Notre Dame legend weighs in on Ohio State following Lou Holtz’s comments: ‘You’ve got to give them a nod’
Legendary college football coach Lou Holtz created a media frenzy last weekend when he weighed in on the heavily anticipated Week 4 matchup between Ohio State and Notre Dame.
Despite drawing the ire of Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day with his initial comments, Holtz doubled down on his belief Notre Dame “was a better football team” even after it lost 17-14 in the final seconds of the game.
Pro Football Hall of Fame running back and Notre Dame legend Jerome Bettis weighed in on the debate during an interview with Fox News Digital this week.
While he seemingly agreed with his former coach about Notre Dame’s level of physicality, Bettis credited the Buckeyes for being “the better football team” because of their ability to pull off a win under pressure.
“Watching the game, Notre Dame definitely was the physical team at the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense. Yes. But I will say this: Ohio State was definitely physical as well,” Bettis, who attended the game, recalled.
“But, you know what, Ohio State won the football game. So, at the end of the day, you’ve got to give them a nod and tip your cap because they found a way to win at the moment of truth. They put the ball in the end zone, and that’s all you could ask your football team to do. So, I think, as it stands … yes, I think Notre Dame was the more physical team, but Ohio State was the better football team because they were more prepared for the moment.”
During an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Saturday, Holtz said he believed Notre Dame was a “better football team” than Ohio State and pointed to what he said was a lack of physicality against its opponents.
On Tuesday, Holtz stood by his comments after Day called him out during his on-field interview after the game.
“I don’t feel bad about saying it because I believed it,” Holtz said on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me.” “Notre Dame was a better football team.
“He’s a great coach. He’s done a tremendous job. He’s a great offensive mind,” Holtz added of Day. “Ohio State’s a good football team. I don’t think they’re a great football team. He can go after me all he wants.”
Bettis got to witness Notre Dame’s toughness “firsthand,” and said he expects big things from the program this season because of it.
“It was special to see how aggressive the offensive line and defensive line were. They were able to control the line of scrimmage,” Bettis said. “And I think that’s something that can’t be said for Notre Dame teams in years past.
“I just think this is the makeup of a team that can win big football games,” he continued. “Yes, they lost this game at the last minute. But they have to learn how to win these big football games, and this is a big step going forward. They’ve got some big games coming up. They got a tough Duke game next week. They got USC coming up down the road. So, they’ve got some games that they’ve got to go out — and if they can play like they played last week, they got a chance to win every game they play.”
Bettis, who was diagnosed with asthma at age 14, played for Holtz at Notre Dame from 1990 to 1992. He spoke to Fox News Digital on behalf of Aire Serv and stressed the importance of indoor air quality as it relates to those who share his condition.
“Being diagnosed with asthma, the fear is can you breathe? Will you be able to breathe? Can you play? And, so, playing running back, it didn’t help with that position,” Bettis explained.
“And, so, what I had to do before every game, I would take an albuterol treatment to make sure that the lungs were a lot clearer, were open, so that I was breathing at 100% capacity. So, that was regular before every single football game.
“But I also had trainers who knew of the asthma, so they had inhalers with them all over the football field. So, it was just about being conscious and diligent and doing it every single game to make sure I gave myself the best chance to be effective as a football player, but also so that I could breathe. Because one of the scariest things in the world is to not be able to breathe. And so that was always my fear.”