Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Notre Dame Football WR's 2013
Players that return: TJ Jones, Davaris Daniels, Chris Brown, Daniel Smith, Justin Ferguson, Davonte Neal
Players that leave: John Goodman, Robby Toma
New Additions: Will Fuller, Corey Robinson, James Onwualu, and Torii Hunter Jr.
Overview: For the first time since the 2007 season, Notre Dame did not have a single receiver have 1,000 or more receiving yards in a single season. Notre Dame doesn't have many losses at this position and gains 4 freshman in the 2013 class. TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels have solidified themselves as 2 of the 3 starting wide receivers for the 2013 season, as Robby Toma graduates. What is most likely to happen is for Chris Brown to get the other receiver spot, but Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson will also be possibilities as well. Corey Robinson and James Onwualu are early enrollees and will see some playing time in the next season. Torii Hunter, Jr. suffered an injury that could limit him a bit and might lead to possibly redshirting in 2013.
TJ Jones 2012 Statistics:
Rushing: 1 attempt, 8 rushing yards, 8 yards per rush.
Receiving: 50 receptions, 649 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, 12.9 yards per reception.
TJ Jones 2011 Statistics:
Receiving: 38 receptions, 366 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns, 9.6 yards per reception.
TJ Jones 2010 Statistics:
Receiving: 23 receptions, 306 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns, 13.3 yards per reception.
Career Single Game Highs: 7 receptions (vs. Alabama, 2012 National Championship) 90 receiving yards (vs. Alabama, 2012 National Championship), 1 receiving touchdown (Multiple Games, vs. Purdue, 2010, vs. Michigan, 2010, at Navy, 2010, at Michigan, 2011, vs. Michigan St., 2011, at Purdue, 2011, vs. Purdue, 2012, vs. Stanford, 2012, vs. Pittsburgh, 2012, and vs. Wake Forest, 2012), 1 attempt (vs. Purdue, 2012), 8 rushing yards (vs. Purdue, 2012), 8 yards per rush (vs. Purdue, 2012).
Additional Information: TJ Jones was arguably one of the most improved players in the 2013 season, and had his best season overall as a Notre Dame football player in 2012, he closed off the season strong with a career highs in receptions and receiving yards in the national championship loss to Alabama. TJ Jones will enter the 2013 season as one of the starting receivers. TJ Jones has scored 1 receiving touchdown against Purdue each time Notre Dame has played against them during his career at Notre Dame.
Davaris Daniels 2012 Statistics:
Receiving: 31 receptions, 490 receiving yards, 15.8 yards per reception.
Career Single Game Highs: 7 receptions (vs. Pittsburgh, 2012), 115 receiving yards (vs. Alabama, 2012 National Championship), 24.5 yards per reception (at Navy, 2012)
Additional Information: After redshirting in 2011, Davaris Daniels had a good season as a redshirt freshman despite missing time in 2 games and not recording any statistics in 2 other games. He had missed the last 2 regular season games with injury before coming back against Alabama and setting career highs in receiving yards in the national championship loss against Alabama. Daniels will likely be the top wide receiver for the Irish this season and his size gives him an advantage.
Daniel Smith 2012 Statistics:
Receiving: 7 receptions, 47 yards, 6.7 yards per reception.
Career Single Game Highs: 2 receptions (vs. Purdue, 2012), 14 receiving yards (vs. Purdue, 2012), 10 yards per reception (vs. Wake Forest, 2012)
Additional Information: Daniel Smith has sparingly played in his time at Notre Dame and didn't record any receptions in 2010 or 2011, but gave the Irish necessary depth, which is likely what will be expected in the next season.
Chris Brown 2012 Statistics:
Receiving: 2 receptions, 56 yards, 28 yards per reception.
Career Single Game Highs: 1 reception (at Oklahoma, 2012 and vs. Wake Forest, 2012), 50 yards (at Oklahoma, 2012), and 50 yards per reception (at Oklahoma, 2012).
Additional Information: Chris Brown appeared frequently in the 2012 season, and almost always on a deep route, but only brought in one deep pass against Oklahoma, but it was crucial and went for 50 yards. He will likely compete with Justin Ferguson and Davonte Neal for the 3rd wide receiver spot and could be one to have a big season for the Irish.
Justin Ferguson 2012 Statistics:
Receiving: 1 reception, 9 receiving yards, 9 yards per reception.
Career Single Game Highs: 1 reception (at Navy, 2012), 9 receiving yards (at Navy, 2012), and 9 yards per catch (at Navy, 2012).
Additional Information: Justin Ferguson is another receiver who played as a true freshman and despite doing the least of the three true freshman, he will likely be counted on to contribute more after only recording one reception in the first game of the 2012 season.
Davonte Neal 2012 Statistics:
Rushing: 1 attempt, 7 rushing yards, 7 yards per rush.
Receiving: 1 reception, -5 yards, -5 yards per reception.
Career Single Game Highs: 1 reception (at Navy, 2012), -5 receiving yards (at Navy, 2012), -5 yards per reception, 1 attempt (at Navy, 2012), 7 rushing yards (at Navy, 2012), and 7 yards per rush (at Navy, 2012).
Additional Information: Davonte Neal also wasn't used much on offense, but was the punt returner for the Irish in the 2012 season. Neal will also be expected to contribute more after not doing much as a true freshman on offense.
Additional Information on wide receivers: Even though there is a lot of youth at the position, it is one of the most well stocked positions for the Irish as nearly everyone is either a freshman or sophomore in the 2013 season. It's possible that one or two of the freshman wide receivers will be able to redshirt, and Corey Robinson and James Onwualu have a step up over other incoming freshman due to enrolling early. Torii Hunter, Jr. will be the one most likely to redshirt as he recovers from his injury.
Projected Wide Receiver Depth Chart:
FL: DAVARIS DANIELS SO.
Justin Ferguson So.
Daniel Smith Sr.
SE: TJ JONES SR.
Corey Robinson Fr.
James Onwualu Fr.
SL: Chris Brown So.
Davonte Neal So.
Please join our group on facebook! Domer Sports Report on Facebook
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Notre Dame Football RB's 2013
Players that return: George Atkinson III, Cam McDaniel, Amir Carlisle, Will Mahone
Players that leave: Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood
New Additions: Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston
Overview: Notre Dame loses a good amount of its production at running back with Theo Riddick graduating and Cierre Wood declaring for the NFL draft. Riddick was just as important with catching the ball as he was running the ball and Wood finished pretty high on the all-time rushing list at Notre Dame. In the 2012 season, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood combined for 304 carries, 1,659 rushing yards, and 9 rushing touchdowns. Riddick also was 4th on the team in receiving with 36 receptions for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns. George Atkinson and Cam McDaniel are the only returning Notre Dame running backs that had any playing time in 2012 as Amir Carlisle redshirted due to injury and Will Mahone redshirted. Even with the new additions of Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston, expect both to redshirt in 2013 to help preserve eligibility for the future.
George Atkinson III 2012 Statistics:
Rushing: 51 attempts, 361 rushing yards, 7.08 yards per rush, 5 rushing touchdowns, 30.08 rushing yards per game.
Receiving: 2 receptions, 4 yards, 2 yards per reception, 0 receiving touchdowns, 0.3 receiving yards per game.
George Atkinson III 2011 Statistics:
Rushing: 9 attempts, 27 yards, 3 yards per rush, 2 rushing touchdowns, 2.08 rushing yards per game.
Receiving: 1 reception, 10 yards, 10 yards per reception, 0.8 receiving yards per game.
Career Single Game Highs: 10 attempts (vs. Miami FL, 2012), 123 rushing yards (vs. Miami FL, 2012), 12.3 yards per rush (vs. Miami FL, 2012), 2 rushing touchdowns (vs. Navy, 2012), 1 reception (at Purdue, 2011, vs Stanford, 2012, and vs. BYU, 2012), 10 yards (at Purdue, 2011)
Additional Information: George Atkinson III was one of 2 Notre Dame running backs to have 2 rushing touchdowns of 50 or more yards (the other was Cierre Wood, who had 2 that were 60+ yard touchdowns). The amount of playing time Atkinson had on offense varied throughout the 2012 season. In the first game of the season, he had 9 carries for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns, while in the next game he had only 1 carry for 0 yards. He missed the Oklahoma game due to illness. Heading into the spring, Atkinson will likely be the de facto starter at running back due to the most experience out of everyone returning.
Cam McDaniel 2012 Statistics:
Rushing: 23 attempts, 125 rushing yards, 5.43 yards per rush, 1 rushing touchdown, 10.42 rushing yards per game.
Receiving: 2 receptions, 41 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdowns, 3.4 receiving yards per game.
Cam McDaniel 2011 Statistics:
Rushing: 3 attempts, 9 rushing yards, 3 yards per rush, 0 rushing touchdowns, 1 yard per game.
Career Single Game Highs: 11 attempts (vs. Miami FL, 2012), 59 rushing yards (vs. Navy, 2012), 6.56 yards per rush (vs. Navy, 2012), 1 rushing touchdown (vs. Miami FL, 2012), 1 reception (vs. Navy, 2012 and Miami FL, 2012), 21 receiving yards (vs. Miami FL, 2012), 21 yards per reception (vs. Miami FL, 2012)
Additional Information: Cam McDaniel played sparingly during his second season with the Irish with only 3 games in 2012 where he had carries, and all of it had been when the outcome had been decided. McDaniel will likely see more carries in the 2013 season and could have a solid impact as well. While George Atkinson III is most likely the starter going into the spring due to experience, it might be McDaniel who is the 2nd string running back due to experience, but expect there to be an open competition to replace Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick.
Information on remaining running backs: Amir Carlisle redshirted after transferring from USC due to injury and Will Mahone redshirted during his freshman season. Both are capable of challenging for a starting role. Mahone might be the power back that the Irish are looking for. While Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston might redshirt in 2013, they could also potentially see playing time in 2013, but it just depends overall.
Note: A player who is all caps notes a returning starter.
Projected Running Back Depth Chart:
George Atkinson III Jr.
Amir Carlisle So.
or Will Mahone rFr.
or Cam McDaniel Jr.
Greg Bryant Fr.
Tarean Folston Fr.
Come join us on facebook! The group address is Domer Sports Report on Facebook
Monday, January 14, 2013
Notre Dame Football QB's 2013
Players that return: Everett Golson, Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Gunner Kiel
Players that leave: None
New Additions: Malik Zaire
Overview: The Irish return everyone at quarterback for the first time since 2009 when the Irish had returned Jimmy Clausen, Dayne Crist and Evan Sharpley that season. However, the depth at this position is at its best in some time as 3 players have all seen decent time during their careers as Tommy Rees was a 2-year starter in 2010 and 2011, and Everett Golson completed his first year of starting as a redshirt freshman. The Irish having a quarterback in each year also helps build consistency as well in addition to depth.
Everett Golson 2012 Statistics:
Passing: 318 attempts, 187 completions, 58.8 completion percentage, 2,405 passing yards, 7.6 yards per attempt, 12 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 200.4 yards per game.
Rushing: 94 attempts, 298 rushing yards, 3.17 yards per rush, 6 touchdowns, 24.83 yards per game.
Career Single Game Highs: 36 attempts (vs. Alabama), 23 completions (vs. Pittsburgh), 77.3 completion percentage (vs. Miami, FL), 346 passing yards (vs. Wake Forest), 11.5 yards per attempt (vs. Wake Forest), 3 passing touchdowns (vs. Wake Forest), 2 interceptions (vs. Michigan), 16 rushing attempts (vs. Purdue), 74 rushing yards (vs. Pittsburgh), 8.5 yards per rush (vs. Miami, FL), 1 rushing touchdown (6 different games with 1 rushing touchdown)
Additional Information: Everett Golson appeared in 12 games and started 10 games in 2012 as a redshirt freshman and helped lead the Irish to a 12-0 regular season record and a 42-14 bowl loss to Alabama. Golson will be the starting quarterback going into the 2013 season and should build upon the numbers he posted in 2012, he led all players on his team in rushing touchdowns with 6 rushing touchdowns in the 2012 season. While he did not start against Miami (FL), he came into play after the first 3 plays and played the whole game until the backups were brought in when the win was for sure, and missed the BYU game due to a concussion.
Tommy Rees 2012 Statistics:
Passing: 61 attempts, 34 completions, 55.7 completion percentage, 436 passing yards, 7.1 yards per attempt, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 36.3 yards per game.
Rushing: 5 attempts, -15 rushing yards, -3 yards per rush, 1 rushing touchdown, -1.25 yards per game.
Tommy Rees 2011 Statistics:
Passing: 411 attempts, 269 completions, 65.5 completion percentage, 2,871 passing yards, 7 yards per attempt, 20 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 220.8 yards per game.
Rushing: 31 attempts, -56 rushing yards, -1.81 yards per rush, 0 rushing touchdowns -4.31 yards per game.
Tommy Rees 2010 Statistics:
Passing: 164 attempts, 100 completions, 61.0 completion percentage, 1,106 passing yards, 6.7 yards per attempt, 12 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 122.9 yards per game.
Rushing: 12 attempts, -2 rushing yards, 0 rushing touchdowns, -0.17 yards per rush, -2.0 yards per game
Career Single Game Highs: 54 attempts (vs. Tulsa, 2010), 33 completions (vs. Tulsa, 2010), 72.7 completion percentage (vs. Navy, 2011), 334 passing yards (vs. Tulsa, 2010), 10.8 yards per attempt (vs. Navy, 2011), 4 passing touchdowns (vs Air Force, 2011 and vs. Tulsa, 2010), 3 interceptions (3 vs. Tulsa, 2010 and 3 at USC, 2010), 5 attempts (at Pittsburgh, 2011 and vs. Maryland, 2011), 6 rushing yards (at Pittsburgh, 2011 and vs. USC, 2011), 1 rushing touchdown (vs. Michigan, 2012)
Additional Information: Tommy Rees appeared in 11 games in the 2012 season with all of them being consecutively and played as little as 1 play to a whole game. He started against Miami (FL), but was pulled after 3 plays for Everett Golson and started against BYU when Golson was out with a concussion. Rees helped rally the team against Purdue, Michigan, and Stanford in relief as well. A senior to be in the 2013 season, Tommy Rees will likely battle with redshirt freshman to be in Gunner Kiel for the number 2 spot behind starter Everett Golson.
Andrew Hendrix 2012 Statistics:
Passing: 7 attempts, 5 completions, 71.4 completion percentage, 55 passing yards, 7.9 yards per attempt, 0 passing touchdowns, 0 rushing touchdowns, 18.3 yards per game.
Rushing: 8 attempts, 41 rushing yards, 5.13 yards per rush, 0 rushing touchdowns, 13.67 yards per game.
Andrew Hendrix 2011 Statistics:
Passing: 37 attempts, 18 completions, 48.6 completion percentage, 249 passing yards, 6.7 yards per attempt, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions, 49.8 yards per game.
Rushing: 25 attempts, 162 rushing yards, 6.48 yards per rush, 1 rushing touchdowns, 32.4 yards per game.
Career Single Game Highs: 24 attempts (at Stanford, 2011), 11 completions (at Stanford, 2011), 45.8 completion percentage (at Stanford, 2011), 192 passing yards (at Stanford, 2011), 10.6 yards per attempt (at Navy, 2012), 1 passing touchdown (at Stanford, 2011), 1 interception (at Stanford, 2011 and vs. Florida St., 2011), 12 attempts (vs. Florida St., 2011), 111 rushing yards (vs. Air Force, 2011), 18.5 yards per rush (vs. Air Force, 2011), 1 rushing touchdown (at Stanford, 2011).
Additional Information: Andrew Hendrix played sparingly in 2012 with appearances in only 3 games, which were Navy, BYU, and Wake Forest. Hendrix will be a junior in the 2013 season and will likely provide additional depth at the quarterback position and also will likely be the 3rd or 4th quarterback on the depth chart.
Information on remaining quarterbacks: Gunner Kiel had redshirted in 2012 after being an early enrollee for the Irish. He played in the spring game and will likely battle with Tommy Rees for the 2nd spot on the quarterback depth chart behind starter Everett Golson. Malik Zaire is the next early enrollee at quarterback (previous ones were Gunner Kiel, Everett Golson, and Jimmy Clausen) and will see some playing time during the spring game. However, he will redshirt in 2013 and likely have an impact on the scout team.
Note: A player who is all caps notes a returning starter.
Projected Quarterback Depth Chart:
EVERETT GOLSON SO.
Tommy Rees Sr.
or Gunner Kiel rFr.
Andrew Hendrix Jr.
Malik Zaire Fr.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Notre Dame QB's: Redshirt freshman Everett Golson has continued to get better and better for Notre Dame this season on offense. He has been at his best since the win at Oklahoma, and for the season he has completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 2,135 yards along with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In addition to the numbers he has through the air, he also has been important in the running game as well with 305 rushing yards (4th on the team) and 5 rushing touchdowns (Tied for 1st on the team with 2 other players). Golson has done well at home and away from home as well. Backup quarterback Tommy Rees has seen playing time in 11 games this season and has completed 57.6 percent of his passes for 436 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Andrew Hendrix has also seen a little bit of playing time in 3 games this season and has completed 5 of 7 passes for 55 yards and rushed for 41 yards.
Notre Dame QB's vs. Alabama Pass Defense: Alabama will Notre Dame's third opponent this season that is currently in the top 10 in pass defense this season (Michigan is ranked 2nd overall and Michigan St. is 9th overall) and ranks 4th overall in pass defense in college football. They have allowed opposing teams to complete just 54.3 percent of their passes for 2,161 yards and allowed only 7 passing touchdowns and the defense has 17 interceptions this season. Everett Golson has managed to do a great job at avoiding interceptions and while he has thrown 5 interceptions, 3 of them were early in the season (1 against Navy, 2 against Michigan). He will face a bigger test in the Alabama defense who has a great amount of interceptions this season. The big factor in this is the ability that Golson has in being a threat on the ground (Alabama's lone loss this season was against a team that also had a quarterback that was a threat on the ground). Golson will need to manage the game and be important in running and passing the ball as needed.
Alabama QB's: AJ McCarron has been a highly efficient quarterback this season for the Crimson Tide. He has completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 2,669 yards, 26 touchdowns, and just 3 interceptions. He takes care of the football as evidenced by what few interceptions as they didn't happen until the loss at home to Texas A&M and in the SEC Championship against Georgia. He was perfect in the months of September and October by being interception free. McCarron also has experience as well in the National Championship when he led his team to victory over LSU in the previous seasons National Championship. Blake Sims has seen playing time with 5 of 10 completed passes for 77 yards and 187 rushing yards on 30 carries for an average of 6.2 yards a rush with 2 rushing touchdowns. Phillip Ely has completed 3 of 4 passes for 42 yards and 1 touchdown. Both have played in 9 and 6 games, respectively.
Alabama QB's vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense: Notre Dame comes in with the 20th ranked passing defense in the nation and has allowed opponents to complete just 59.4 percent of their passes for 2,333 yards and similar to Alabama has allowed 7 touchdowns and intercepted 16 passes. Notre Dame's pass defense has the distinction of allowing just three opponents all season to throw for 200 or more yards with zero of those happening in the month of September on top of that. While the Irish won't be the highest ranked pass defense that Alabama has faced (Michigan, Georgia, and LSU hold these distinctions), they have significantly exceeded expectations this season despite the loss of 3 players to season ending injuries. Forcing McCarron into incompletions will be difficult as he has only completed under 60 percent of his passes just 2 times this season (against LSU and Michigan), but regardless he still faces a challenge in a passing defense that doesn't allow many opponents to get a lot of yards through the air. However, Alabama's passing offense is only ranked 85th in the nation with just 214.5 yards a game overall.
Notre Dame RB's: Notre Dame comes in with the 28th ranked rushing offense that is led by Theo Riddick. Riddick has moved from running back (freshman year) to wide receiver (2010 and nearly all of 2011) before moving permanently back to running back for 2012. He leads the team with 880 rushing yards on 180 carries with 4.9 yards a carry. He also is tied with 2 other players for 1st overall on the team in rushing touchdowns with 5. Riddick has also been absolutely vital to receiving game as well with some very important receptions this season, and he has 35 catches for 364 yards and 1 touchdown this season. Cierre Wood has 740 rushing yards on 110 carries this season for 6.7 yards this season and 4 touchdowns in 10 games this season and also has 2 runs of 60+ yards (both went for touchdowns as well). George Atkinson III has 361 yards on the ground this season on 51 carries and has 7.1 yards per rush. He also is tied for 1st in rushing touchdowns with 5 and has 2 runs of 50+ yards and both went for touchdowns. Cam McDaniel has seen playing time as well with 125 rushing yards on 23 carries and has a 5.4 average and 1 touchdown.
Notre Dame RB's vs. Alabama Rush Defense: Alabama has the top ranked rushing defense in all of college football and has allowed opponents to average 2.7 yards a rush and allowed 79.7 yards a game and 9 rushing touchdowns. However, Notre Dame has faced top ranked rushing defenses before this season with the 2nd and 3rd ranked rushing defenses being opponents Stanford and BYU. Notre Dame rushed for 270 rushing yards against BYU (the most BYU allowed in a single game this season and Notre Dame was the only opponent that rushed for 200+ yards on BYU all season long) and Notre Dame had 150 rushing yards against Stanford (3rd most Stanford allowed in a single game all season long). What Notre Dame needs to do is establish the run early and use it to wear down Alabama's defense as Notre Dame has ran for 200+ yards in 7 games this season with 5 of those being in the last 6 games this season.
Alabama RB's: Alabama comes in with the 19th ranked rushing offense that averages 224.6 yards a game, has 2 running backs with 1000+ rushing yards and has 35 rushing touchdowns this season. Eddie Lacy leads the team with 1,182 rushing yards on 184 carries for a 6.4 yard average and 16 touchdowns. T.J. Yeldon has 1000 rushing yards on 154 carries for a 6.5 yard average and has 11 touchdowns. The drop off is big after that with Kenyan Drake having 274 rushing yards on 39 carries with a 7.0 average and 5 touchdowns. Regardless, Alabama's running game is extremely important for the team with 2 running backs having 1000+ yards this season and combine for 27 rushing touchdowns (out of 35 total for the ground game).
Alabama RB's vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense: Alabama will go up against the best run defense they have seen all season long in Notre Dame. The Irish are ranked 4th in college football by allowing 92.4 yards a game and just 2 rushing touchdowns all season long as the 2 rushing touchdowns are the fewest allowed by any team this season. Notre Dame has allowed only 4 opponents to run for 100 or more yards this season with no team rushing for more than 161 yards (Michigan) all season long. Notre Dame has done a great job in shutting down running games this season behind a very impressive front seven. However they do face a team that has ran for 100+ yards in every game this season with the fewest being 103 (vs. Western Kentucky) and Alabama has 8 games with 200+ yards on the ground and 3 with 300+ on the ground.
Notre Dame WR's and TE's: Notre Dame gets a big boost in the return of Davaris Daniels. Daniels played in the first 10 games before being injured against Boston College, he has 25 receptions for 375 yards this season and is important in deep passes. Tyler Eifert is having a great season and the winner of the 2012 Mackey Award to the best tight end in the nation. He also has quite a few school records when it comes to tight ends. On the season he has 44 catches for 624 yards and 4 touchdowns. TJ Jones is having his strongest season yet as a Notre Dame player with 43 receptions for 559 yards and 4 touchdowns. Robby Toma has been important on the shorter passes with 24 catches for 252 yards, while John Goodman has been used more later in the season with 7 catches for 159 yards and 3 touchdowns. Troy Niklas has 5 catches for 75 yards and 1 touchdown, while Daniel Smith has 7 receptions for 57 yards. Chris Brown should see a solid amount of time and has 2 catches for 56 yards.
Notre Dame WR's vs. Alabama DB's: The Crimson Tide have a top pass defense that has not allowed an opponent to pass for 300 or more yards this season and only 6 have passed for 200+ yards in a single game. They face a team that has arguably the best tight end in the nation and one that attracts a considerable amount of coverage. If Golson continues to spread the ball around to other receivers, it will help considerably and open things up on the ground as well. Look for Davaris Daniels to have an impact with him back in the lineup and for TJ Jones to have a good game.
Alabama WR's and TE's: Freshman Amari Cooper leads the team with 895 receiving yards on 53 receptions and has 9 touchdowns. Kevin Norwood has 26 receptions for 395 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Christion Jones has 25 catches for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. Michael Williams has 21 catches for 166 yards and 3 touchdowns and Kenny Bell has 17 receptions for 431 yards and 3 touchdowns. DeAndrew White has 8 receptions for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
Alabama WR's vs. Notre Dame DB's: The big matchup here will be Amari Cooper against Bennett Jackson. Jackson has been having a really good season in his first season starting at cornerback. Cooper having more than double the receiving yards and touchdowns will absolutely vital to shut down. Ever if Cooper is shut down, the other receivers will need to be accounted for as well. Notre Dame has done a great job in shutting down top receivers before (such USC's Marqise Lee and Robert Woods) this season, so this won't be unfamiliar territory for the young group of defensive backs that the Irish have.
Notre Dame OL: The offensive line has done a great job as of late in the run and pass block areas. The line is helping the running game average 5 yards a carry, 202.5 yards a game, and 22 rushing touchdowns. They have allowed 16 sacks and 52 tackles for loss, and 42 quarterback hurries. The unit is particularly strong on the left side with juniors Zach Martin and Chris Watt, along with senior Braxston Cave at center.
Notre Dame OL vs. Alabama DL: Alabama has done a terrific job at getting into opposing backfields with 81 tackles for loss, 33 sacks, and 44 quarterback hurries this season. While not a single player has double-digit sack numbers, there are 14 players with at least a sack. Keeping Golson protected and opening things up for the running game will be needed to keep the offense going and help prevent Notre Dame's defense from wearing out.
Alabama OL: Alabama has one of the very best offensive lines in college football that has a very experienced group overall. However, Rimington award-winning center Barrett Jones's status is in doubt for the game due to an injury and has yet to practice since the injury in the SEC Championship game. If the team captain is unable to play, then redshirt freshman Ryan Kelly will be the one to come in and start. The other four lineman have all started every single game this season. The unit has allowed 60 tackles for loss, 23 sacks, and 18 quarterback hurries this season. Run blocking has been very excellent as well since the average per rush is 5.6 yards along with 224.6 rushing yards a game and 35 rushing touchdowns.
Alabama OL vs. Notre Dame DL: Alabama faces a really strong defense in Notre Dame that is a rather deep unit. Notre Dame's defense has had no problems getting into opposing backfields with 67 tackles for loss. Quarterback pressure is also top notch as well with 45 quarterback hurries and 34 sacks as well with Stephon Tuitt having 12 sacks to lead the way. If Barrett Jones is for sure out for the Crimson Tide, then the line will have a significant challenge in nose tackle Louis Nix III that really helps anchor the defensive line and is a massive presence at 6'3'' and 340 pounds. Regardless, this is going to be one of the biggest matchups in the entire game here in the trenches. If Notre Dame's defense continues to dominate as they have all season, it can shut down the running game and force Alabama to rely more on their passing game.
Notre Dame DL: The defensive line has been one of Notre Dame's biggest strengths all season long. Stephon Tuitt is having a sensational season with 42 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 9 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 blocked kick. Tuitt hasn't been the only defensive lineman who has been dominant this season as Louis Nix III has 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Kapron Lewis-Moore is having a great final season with 39 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 9 quarterback hurries, and 2 forced fumbles. Other lineman have seen time with Sheldon Day having 20 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Tony Springmann has 11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 3 quarterback hurries while Kona Schwenke has 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks.
Notre Dame DL vs. Alabama OL: This is will be one of the most exciting matchups to watch in the National Championship game, even if center Barrett Jones might be out for Alabama with an injury. All three of Notre Dame's starters up front have been able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks and have little difficulty in getting into the backfield as well. If the Irish are able to consistently get pressure up front and stuff the run, then it will be beneficial. With the ability to rotate in other players, this prevents the starters from wearing out, but whoever wins this matchup will have arguably the largest impact on this game.
Alabama DL: The defensive line of Alabama features an experienced unit thats leader in tackles is Jesse Williams who has 36 tackles along with 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, 4 quarterback hurries, and a blocked kick. Damion Square has 33 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 9 quarterback hurries, and 1 fumble recovery. Ed Stinson has 29 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 5 quarterback hurries while Brandon Ivory has 21 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 fumble recovery. Jeoffrey Pagan has 22 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 2 pass breakups while Quinton Dial has 21 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 4 quarterback hurries.
Alabama DL vs. Notre Dame OL: Once again, this is another important matchup in the trenches and will have an important impact on what happens with this game. Notre Dame's left side of the line is the biggest strength and will need to keep Golson protected and also consistently open holes for the running game to get through to help make progress and put points up on the board. This is a very even matchup and is one of the most important.
Notre Dame LB's: The linebacker unit of Notre Dame is led by what is likely the best player in college football in Manti Te'o. Te'o has won numerous awards and is the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. On the season Te'o has 103 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, and 2 fumble recoveries. Dan Fox has 57 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries while Prince Shembo has been important to the defense with 48 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 12 quarterback hurries, and 1 fumble recovery. Carlo Calabrese has 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble and Danny Spond has 38 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups. Ishaq Williams has 21 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Others that will see playing time include Jarrett Grace, Kendall Moore, and Ben Councell.
Notre Dame LB's vs. Alabama: While Alabama has a pair of running backs with 1000+ rushing yards, Notre Dame has done a great job against the run and shutting down running games. This may not seem any different from what they have done all season against the run. Manti Te'o has been having a strong season and is always a threat to have an interception with the 7 he has this season. Look for Notre Dame to stuff the run often and give support to the defensive line that helps give Notre Dame a very excellent front seven.
Edge: Notre Dame
Alabama LB's: C.J. Mosley leads the Crimson Tide by an overwhelming amount in tackles with 99, he also has 7 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble. Trey Depriest has 56 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Nico Johnson has 54 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, 1 quarterback hurry, and 2 forced fumbles while Adrian Hubbard has 39 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 4 quarterback hurries, and 3 forced fumbles. Xzavier Dickson has 33 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 4 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble.
Alabama LB's vs. Notre Dame: Notre Dame's Theo Riddick will present a challenge for Alabama's defense with his ability to run the ball and catch the ball. Riddick is able to line up in other areas and the Irish have other backs in addition to Riddick. Tight end Tyler Eifert will also be a matchup nightmare as well for the Crimson Tide, and should present more interesting matchups.
Notre Dame DB's: The Irish secondary has significantly exceeded expectations this season with the fact that it was the youngest and most inexperienced unit going into the season, three season-ending injuries to Austin Collinsworth, Lo Wood, and Jamoris Slaughter later and Notre Dame has done a terrific job shutting down the pass despite what has happened. Zeke Motta has 61 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups and 1 fumble recovery while Bennett Jackson has 61 tackles as well, 1.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. KeiVarae Russell has had a very good season as a true freshman and has 50 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 quarterback hurry. Matthias Farley stepped in for Jamoris Slaughter and has done well with 43 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Others have seen playing time in Elijah Shumate with 8 tackles and 3 pass breakups along with Nicky Baratti with 8 tackles and 1 interception.
Notre Dame DB's vs. Alabama WR's: Bennett Jackson will more than likely be the one lining up against Alabama's Amari Cooper. The other receivers must be accounted for, but the main target to watch out for is Amari Cooper. KeiVarae Russell and Matthias Farley will also be quite important for the Irish secondary as well. While Alabama runs the ball quite often, accounting for the passing game is just as important when a highly efficient quarterback is involved.
Alabama DB's: Vinne Sunseri leads the Crimson Tide's defensive backs in tackles with 52 and has 6 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 2 fumble recoveries. Dee Milliner has 51 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 18 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced fumble, and 1 blocked kick. Robert Lester has 42 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. Nick Perry has 37 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery and Deion Belue has 36 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has 30 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble while John Fulton has 15 tackles and 5 pass breakups.
Alabama DB's vs. Notre Dame WR's: Tyler Eifert is going to be a huge matchup nightmare for Alabama. The tight end can line up in many places and has massive size to catch the ball, and is important in the endzone as well. Davaris Daniels being back for the Irish gives them another deep threat. Alabama has been good defending the pass with an impressive 71 pass breakups by the defense. TJ Jones, Chris Brown, Robby Toma, and John Goodman will all be targeted by Golson and should provide an interesting matchup with Golson continuing to get better and better.
Notre Dame Kicking Game: Kyle Brindza has made 23 of 31 field goals this season with a long of 52. While he has had some consistency issues, he has only missed 3 field goals away from Notre Dame Stadium (12 of 15 away from Notre Dame Stadium), but missed 5 field goals at home (11 of 16 at Notre Dame Stadium). With the redzone issues Notre Dame has had at times, he will be counted on. Ben Turk has averaged 40.6 yards a punt on 48 punts with a long of 53, 2 touchbacks, 19 fair caught, 13 inside the 20, and 8 of 50+ yards. Kyle Brindza handles kickoff duties with a 62.5 yard average on 68 kickoffs and 25 have gone for touchbacks.
Alabama Kicking Game: Cade Foster is 4 of 9 on field goals with him being 3 of 5 when it is 50 or more yards and a long of 52. He has had one blocked though. Jeremy Shelley is 11 of 11 with a long of 28. Cody Mandell is averaging 43.8 yards a punt on 46 punts with a long of 61 with 5 touchbacks, 13 fair caught, 17 inside the 20, and 12 of 50 or more yards. Cade Foster is handling kickoffs as well with a 63.4 yard average on 92 kickoffs and 42 have gone for touchbacks.
Stronger Unit: Even
Notre Dame Return Game: George Atkinson III has returned 19 kickoffs for 394 yards and an average of 20.7 yards with a long of 39. Cam McDaniel has 7 returns for 135 yards and a 19.3 yard average and a long of 25. Punt Returns have been a non-factor with Davonte Neal returning 18 for 44 yards and a long of 11.
Alabama Return Game: Cyrus Jones has returned 10 kickoffs for 250 yards and an average of 25 yards with a long of 41. Christion Jones has 6 returns for 182 yards and a 30.3 yard average. He also has a 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well. Christion Jones is also the primary punt returner with 20 returns for 212 yards and a long of 31.
Stronger Unit: Alabama
Everything Else: When it comes down to it, this is a very evenly matched game, both teams have top defenses and are especially excellent agains the run. Notre Dame has a very good front seven that features a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy award and has received numerous other awards. However, Manti Te'o isn't the only important player on the front seven. Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix III, and Prince Shembo all have had really great seasons and while the secondary is young, they have held a great majority of their opponents to below 200 yards passing this season. If Notre Dame shuts down the running game of the Crimson Tide, they will need to really focus on Amari Cooper and the other receivers. Interceptions will be rare since AJ McCarron has thrown very few this season. Golson will need to spread the ball around and know when to dump it off to Tyler Eifert and Theo Riddick. Both present matchup nightmares due to how versatile they are on offense. The game will really come down to it in the trenches, if Notre Dame is able to consistently open holes in the running game, and the defensive line pressures an Alabama offensive line that might be without it's best player will be important for the Irish. Its a very even matchup in nearly every area and Notre Dame will need to be able to move the ball against the Alabama defense to prevent the Irish defense from wearing out and need to be able to put it in the endzone.
Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Alabama 16
Monday, December 24, 2012
Recently, I asked members of Domer Sports Report's facebook group to write a paragraph on how they became Notre Dame fans. Below, is a sample of some of their stories. Notre Dame is a National University and Domer Sports Report members are made up of fans from all over.
Brandon Nedoma, Minneapolis, MN, originally from Milwaukee, WI - I became a Notre Dame fan around 2008. Nobody in my family likes Notre Dame at all, but one of my best buddy’s dad is an alumnus. I would always go to his house and watch games, but I was a bigger Wisconsin fan. This year, I began my Freshman year at University of Minnesota, and it is no longer okay to like Madison, so I pledge my allegiance to the Irish as my number one team. In my life I have only seen 2 games (2010 against Stanford and 2011 against Air Force) and plan on going to more. My friend’s dad may be hooking me up with face value ticket to the NC, and that would be a dream come true. GO IRISH! We are one big family.
Bobby Crawford, Kingsport, TN - When I was 6 years old, before I really knew what football was, let alone tradition, my cousin, who was 12 at the time, gave me a Notre Dame hat. I wore that hat forever. As I grew older and started paying more attention to college football, I started to research ND football and needless to say was blown away! I am now 27 and LOVE The FIGHTING IRISH! Growing up in Tennessee you can imagine the hassling I got! But through all the ups and downs, through the coaches and the so called "irrelevance", I have stood firm! So, for me, my passion and becoming a fan of ND started with a hand me down hat.
Rick Madlem, Grand Rapids, MI, originally from South Bend, IN - Born and raised in South Bend, I lived 4 miles south of campus. My dad was a huge Irish fan and ran a concession stand at the stadium for home football games. At 5 years of age I started going out to help him, and eventually ran my own stand for over 20 years. So, I was at every home game. My family actually managed about 10 of the stands. During high school I worked at the ACC for foodservice and met the likes of Moose Krause, Adrian Dantley, Austin Carr, and many others. My Dad also worked for the Notre Dame post office delivering mail across campus and used to have nice chats with Tony Rice. Notre Dame is very special to me and is in my blood. I lost my Dad in '03 and every year since I've told him maybe this year........and this year I may just be right!! I currently live in Grand Rapids, MI.
Sandra Grant, Atkinson, NH - Growing up with 4 brothers I always loved the game of football, but it wasn't until I met my ex-husband in 1985 that I became a Notre Dame football fan. He had gone to South Bend every year during the football season to see a football game since he was 18 years old. My first game seeing the Irish was in 1990 at the Giants Stadium against Navy. My first game in South Bend was in 1993 for the Pittsburgh game and that is when you understand all the tradition, feel the history and meet all the other ND fans who love Notre Dame they way you do. I saw other games in South Bend and up here at Boston College but it was that first time going to the Grotto, going to the house that Rockne built, going to the pep rally and staying at the Morris Inn that I will always treasure. Notre Dame represents tradition and delivers academics first and foremost as any university should, which is what kept me loyal during all those times that Notre Dame was far from number 1. My 4 children are all Notre Dame fans and have been to games in South Bend as well...tradition! Go Irish!
Craig Robinson, Temecula, CA - I don't know if I can pin point that moment when it happened for me. I was young and no one in my family was a huge football fan, let alone a Notre Dame fan. It was in the time before cable - Sunday mornings were very boring. I was always up before everyone else. Moving the rabbit ears so I pick up something besides church on the TV, I came across a replay of a football game. I can hear the announcer in my head: "We more forward in the game. It is Notre Dame football at the Purdue 25, 1st and 10." Every Sunday I would get up and watch the replay. They became larger than life to me as a child and I never rooted for another team. As I turned the corner in my adolescence, Joe Montana came to Notre Dame. I heard his name over and over. Big win after big win, they became my heroes and I have worshiped at the Golden Dome since.
Pam Geiselman, Valparaiso, IN -I moved to Middlebury, Indiana and soon after, Rick Mirer became the QB for ND. Since he was from nearby Goshen and anyone and everyone was watching him, I got hooked. Sorry he didn't do very well in the NFL, but my passion for ND football never waned.
SGT Jonathan Johnson, Clarksville, TN - Since I was the only one in my family born in Florida, you would think I would be a Seminole, Gator or even a Hurricane fan. Well, since I can remember I have watched the Fightin' Irish run out of the tunnel onto the field with the 24kt Gold helmets and blue jersey's. I remember watching Notre Dame play - I want to say I was five years old. Back then, I didn’t really care to sit there and watch football. There were four families that got together on the Holidays and Super Bowl Sunday. I would never watch the Super Bowl until I was around 15. There was one thing you could count on - every Saturday, sitting in front of that T.V. and saying, “Go IRISH”. Now I am 31 years old and have a family of my own. My 6 year old son and I go back and forth with, “LET’S GO.....IRISH!”. One day I was sitting there and my 19 month old daughter heard me say, “LET’S GO”. All you hear is, “IWISH”. I am proud to be a Notre Dame fan because of the respect and tradition and honor that ND stands for. I have watched them play in Iraq, Germany and hopefully soon, Japan. I love to see players like Manti Te'o because people like him give me joy and make me proud to serve my country and protect their freedom to do what he is doing. Thanks and GO IRISH!
William J Becker Jr., Warsaw, IN, originally from South Bend, IN – Well, where do I start? I have tons of family history and stories. I was born into it. Grandfather played on the 1933-35 teams. I remember meeting Moose Krause and Joe McArdle. I Grew up knowing Dick Rosenthal and Paul Harvey. I remember, in the 70's, players coming to the house for dinner. I'm a Notre Dame fanatic, so I've been told. Check out a few pictures of the man-cave museum.
Pam Bauer, Nashville, TN - I live in Nashville where I met and married my husband in 1979. I hated sports and used to gripe at him when he would sit down to watch them. Within the next couple of years I decided I was going to either have to learn to like football or divorce my husband, so I began watching Notre Dame football with him, learning everything I could. I became hooked and in 1995 he took me to my first game against Vanderbilt. I fell in love with the school, the campus and the rest they say is history. Now I refuse to live without ND football and schedule my life around it. GO IRISH!!! (Note: Pam and her husband, Pat, are ushers at Notre Dame games. They just completed their seventh season.)
Paul Mesirow, Evergreen Park, IL - I didn't follow ND football as a small child. I do remember listening to the NFL championship game in 1963 on a small transistor that my grandmother gave me, and hearing the Bears win the championship. My Dad was a subway alum of ND, that class of Chicagoan that loves the school despite never having gone there. When I was 11, my Dad took me to a game in South Bend, and we arrived at 10AM on a glorious September morning. We watched the bracing of the Irish guard, went to the bookstore, and saw the game. I went to two games a year during the 1965 season, and one of them stood out because a pass was intercepted and Nick Rassas ran it back 92 yards for a touchdown (now we call that a pick 6). My Dad was supposed to go to the ND-Michigan St game in 1966 with a friend - that didn't happen, but I got to go in the friend's place! We saw the 10-10 tie in person! I still have the program somewhere in my memorabilia boxes in the attic. I have more stories, but they could fill a book, so I will stop now. That's how I became a fan of the FIGHTING IRISH!
Luann Szalewski, Niles, MI, originally from South Bend, IN – Well, being born into a Notre Dame crazy loving family, I guess I became a fan in the womb. I went to high school across the way from ND. I used to take a bus out to my school and get on a shuttle and go to the stadium. Faust was coach then. After kick off , I always had someone come up to me with tickets...here honey go on in. I sure did! I, then, waited till all the players came out, and I got so many autographs!!! Then in ‘87/’88 I worked at a barber shop and Lou and his son Skip got their hair cut there. I cut Skip's hair!! Every time Lou came in, he always made time to speak to me. He once called my Mother who is the biggest ND fan. She was so excited. During those years while he coached, um, well, um, I was a stinker. Somehow, I snuck into all home games; it was easy back then...lol. I was on the field for every game - right by the team :))) I stood next to Regis and met Ahmad Rashad . After every game in ‘88 we stormed the field!! It was awesome high fiving the players. I was on TV many times and after the Miami game, I walked out of the stadium and a little girl said "I saw you on TV!!!" Those were the glory days. My Mom passed away 4 years ago and she said when she goes, "Don't bury me in a dress, I want to be buried in my ND gear." She loved ND as I always have and always will.
Thanks to all of those who sent in a paragraph. In time, there might be a part II. Merry Christmas to everyone and GO IRISH!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Notre Dame QB's: Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson is coming off his finest performance yet as a Notre Dame quarterback as he set career highs in multiple areas. The redshirt freshman has completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,918 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. His rushing numbers are also impressive as well as he has 258 rushing yards (4th on the team) and 5 rushing touchdowns (tied for 1st on the team with George Atkinson III). Tommy Rees has seen playing time in the last 10 games in a row and has completed 57.6 percent of his passes for 436 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions on the season. Andrew Hendrix has appeared in 3 games this season as well and has completed 5 of his 7 passes for 55 yards this season.
Notre Dame QB's vs. USC Pass Defense: USC comes in with the 68th ranked pass defense overall. They have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 61 percent of their passes and allow 241.7 yards per game. In addition, they have also allowed 18 passing touchdowns and have intercepted 18 passes as well. Everett Golson has been very impressive in the last 4 games and has done quite well in prime-time games. Despite missing one of his best receivers in Davaris Daniels, he set career highs in a few passing areas against Wake Forest, look for Golson to continue playing at the strong level that he has been playing at in the last few games.
Edge: Notre Dame
USC QB's: USC quarterback Matt Barkley is out against Notre Dame with an injury that he sustained last weekend in the loss to UCLA. The 4-year starter had completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. With Barkley out, redshirt freshman Max Wittek will make his first career start against the Irish. On the season he has appeared in 6 games and he has completed 8 of 9 passes for 95 yards and 1 touchdown. Cody Kessler appeared in 8 games and completed 2 of 2 passes for 9 yards.
USC QB's vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense: Notre Dame has done a great job on pass defense this season by allowing only 3 of their 11 opponents to throw for more than 200 yards this season. The Irish pass defense is ranked 24th in the nation and has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 59.4 percent of their passes for 195.2 passing yards a game. Notre Dame has also only allowed 6 passing touchdowns all season and has intercepted 14 passes on the season. With a redshirt freshman making his first career start rather than the injured 4-year starter starter, there is a drop off. However, Max Wittek has the best receivers that Notre Dame faces all season, but Notre Dame should be able to apply pressure on Wittek and be able to drop enough defenders in coverage to shut down USC's passing offense.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame RB's: Theo Riddick leads the Irish in rushing yards with 734 rushing yards on 160 carries for an average of 4.6 yards a carry and has 4 rushing touchdowns. Theo Riddick has been very good in the receiving game as well with 331 receiving yards on 32 catches and also has 1 receiving touchdown as well. Cierre Wood is coming off a strong game and in 9 games this season he has 720 rushing yards this season on 102 carries with 7.1 yards a carry. He also has the two longest rushing touchdowns by the Irish with a 62 yard touchdown and a 68 yard touchdown. George Atkinson III has rushed for 346 yards this season 49 carries and also has a 7.1 yard average. He also has 5 rushing touchdowns (tied for 1st overall with Everett Golson) as well. Cam McDaniel has seen time as well with 125 rushing yards on 23 carries for a 5.4 yard average and has 1 rushing touchdown as well.
Notre Dame RB's vs. USC Rush Defense: The Trojans has the 50th ranked run defense in the nation. They have allowed opponents to rush for 150.4 rushing yards a game, average 3.9 yards per rush, and they also has allowed 15 rushing touchdowns as well. Notre Dame comes in with the 33rd ranked rushing offense that averages 200.7 yards a game. Notre Dame should be able to get the run game going against USC considering that they have two running backs with 700+ rushing yards this season and the team has 21 rushing touchdowns overall. Theo Riddick didn't get a lot of touches against Wake Forest, which was likely to rest him for USC, but look for both Wood and Riddick to get a solid amount of carries against USC. Look for another strong rushing performance by the Irish. Ball control will be very important and Notre Dame will need to establish the run as soon as possible. It will help keep USC's offense off the field and keep the Notre Dame defense rested so they don't tire out.
USC RB's: Silas Redd leads the Trojans in rushing with 740 rushing yards on 138 carries and also has 9 rushing touchdowns and a 5.4 yard average. Curtis McNeal also has a good amount of rushing yards with 658 yards on 103 carries and has a 6.3 yard average with 2 rushing touchdowns. The only other running back with notable rushing numbers is D.J. Morgan with 201 rushing yards on 41 carries and he has 1 touchdown and a 4.9 yard average.
USC RB's vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense: The 66th ranked rushing offense of USC goes up against one of the best run defenses in college football. Notre Dame's run defense is ranked 5th in the nation and has allowed only 2 rushing touchdowns all season and is allowing opponents to average just 3.1 yards a carries and 92.2 yards a game. Notre Dame has allowed only 4 opponents to gain 100 or more rushing yards in a single game this season with the most being 161 in the 13-6 win over Michigan. Notre Dame has done a great job in shutting down opposing run offenses this season and should be able to do the same against USC.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame WR's and TE's: The receiving unit is doing a great job despite losing Davaris Daniels for the regular season to injury who had 25 catches for 375 yards this season. Tyler Eifert and TJ Jones are tied in receptions and receiving touchdowns and the receiving yards are close to. Both are having good seasons with TJ Jones having his best season yet for the Irish. Tyler Eifert set the school record for career receptions in the win last weekend over Wake Forest, on the season he has 40 receptions for 555 yards and 4 touchdowns. TJ Jones has 40 receptions for 519 yards and has 4 touchdowns. Robby Toma has 22 receptions for 218 yards this season and Daniel Smith has 7 catches for 47 yards. John Goodman has stepped up in the last couple weeks and has 6 receptions for 136 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 2 coming in the last 2 games and Troy Niklas has 5 catches for 75 yards.
Notre Dame WR's vs. USC DB's: USC comes in with the 68th ranked pass defense and one that has been unimpressive in the last 4 games, in which they have allowed 9 passing touchdowns and 3 of the 4 opponents to complete 60 percent or more of their passes, with 2 completing 87 percent and 73.3 percent. With Golson able to get the ball to his receivers on short and deep passes, especially as of late, look for Golson to target TJ Jones and Tyler Eifert quite often, both of whom have been really good for the Irish as of late. Tyler Eifert is quite dangerous in the endzone as he has caught all of his touchdowns this season in the endzone as well. In addition, Tyler Eifert has been important in moving the chains or getting points on the boards as 29 of 40 receptions have been for a touchdown or a first down. Even if Eifert does get a lot of coverage, it will open things up for other receivers, particularly TJ Jones and John Goodman.
Edge: Notre Dame
USC WR's and TE's: USC comes in with arguably the best receiver in college football this season in Marqise Lee, who has 107 catches for 1,605 yards and 14 touchdowns. Lee is having one of the best single seasons for a receiver and is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the best wide receiver in the nation. He isn't the only dangerous receiver the Trojans have, as Robert Woods has 66 catches for 721 yards and 10 touchdowns. Tight Ends Xavier Grimble has 26 receptions for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns while Randall Telfer has 12 catches for 100 yards and 4 touchdowns. Nelson Agholor has 19 receptions 340 yards and 2 touchdowns as well. These 5 get a majority of the receptions, yards, and touchdowns has they combine for 230 of the 256 total receptions out of every player, 3,054 receiving yards out of 3377 receiving yards, and 35 of 37 receiving touchdowns.
USC WR's vs. Notre Dame DB's: The Irish come in with the 24th ranked pass defense that has held 8 out of 11 opponents to below 200 yards passing this season. They face their biggest challenge yet in the receiving game of the Trojans which has 5 players that account for a very large majority of the receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Despite the fact that USC is starting a backup, it will be vital to stop Marqise Lee the most out of all the receivers, but also account for the other receivers and tight ends too.
Notre Dame OL: The offensive line of Notre Dame has been really good as of late. One of the biggest reasons has to be junior left tackle Zach Martin, who has started all 37 games in his career so far for Notre Dame and is also a captain on offense as well. Notre Dame has done a good job in the run block area by allowing them to average 200.7 yards a game, 5 yards per rush, and accumulate 21 rushing touchdowns. The offensive line has also allowed 49 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and 42 quarterback hurries as well.
Notre Dame OL vs. USC DL: The Trojans have been able to get into opposing backfields pretty easily by accumulating 88 tackles for loss and 42 sacks, but only 2 quarterback hurries. Keeping Golson protected is extremely important for the Notre Dame offensive line as Morgan Breslin leads USC with 17.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks most notably. It will also be important to keep USC out of the backfield as well to reduce tackles for loss and Golson will need to get the balls to his receivers quickly.
USC OL: The offensive line of USC has allowed 61 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and 4 quarterback hurries this season. They have been solid in run blocking as they are averaging 160.5 yards a game, 5.1 yards per rush, and have 12 rushing touchdowns as well. They did have a bit of a drop off since they lost the 4th overall pick to the 2012 NFL Draft in offensive tackle Matt Kalil as Max Tuerk, a true freshman now starts on the line this season.
USC OL vs. Notre Dame DL: The Trojans face one of the best defenses in the country that has racked up 61 tackles for loss and 32 sacks, and also gets a lot of pressure on quarterbacks with 46 quarterback hurries as well. Stephon Tuitt is a major challenge to keep out of the backfield with 13 tackles for loss and 12 sacks this season. Tuitt won't be the only player on the line that USC has to account for and with a backup in as starter at quarterback will make things interesting.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame DL: Stephon Tuitt has been a dominant force for the Irish on the defensive line as he ranks first overall in sack yardage with 89 yards. On the season he has 40 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 9 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 blocked kick. Louis Nix III has also had a huge impact on the defensive line at his nose tackle position and has 42 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Kapron Lewis-Moore is having a strong senior season as the 4-year starter has 34 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 9 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Sheldon Day has had a lot of playing time with 20 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Tony Springmann has 11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 3 quarterback hurries.
Notre Dame DL vs. USC OL: With USC starting a backup quarterback, it will mean that Notre Dame will be able to drop more defenders into coverage and still be able to get pressure with little difficulty. Stephon Tuitt is nearing the single season sack record and Louis Nix III is able to plug up the middle. Look for a strong game out of the defensive line of the Irish.
Edge: Notre Dame
USC DL: Morgan Breslin is having a pretty good season for USC with 49 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, 4 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. Leonard Williams is also having a good season as well with 42 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 2 fumble recoveries. Wes Horton has 32 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. George Uko has 24 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble while Antwaun Woods has 16 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks.
USC DL vs. Notre Dame OL: With the amount of sacks and tackles for loss that the defensive line has accumulated for USC this season, it means that protecting Golson is top priority for the Notre Dame offensive line while also keeping them out of the backfield so that the running game can get moving as well. It should be an interesting matchup overall.
Notre Dame LB's: Manti Te'o is having a legendary season for the Irish as he has a team-leading 98 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 4 quarterback hurries and 2 fumble recoveries. His 6 interceptions are a school record by a linebacker. He is a finalist for many awards such as the Maxwell Award, the Bednarik Award, and many others. In addition, he also is one of the top candidates for the Heisman Trophy. Te'o also helps give Notre Dame one of the best front sevens in the nation and the best scoring defense as well. Prince Shembo also has been having a tremendous impact as well with 43 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 12 quarterback hurries, and 1 fumble recovery. Dan Fox also has been doing well with 54 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Carlo Calabrese has 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and forced fumble while Danny Spond has 36 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups this season. Ishaq Williams has 19 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Other linebackers that have played a decent amount include Jarrett Grace, Ben Councell, Kendall Moore, and Romeo Okwara.
Notre Dame LB's vs. USC: The linebackers have a couple of tight ends to account for in the pass coverage as Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer combine for 38 receptions, 388 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Run coverage is important to with Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal. With Manti Te'o leading the defense, Notre Dame should be able to account for all of them as needed. Manti Te'o should yet again have another strong game and could also more or less be the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.
Edge: Notre Dame
USC LB's: Hayes Pullard is 2nd overall in tackles by a USC defender with 78 and he also has 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Dion Bailey has 71 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Lamar Dawson has 64 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble while Anthony Sarao has 36 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 fumble recovery. Tony Burnett has 22 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.
USC LB's vs. Notre Dame: The linebackers should have more to account for with Notre Dame having a really good running game that has three running backs that are able to be rotated often and a quarterback that can take off as well. Tyler Eifert also will make things interesting in the pass coverage as well as he has been quite dangerous in the last 6 games with 29 receptions and 3 touchdowns as well. Golson continues to find him more and more and that will make it harder to cover him as well.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame DB's: The secondary has done a terrific job at containing opposing quarterbacks as only 3 opponents this season have passed for 200 or more yards all season against Notre Dame. Zeke Motta leads all defensive backs in tackles with 56 and has 1 tackle for loss, 2 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. Bennett Jackson is having a really good season and has 55 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. KeiVarae Russell is having a good freshman season and has done a great job in tackling as well. He has 47 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 1 quarterback hurry. Matthias Farley has done well in replacing the injured Jamoris Slaughter earlier this season and he has 34 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Other defensive backs have played a decent amount as well, especially Elijah Shumate.
Notre Dame DB's vs. USC WR's: The big matchup here will be Bennett Jackson vs. Marqise Lee who is among the best receivers in college football. Robert Woods will also prove dangerous as well in shutting down, along with Nelson Agholor. Of the three wide receivers that have to be accounted for, none are bigger that 6'1'' which means that they wont have the size to beat defenders with. The two tight ends will need to be accounted for too, but Notre Dame should be able to drop more defensive backs into coverage as well, and need to also prevent short passes and the big play too.
USC DB's: T.J. McDonald leads USC in tackles with 89 and has 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 blocked kick. Nickell Robey has 45 tackles, 1 interception, 4 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble and 1 blocked kick. Torin Harris has 30 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 6 pass breakups while Jawanza Starling has 30 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble. Josh Shaw has 23 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and 5 pass breakups.
USC DB's vs. Notre Dame WR's: The Trojan defensive backs have quite a bit to account for despite the fact that Notre Dame doesn't have Davaris Daniels playing. TJ Jones is coming off a career high in receiving yards and tied his career high in receptions in the win over Wake Forest, John Goodman has been strong in the last 2 games particularly and should close out his senior season strong. Tyler Eifert is always dangerous and can attract double or triple teams. However, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson continues to get better and better and has been getting the ball to his receivers and really doing well at extending plays. Look for the receivers of Notre Dame to have a strong game as Golson has another strong prime-time performance.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame Kicking Game: Kyle Brindza has made 18 of 25 field goals this season with a long of 47 yards. Ben Turk is averaging 40.3 yards a punt with a long of 53. He has punted the ball 45 times, and 2 were touchbacks, 18 fair caught, 13 inside the 20, and 7 of 50+ yards. Kyle Brindza is the kickoff specialist as well with a 62.4 yard average on 62 kickoffs with 23 touchbacks.
USC Kicking Game: Andre Heidari is 8 of 13 this season with a long of 41 and is 2-6 when it is 40 or more yards. He also has had 2 blocked kicks this season as well. Kyle Negrete is averaging 42.2 yards a punt on 33 punts with a long of 65 and has had 9 fair caught, 15 inside the 20, and 8 of 50+ yards. Craig McMahon and Andrew Heidari have both done kickoffs. McMahon is averaging 61.1 yards on 37 kickoffs with 17 touchbacks while Heidara is averaging 61.7 yards a kickoff on 34 kickoffs with 12 touchbacks.
Stronger Unit: Even
Notre Dame Return Game: George Atkinson III has returned 15 kickoffs for 307 yards and averages 20.5 yards a return and Cam McDaniel has 7 returns for 135 yards and a 19.3 yards average. Punt returns remain a non-factor with Davonte Neal returning 18 for just 44 yards all season long.
USC Return Game: Marqise Lee has been dangerous in kickoff returns with a 29.3 yard average. He has returned 24 kickoffs for 704 yards and 1 touchdown. Nelson Agholor has 5 returns for 121 yards as well. Robert Woods has a majority of the returns with 11 for 42 yards and Nickell Robey has 8 for 72 yards. Anthony Brown has returned one 21 yards for 1 touchdown too.
Stronger Unit: USC
Everything Else: Notre Dame is coming off a 38-0 win over Wake Forest which featured the defense posting its first shutout of the season. Golson was unstoppable through the air and the ground game got it going as well. With Matt Barkley out for USC at quarterback, it becomes for more difficult for them. However, they are still dangerous, especially with the receiving unit that is headlined by Marqise Lee, who is the best player on USC's roster as well. Notre Dame will need to get the running game going early and move the chains and control the clock. Golson should be able to build upon his strong performance last weekend and find his targets. Escaping pressure from the USC defense will be vital. Should Notre Dame win this one, they will remain the number one team in the nation and be going to the National Championship.
Prediction: Notre Dame 27, USC 10
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Notre Dame QB's: Notre Dame Quarterback Everett Golson is coming off another strong performance in a 21-6 at Boston College. On the season he has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,572 yards with 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. In addition to his passing numbers, Golson has rushed for 258 yards (4th overall) and 5 touchdowns (1st overall) as well. Backup quarterback Tommy Rees has appeared in 9 games this season and has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 419 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Andrew Hendrix has only appeared in 2 games with him completing 5 of 6 passes for 55 yards.
Notre Dame QB's: Wake Forest comes in with the 100th ranked pass defense, and are allowing opposing teams to complete 61.4 percent of their passes for 260.9 yards a game. They also have allowed 17 passing touchdowns and have intercepted 9 passes this season. This will be among the worst pass defenses that the Irish face all season. Considering that Golson has been doing very well in the last 3 games (4 passing touchdowns, 3 rushing touchdowns, and a 2-point conversion), he should have another strong performance and throw for a couple touchdown passes as well while possibly setting a career high in a passing category as well.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest QB's: Tanner Price is the starting quarterback for the Demon Deacons, the junior has completed 55.4 percent of his passes for 1,965 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Tanner Price isn't the only quarterback that has played as in the last game, a 37-6 loss at North Carolina St. had 3 quarterbacks play and had a wide receiver throw a touchdown pass for the only score in the loss. Patrick Thompson has completed 4 of 5 passes for 20 yards and Brendan Cross has completed 1 of 3 passes for -2 yards on the season. The pass offense overall is ranked 88th overall with an average of 207 yards a game.
Wake Forest QB's vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense: The Irish have been pretty good at defending the pass, as they have only allowed 3 opponents this season to pass for more than 200 yards all season. This is still despite the fact that they lost 2 players in the preseason to injury, and another early on in the season as well. The Irish have allowed 199.3 passing yards a game this season and allow opposing players to complete 58.8 percent of their passes, along with 6 passing touchdowns allowed, but have intercepted 14 passes this season. Look for Notre Dame to hold its 8th opponent to below 200 yards and for the first interception for a touchdown this season by the Notre Dame defense.
Notre Dame RB's: Theo Riddick has been the leading rusher for Notre Dame this season, and has rushed for 714 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. He has done it on 154 carries and has a 4.6 yard average. Riddick has also been vital in the receiving game too with 29 receptions for 273 yards and 1 touchdown. Cierre Wood is 2nd in rushing with 570 rushing yards on 91 carries with a 6.3 yard average. He also has 3 rushing touchdowns and the longest running play, a 62 yard touchdown run against Oklahoma. George Atkinson III is 3rd in rushing with 312 rushing yards on 42 carries, with an average of 7.4 yards a carry and 4 rushing touchdowns on the season. Cam McDaniel has 114 rushing yards on 20 carries, a 5.7 yard average, and 1 rushing touchdown.
Notre Dame RB's vs. Wake Forest Rush Defense: Wake Forest is ranked 65th in run defense and is allowing 156.9 rushing yards a game. Opponents are getting in 3.7 yards a carry, but Wake Forest has allowed 17 rushing touchdowns. This actually looks good for the Irish as they have ran for 19 touchdowns on the ground this season and this will also allow for Notre Dame to rotate running backs as well to keep them from wearing down, especially with the final regular season game at USC. Look for a solid performance from the ground game of Notre Dame that is averaging 198.7 yards a game and 4.8 yards a carry on top of that.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest RB's: Wake Forest has one of the weakest running games in college football with the 114th ranked rush offense that averages 102.7 yards a game. Josh Harris leads the Demon Deacons in rushing with 607 rushing yards on 136 carries with a 4.5 yard average and 5 touchdowns. Freshman Deandre Martin is second in rushing with 371 yards on 88 carries with a 4.2 yard average and 5 touchdowns. Beyond those two running backs are very few rushing yards as the next leading rusher is actually wide receiver Michael Campanaro who has 69 rushing yards on 14 carries with 1 touchdown and a 4.9 yard average.
Wake Forest RB's vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense: Considering the weak rushing offense of the Demon Deacons, they do not matchup well against the Irish run defense that is ranked 6th in the nation and is allowing just 95.9 rushing yards a game and have allowed just 2 rushing touchdowns all season long. If Harris and Martin are shut down in the running game, it will completely nullify the running game of Wake Forest and force Wake Forest into a one-dimensional offense. Notre Dame has one of the best front sevens in all of college football and should have another strong performance that could move the run defense up in the rankings.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame WR's and TE's: The Irish suffered a big loss when starting wide receiver Davaris Daniels was lost for the regular season with an injury against Boston College. He had 25 receptions for 375 yards and averaged 15 yards a catch as well. With Daniels out until the bowl game, look for senior John Goodman to step up in his place, even though Goodman only has 4 receptions for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns, but senior receivers have been known to step up late in the season when needed (example: Duval Kamara caught 3 touchdown passes in the final few games of his senior season back in 2010, including an important touchdown in the win over USC.). Tyler Eifert leads the Irish in receiving yards with 470 and has been targeted quite often in the last few games, expect that to continue even more with Daniels out, he also has 34 receptions and 3 touchdowns as well. TJ Jones is having his best season yet for the Irish with 34 catches for 422 yards and 3 touchdowns. Robby Toma has been reliable as always with 20 receptions for 181 yards. Other players in addition to Goodman that will be expected to step up with Daniels out will be Daniel Smith (6 receptions, 37 yards) and Chris Brown (1 reception, 50 yards). Troy Niklas caught his first career touchdown and could be targeted more too and has 5 catches for 75 yards and 1 touchdown.
Notre Dame WR's vs. Wake Forest DB's: With Wake Forest having a weak pass defense, look for Eifert to be targeted often, especially in the endzone and Eifert will be able to use his size to his advantage as well. This is also in part to not having Davaris Daniels available as well in the receiving game. Look for TJ Jones and John Goodman to be targeted often as well. It would also be wise to use Chris Brown on other types of passing plays so that the deep pass to Brown isn't as expected as well. Also look for Golson to spread the ball around as well, which has been important this season as no player has more than 34 receptions this season.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest WR's and TE's: Michael Campanaro is the leading receiver for Wake Forest with 65 catches for 618 yards and 6 touchdowns. Terence Davis is 2nd with 37 receptions for 495 yards and 2 touchdowns, while fullback Tommy Bohanon has 20 receptions for 192 yards and 5 touchdowns. Sherman Ragland has 19 receptions for 220 yards and averages 11.6 yards a catch. Brandon Terry has only 14 catches, but it has gone for 287 yards and a 20.5 yard average a catch, and he is a big target at 6'5'' and 205 lbs.
Wake Forest WR's vs. Notre Dame DB's: Michael Campanaro is the top receiver, but he is a small target at 5'10'' and averages just 9.5 yards a catch. With Brandon Terry being a big target and also 3rd in receiving yards, he might be just as important to shut down along with Terence Davis and Tommy Bohanon. Look for the Irish to have 5 defensive backs in on most plays with the weak running game of Wake Forest. Notre Dame having KeiVarae Russell to play after being hurt late against Boston College will help too as Notre Dame cannot afford to lose any more players in the secondary. Despite this, the Notre Dame secondary should be able to keep Wake Forest's receivers under control.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame OL: The offensive line has done well as of late in staying consistent and are doing well in the run blocking and pass blocking too. The run game is averaging 198.7 yards a game, 4.8 per rush, and have 19 rushing touchdowns as well. They have allowed 15 sacks on the season, along with 37 quarterback hurries and 45 tackles for loss as well.
Notre Dame OL vs. Wake Forest DL: Wake Forest has accumulated 23 sacks by its defense with defensive end Zach Thompson and linebacker Justin Jackson tying for the lead with 4 sacks each. The defense also has 15 quarterback hurries and an impressive 68 tackles for loss as well. Keeping opposing defenders out of the backfield will be absolutely important when factoring in how many tackles for loss that the Demon Deacons have this season.
Wake Forest OL: Wake Forest has been less impressive on the offensive line. Run blocking has been very poor with an average of 102.7 yards per game, and 3.1 yards per rush. Opponents are also able to get into the backfield easily as well as Wake Forest has allowed 23 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries, and 66. Part of this is due to losing 4 starters from the 2011 team with the lone returning starter being senior center Garrick Williams.
Wake Forest OL vs. Notre Dame DL: With the young offensive line allowing opponents to get into the backfield often along with allowing many sacks does not look good for the Wake Forest offensive line. Notre Dame's defense has totaled 57 tackles for loss, 31 sacks, and 41 quarterback hurries on the season. Stephon Tuitt is getting closer to the single season record for sacks and potentially break that record against Wake Forest. The Irish have one of the best front sevens that should be able to put pressure on the Demon Deacons offensive line without much difficulty and may not need to stack the box with all of the deficiencies of the offensive line.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame DL: Stephon Tuitt is having a sensational season, the defensive end leads all defensive lineman in tackles with 37, has 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 9 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 blocked kick. Louis Nix III is good to go after a late game ejection against Boston College and won't miss any time. He has 35 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble this season. Kapron Lewis-Moore continues to provide a veteran presence on the defensive line with 31 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 7 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Sheldon Day has seen extensive playing time with 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Tony Springmann has also seen time in every game with 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries.
Notre Dame DL vs. Wake Forest OL: Notre Dame should have no difficulty in applying pressure to Wake Forest's offensive line and should be able to get in quite a few sacks on Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price. Look for a strong game out of the line and for the Irish to win this one in the trenches. It is also possible for Notre Dame to get its first safety in years.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest DL: Zach Thompson leads all Wake Forest defensive lineman in tackles with 48, and also has 5.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble. Nikita Whitlock has 41 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 quarterback hurries. Kris Redding has 30 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles. Hasan Hazime has 23 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles. Tylor Harris has 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
Wake Forest DL vs. Notre Dame OL: The offensive line has been consistent as of late, but Wake Forest has been great at getting into the opponent's backfield with the 68 tackles for loss. Notre Dame will need to keep up the consistency and prevent the Wake Forest defense from getting into the backfield to win this battle.
Notre Dame LB's: Manti Te'o continues to have one of the greatest seasons in school history and is one of the top candidates for the Heisman. He set the school record for interceptions by a linebacker in a single season with 6 after getting an interception against Boston College. On the season Te'o has 92 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 4 quarterback hurries, and 2 fumble recoveries. Manti Te'o helps give the Irish one of the top linebacker units and front sevens in the nation. Dan Fox has 51 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Prince Shembo is having his best season yet and has 43 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 11 quarterback hurries, and 1 fumble recovery. Carlo Calabrese has 39 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Danny Spond has 33 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups. Ishaq Williams has 18 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Other players that have seen playing time include Jarrett Grace, Kendall Moore, Ben Councell, and Romeo Okwara.
Notre Dame LB's vs. Wake Forest: The linebackers will be relied upon in run and pass coverage, while also in generating pressure on Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price. With the amount of sacks and tackles for loss that the offensive line of Wake Forest has allowed, this should not be an issue. Look for Te'o and Shembo to have a big game, and for Te'o to have another big moment that could have him be in bigger consideration of the Heisman Trophy.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest LB's: Justin Jackson leads the Demon Deacons in tackles with 75, he also leads in tackles for loss at 8.5, and also has 4 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 2 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 blocked kick. Mike Olson has 68 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Riley Haynes has 58 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 interception. Joey Ehrmann has 46 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Zach Allen has 36 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Scott Betros has 22 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, and 1 forced fumble. Brandon Chubb has 21 tackles and 1 tackle for loss, while Darricus Ellis has 9 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
Wake Forest LB's vs. Notre Dame: Wake Forest has many linebackers who are able to get into the backfield and linebackers who can force fumbles. The linebackers will have to worry about a Notre Dame offense with multiple running backs, a tight end who is a big target, and a quarterback that continues to get better and better as the season has progressed. Notre Dame must prevent the linebackers from getting into the backfield.
Notre Dame DB's: The defensive backs of Notre Dame have done a much better job than projected before the season started. The unit is ranked 25th in the nation and KeiVarae Russell was cleared to play despite a late injury in the win over Boston College. Bennett Jackson is having an amazing season with 52 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. Zeke Motta has 52 tackles as well, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups. KeiVarae Russell has 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 1 quarterback hurry. Matthias Farley has 30 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Other defensive backs that have seen time are Dan McCarthy, Elijah Shumate, Nicky Baratti, and Josh Atkinson.
Notre Dame DB's vs. Wake Forest WR's: The defensive backs will need to primarily account for Michael Campanaro, Terence Davis, and Brandon Terry in the receiving game. However, Tommy Bahanon and Sherman Ragland must be accounted for as well. Brandon Terry is the big target and averages more than 20 yards a reception and could prove to be dangerous. If Notre Dame shuts down the run game, and forces Wake Forest to be one-dimensional on offense, it will be easier. Notre Dame should be able to have more guys in coverage to handle the Wake Forest receivers.
Edge: Notre Dame
Wake Forest DB's: AJ Marshall has 61 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions with 1 being returned for a touchdown, 4 pass breakups, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Kevin Johnson has 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 12 pass breakups, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles. Daniel Mack has 50 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 fumble recovery. Kenny Okoro has 38 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 4 pass breakups. Merrill Noel has 28 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and 3 pass breakups and Duran Lowe has 28 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 fumble recovery.
Wake Forest DB's vs. Notre Dame WR's: The defensive backs may not have to worry about Davaris Daniels, but Tyler Eifert still must be accounted for and he is a big target that can use his size to get the ball and also is dangerous in the endzone. TJ Jones also has really emerged, and Notre Dame will have other receivers step up in the absence of Daniels. Look for the Demon Deacons defensive backs that have the 100th ranked pass defense to have difficulty with Eifert and the rest of the Notre Dame recievers.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame Kicking Game: Kyle Brindza is 17 of 23 on the season in field goals and the last game against Boston College was the first game this season that did not have a single field goal attempt. Ben Turk averages 40.7 yards a punt on 41 punts with a long of 53. He also has 2 touchbacks, 16 fair caught, 12 inside the 20, and 7 punts of 50 or more yards. Kyle Brindza is also the kickoff specialist and has a 62.4 yard average on 55 kickoffs with 22 going for touchbacks.
Wake Forest Kicking Game: Field goal kicking has been minimal compared to Notre Dame for Wake Forest. Jimmy Newman is 2 of 6 in field goals and is 1 of 5 when beyond the 40. Chad Hedlund is 3 for 3 with a long of 44 yards. Alexander Kinal is the punter and averages 40.7 yards a punt on 80 punts with a long of 61. 5 have gone for touchbacks, 23 were fair caught, 24 have been inside the 20, and 12 have been for 50 or more yards. Jimmy Newman is the kickoff specialist as well with a 62.4 yard average on 41 kickoffs with 24 touchbacks, but 1 went out of bounds.
Notre Dame Return Game: George Atkinson III is the primary kickoff returner with 15 kickoffs returned for 307 yards and a 20.5 yard average. Cam McDaniel has returned 6 kickoffs for 118 yards and a 19.7 yard average. Punt Returns have been a non-factor with Davonte Neal returning 14 punts for 31 yards.
Wake Forest Return Game: Orville Reynolds has returned 11 kickoffs for 162 yards and has a 14.7 yard average. Lovell Jackson has 7 kickoff returns for 137 yards and also returns punts with 9 returns for 123 yards and a long of 60 yards.
Stronger Unit: Wake Forest
Everything Else: Notre Dame is 10-0 and heads home for the final home game of the regular season against 5-5 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons haven't been really good this season with a 0-52 shutout loss at Florida St., a 13-42 home loss against Clemson. They also are 1-3 on the road with the win being a 16-10 over Virginia, 2 blowout losses to Florida St. and NC St., and a 14-19 loss to Maryland. They also barely beat Division 1-AA Liberty 20-17 and beat Army 49-37 for non-conference games. Notre Dame has played it close at home this season with a late field goal needed to beat Purdue, a 13-6 win over Michigan, overtime was needed for Stanford, beat BYU 17-14, and needed triple-overtime for Pittsburgh. With it being senior saturday, look for strong performances out of many seniors, especially Manti Te'o, who has been the heart and soul of the Notre Dame Football Team. Everett Golson should have his best game yet for Notre Dame as well and also look for Notre Dame to have its best performance at home this season as well.
Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Wake Forest 3