61) […]
20 hours ago
Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly waves to the crowd after a baseball game against the Atlanta Br...
Associated Press

Mattingly wins his last game as Marlins manager, tops Braves

MIAMI (AP) — Don Mattingly went out as a winner in his final game as Miami’s manager when rookie Peyton Burdick homered and drove in four runs to lead the Marlins over the NL East champion Atlanta Braves 12-9 on Wednesday. Matt Olson hit his 34th homer and Marcell Ozuna hit his 23rd for the […]
20 hours ago
Marshall upsets No. 8 ND 26-21; Freeman to 0-3 for Irish