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Notre Dame football: Steve Angeli, takeaways lead Blue team to Blue-Gold win

IMG_7504by:Jack Soble04/20/24


With Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold game tied at 21 and under five minutes to go, the Blue team called a stop-and-go move to graduate wide receiver Kris Mitchell. He and junior quarterback Steve Angeli knew what would happen next.

“Me and Steve had talked before, like, ‘We’re gonna make a play today,'” Mitchell said. “I knew that was an opportunity.”

Angeli made the throw. A wide-open Mitchell caught it and waltzed in for a 62-yard touchdown. Combined with three Blue team takeaways, it was too much for the Gold team to overcome. The Blue team won a competitive, entertaining game 28-21.

“I thought the guys competed,” Washington said. “They took it serious. And I think we got better.”

Notre Dame sophomore safety Luke Talich forced the first turnover, intercepting sophomore Gold quarterback Kenny Minchey. Graduate defensive end RJ Oben strip-sacked Minchey at the end of the first half, and freshman defensive end Bryce Young forced a fumble on junior running back Gi’Bran Payne that Talich recovered in the second half.

Angeli, who has worked with the first team since senior quarterback Riley Leonard underwent his second right ankle surgery, finished the game 17-of-25 for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns.

“I think [what I accomplished] the most throughout spring, just finally getting an opportunity to get a lot of reps with the ones,” Angeli said. “I think from a leadership standpoint, just cement myself and build that type of rapport with the guys in the locker room.”

The Blue team got the scoring started, as Angeli delivered a strike to junior tight end Eli Raridon over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown. Raridon bobbled the ball, taking a hit from sophomore safety Adon Shuler, but he stayed with it and hauled it in for six points.

Blue extended the lead to 14-0 after freshman running back Aneyas Williams powered his way in for a 7-yard score, following Talich’s interception. Williams refused to go down, bouncing the run to the outside after breaking a tackle from freshman safety Kennedy Urlacher and breaking the left pylon.

Minchey, though, responded after the pick. He scrambled effectively and finished a methodical drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, cutting the Blue lead to 14-7.

After some more roadblocks presented by the Blue defense — Oben’s strip-sack and Young’s forced fumble among them — Minchey kept at it.

He got the Gold team in scoring position by hitting a wide-open sophomore wide receiver KK Smith down the right sideline. He followed that up with an even better throw: a 26-yard dime to freshman wide receiver Micah Gilbert for a touchdown that evened the game at 14.

However, Angeli came right back with a drive of his own that put the Blue team in front. He converted a fourth-and-six to sophomore wide receiver Jaden Greathouse for an 11-yard gain, then found freshman tight end Jack Larsen wide open to set up first-and-goal.

Sophomore running back Jeremiyah Love ran in for a 6-yard touchdown, but then came freshman quarterback CJ Carr. He converted a fourth down of his own and found Gilbert again for a 29-yard score.

Gilbert finished with 5 catches for 79 yards, leading the Gold team in receiving.

Each quarterback made mistakes. Angeli threw a low pass to Raridon on his first drive that fell incomplete and blew an opportunity for a chunk play. Minchey threw an ill-advised interception to Talich. Carr forced a ball that likely should have been intercepted by sophomore cornerback Christian Gray.

However. they all threw at least one touchdown pass and made their fair share of “wow” throws, too. The signal-callers were the stars of the show on Saturday.

Quarterback play aside, Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman was happy with the the way his team finished spring practice. He also believes Notre Dame’s roster is as good as it’s been since he arrived in South Bend.

“Now, it’s our job to build that talent and mold that talent and make sure we teach that talent to get to where we want to go,” Freeman said.

The Blue-Gold game wraps up spring ball for the Irish, who will be back on the field in an official capacity in August for fall camp.

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