Sam Hartman failed to pick up a late-game fourth-and-1 in his team's crushing loss to Ohio State last week. The Notre Dame football quarterback was forced to use his legs on a similarly massive play against Duke on Saturday night, but needed 16 yards to pick up the first down and extend the Fighting Irish's potentially game-winning drive. Is it any surprise the sixth-year senior quarterback found a way to do it? Definitely not to head coach Marcus Freeman.
What a freaking 4th down run by Sam Hartman pic.twitter.com/dpI4gLA6qM
— Alex Kielar (@AlexTBPK) October 1, 2023
Hartman's pivotal 17-yard run set the stage for Audric Estime's go-ahead touchdown with just 31 seconds left, sealing Notre Dame's hard-fought 21-14 victory over the Blue Devils. Before the game-deciding drive began, Freeman told his players to forget their prior offensive struggles against both Duke and Ohio State, focusing solely on each individual snap.
Mission accomplished, no shock to Freeman given the poise Hartman's shown from the moment he got to South Bend in January.
“When Sam Hartman is your quarterback, you have a lot of faith,” Freeman said after the game, per ESPN's Andrea Adelson. “He's been in those moments; he's not a first-time quarterback. This moment wasn't too big for him. I don't want to just give credit to one person, but the plays he made on that series were huge, the ability to run for it, I truly believe in my heart he learned from last week's fourth-and-1.”
Hartman completed half of his 30 throws against Duke, finishing with 222 yards without a touchdown or an interception. Needless to say, it wasn't the most efficient nor prettiest performance of the former Wake Forest star's lengthy college football career. By the time the clock struck all zeroes, though, the game had definitely become one Hartman will never forget.
“You [have] all the feelings that you can think of and fathom running off that field,” he said. “Those moments are very few and fleeting. You only get 12, and if you're lucky you win most of those and then the other ones are heartbreaking.”
Notre Dame football, 5-1, travels to take on Louisville next Saturday.