New Notre Dame quarterback already locked in with Ohio State football in the distance: Buckeye Breakfast

Published Aug. 28, 2023, 5:00 a.m.
By Nathan Baird,
COLUMBUS, Ohio —Ohio State football’s season opens Saturday at Indiana, but the first major test will require a return to the Hoosier state three weeks later.
Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman gave the Buckeye staff some early film to break down of how he looks with his new team. He completed 19 of 23 passes (82.6%) for 251 yards and four touchdowns in the Fighting Irish’s 42-3 victory over Navy in Dublin, Ireland.
Worth noting that Hartman did not complete even 70% of his passes in any game last season for Wake Forest. Also worth noting Navy finished 124th out of 131 in opposing quarterback rating last season. The Irish opened with an opponent primed to be picked apart.
Still, it’s a season-opening reminder that the Notre Dame team Ohio State will visit on Sept. 23 is more dynamic offensively than the one it beat 21-10 last season.
You may remember then-Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner (now at Alabama) connected with then-Notre Dame receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr. (now an OSU cornerback) for 54 yards on the opening play last season at Ohio Stadium. Buchner completed 9 of 17 passes (52.9%) for 123 yards the rest of the night.
Ryan Day has not yet been tripped up by the sort of unexpected road loss that caught Urban Meyer at the end of his tenure. The through line from Iowa in 2017 and Purdue in 2018 to this Notre Dame team, though, is Hartman.
Iowa’s Nate Stanley was a seventh-round NFL Draft pick. Purdue’s David Blough went undrafted. Yet both were savvy enough to shred OSU defenses by taking advantage of better NFL talent elsewhere on the roster.
Barring injury, Hartman will move into the NCAA’s career passing top 10 later this season. He also probably tops out as a mid-round NFL Draft pick, and maybe a late one at that. Yet he is also exactly the kind of quarterback who has welcomed recent Buckeye teams into his building and helped ruin a season.
Beating up on Navy doesn’t mean much, beyond showing Hartman already appears comfortable and in synch from the start.
Mystery men
A starting quarterback has been chosen for Saturday’s opener at Indiana.
Hoosiers coach Tom Allen isn’t going to tell us who, though. (Wait, you thought I meant the other quarterback battle?) Allen said last week both Brendan Sorsby and Tayven Jackson have “improved a lot” through the preseason battle. He knows which one will start, but we won’t know until Saturday afternoon.
Allen did the same thing last year, picking a quarterback and informing the candidates but not making a public declaration. Connor Bazelak threw for 330 yards in an upset of Illinois that endured as the highlight of a 4-8 season.
Day said one benefit of his own lack of finality on a season-opening starter is making the opponent prepare for two quarterbacks. Indiana probably needs more than a cloak-and-dagger quarterback approach to tighten the 29.5-point spread for Saturday’s game.
Who’s counting?
Depending on how you count the vacated wins from the 2010 season, Ohio State has the longest opening-day winning streak in the nation.
The last such loss came in 1999, when No. 12 Miami beat the No. 9 Buckeyes 23-12 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in the Kickoff Classic. That means 23 consecutive season-opening victories since, extended by last year’s victory over Notre Dame.
Alabama has won 21 straight openers, with none vacated due to NCAA punishment.
If OSU wins at Indiana on Saturday, the Hoosiers will become the fifth team the Buckeyes have beaten twice on opening day during this streak. The others are Akron, Miami (Ohio), Navy and Youngstown State.
Other opening-day victories during the streak came against Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Fresno State, Marshall (from 2010), Minnesota, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and Washington.

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