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
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Notre Dame QB's: Everett Golson is coming off a triple overtime win at home over Pittsburgh where he rallied the Irish down from a 20-6 deficit to force overtime before eventually scoring the game winning touchdown. Golson was effective on the ground and in the air during this rally to win against Pittsburgh. On the season he has completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 1,372 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He also has ran for 219 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground, which is 4th best on the team in the rushing department. Tommy Rees has seen playing time in every game this season except the first game, he has completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 410 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Third-string quarterback Andrew Hendrix has seen playing time in the games against Navy and BYU this season and has completed 5 of 6 passes for 55 yards. Hendrix also has 34 rushing yards on 7 carries as well this season.
Notre Dame QB's vs. Boston College Pass Defense: The Eagles have the 73rd ranked pass defense in college football and have allowed 245.2 passing yards a game and are allowing opponents to complete 63 percent of their passes this season and have allowed 14 passing touchdowns while also intercepting 10 passes this season. Despite being temporarily pulled midway through the game against Pittsburgh, Golson has done very well in the last 2 games and should have a more opened up offense and have a strong game in the air for the Irish and could put up career highs in passing yards and touchdowns even. Should another quarterback have to come in, be it for relief or to close out a game that is well in hand, it would be wise for Andrew Hendrix to come in over Tommy Rees. This is mainly due to the running ability of Hendrix that matches up well against a Boston College run defense that is ranked near the bottom and among the worst in the nation. Overall, Golson should have no issue building upon the comeback win over Pittsburgh.
Edge: Notre Dame
Boston College QB's: Chase Rettig is in his third year in a row as starting quarterback for Boston College, he has completed 56.4 percent of his passes for 2,561 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions this season. Backup Josh Bordner has appeared in 2 games this season and has completed 1 of 2 passes for 7 yards on the season. Rettig is having his best season statistically and this is despite him having 4 different offensive coordinators in the last year or so.
Boston College QB's vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense: The Irish have the 21st ranked pass defense and have allowed only 2 opponents this season to pass for more than 200 yards this season. Notre Dame is allowing 194 passing yards a game and opponents are completing 58.2 percent of their passes and Notre Dame has allowed 6 touchdown passes and have intercepted 13 passes as well. Rettig and the Eagles come in with the 27th ranked passing offense and what the Irish need to do is shut him down in the air. Considering that the secondary had some issues at time against Pittsburgh, they ought to be able to improve on tackling and make Boston College the 8th opponent Notre Dame that holds below 200 passing yards as well.
Notre Dame RB's: Theo Riddick is the leading rusher for the Irish this season, he has been a very important player in the running game and receiving game for Notre Dame. He has rushed for 610 rushing yards on 136 carries with a 4.5 yard average with 4 touchdowns. In the receiving game he has 25 catches for 217 yards and 1 touchdown that helped lead to the tie that forced overtime against Pittsburgh. Cierre Wood has ran for 537 yards on 85 carries for a 6.3 yard average and 3 touchdowns. George Atkinson III has 38 carries for 303 yards and 4 touchdowns. All three of them have a long run of 55+ yards with George Atkinson III having 2 of them go for touchdowns. Cam McDaniel has ran for 114 yards and 1 touchdown, but his rushing yards have come only in blowout wins this season.
Notre Dame RB's vs. Boston College Run Defense: Boston College has been one of the worst teams against the run this season, they are 119th overall and are allowing 235 rushing yards a game and 18 rushing touchdowns. Opponents are also getting a 5.0 yard average per carry as well and their defense had allowed 516 rushing yards to Army earlier this season most notably. Considering Notre Dame's depth and success at running the ball this season, this matchup clearly favors the Irish who could potentially have a season high in rushing yards against Boston College and should be able to rotate between Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood, George Atkinson III, and Cam McDaniel frequently while also using Everett Golson's running ability. Notre Dame should easily have at least 2 players exceed the 100 yard rush mark against Boston College as well.
Edge: Notre Dame
Boston College RB's: Andre Williams is the leading rusher and has nearly all of the rushing yards, carries and touchdowns. He has ran for 599 of the teams 697 yards (86 percent), has 130 of the teams 248 carries (52 percent), 4 of the teams 5 rushing touchdowns (80 percent). However, he is out this week with an injury. Rolandan Finch returns and has played in only 2 games this season and has 114 rushing yards on 25 carries with a 4.6 yard average. David Dudeck has 25 rushing yards on 24 carries as well. The running game has been largely ineffective at times this season with only 30 rushing yards against Northwestern, 42 vs. Georgia Tech, 8 rushing yards vs. Maryland, and 12 against Wake Forest. Only 2 games this season have they exceeded 100 rushing yards this season which are 166 against division 1-AA Maine and 186 against Army.
Boston College RB's vs. Notre Dame Run Defense: The Eagles face the 11th ranked rushing defense of Notre Dame who has allowed 100.6 rushing yards a game and opponents to get 3.2 yards a carry, while only allowing 2 rushing touchdowns all season. This matchup also favors the Irish as Boston College has 122nd ranked run defense, which is 3rd worst in all of college football. Boston College will have a difficult time getting things going against a very strong front seven led by Manti Te'o and it is potentially possible for Notre Dame to hold Boston College to negative yards rushing as well.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame WR's and TE's: Tyler Eifert leads the Irish with 403 receiving yards on 28 receptions and has 3 touchdowns. TJ Jones has been having his best season yet with 383 receiving yards on 31 catches and 3 touchdowns, while Davaris Daniels has 23 receptions for 353 receiving yards as well. Robby Toma has 20 catches for 181 yards. Other players that have seen playing time include Daniel Smith (6 catches for 37 yards), Troy Niklas (4 catches for 68 yards), John Goodman (3 catches for 59 yards and 1 touchdown), and Chris Brown (1 reception for 50 yards).
Notre Dame WR's vs. Boston College DB's: The 73rd ranked pass defense hasn't been too good by surrendering quite a few touchdowns and letting opponents catch the ball often. This can play a big part in the short and deep passing game. By using TJ Jones on the short passes will help gain yards and first downs, while using Daniels, Eifert, and Brown in the deeper passing game will help too. It would also be good to involve younger players on the roster like Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson as well to gain more playing time and help make an impact as well.
Edge: Notre Dame
Boston College WR's and TE's: Alex Amidon is having a very good season for Boston College with a team leading 67 receptions for 1,073 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has been the main target of Chase Rettig and is averaging 119 receiving yards a game as well and has more than double the number of yards the number 2 player has as well. Johnathan Coleman has 29 catches for 434 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bobby Swigert has 20 receptions for 245 yards and 1 touchdown, while Spiffy Evans has 17 catches for 193 yards and 1 touchdown. Chris Pantale has 10 receptions for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Boston College WR's vs. Notre Dame DB's: Considering how many yards and receptions that Alex Amidon has this season, it is expected to see him line up against Bennett Jackson, and double coverage could be necessary in taking Amidon out of the receiving game as well. However Johnathan Coleman has to be accounted for as he is a big target at 6'4'' and 228 lbs. Considering how weak the running game is for Boston College and the high amount of sacks and tackle for loss that have been allowed, it is likely that Notre Dame will drop more players into coverage and need fewer players to rush. If Amidon and Coleman become non-factors in the game, it will be over quickly for Boston College.
Notre Dame OL: Notre Dame's offensive line has done a solid job this season, especially in the run blocking area as they average 200 yards a game, 4.8 yards per rush, and have 18 rushing touchdowns. They have allowed 15 sacks this season, along with 37 quarterback hurries and 43 tackles for loss. The strength of the line is on the left side with senior center Braxston Cave and juniors Zach Martin and Chris Watt at left tackle and left guard.
Notre Dame OL vs. Boston College DL: Boston College has done a horrible job in quarterback pressure they have only had 6 sacks and 2 quarterback hurries all season long, while getting 31 tackles for loss as well. Considering the difficulties in getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, this should mean that Golson will have plenty of opportunities to complete deep passes and be able to get the ball off in time and taking off to run will be fine with the poor rushing defense of Boston College.
Edge: Notre Dame
Boston College OL: The Eagles lost one of their best lineman in Ian White with a leg injury. The offensive line has allowed opponents to get into the backfield often with 22 sacks allowed along with 51 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hurries. Run blocking has been very poor with the average per rush being only 2.8 yards and 77.4 rushing yards a game as well.
Boston College OL vs. Notre Dame DL: With Boston College's difficulties in keeping opposing defenders out of the backfield, it could be a long day with the defense of Notre Dame being one of the best this season, they have been able to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks with 41 quarterback hurries, 26 sacks and 48 tackles for loss as well. Rotating in players on the line will not be difficult and Stephon Tuitt has a chance to get close to the single season record for sacks as he leads the team with 10 this season.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame DL: The defensive line of Notre Dame has been an absolute force for the Irish this season. The starters up front have all done a very impressive job this season. Stephon Tuitt has 35 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 9 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, 1 forced fumble, and a blocked kick. Louis Nix III played little in the early part of the game against Pittsburgh due to the flu, but couldn't be held down as he was a major reason behind the defense dominating in the second half and overtime. He has done a great job anchoring the middle at nose tackle with 34 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. Kapron Lewis-Moore has been a major leader amongst the defensive line with 29 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup and 7 quarterback hurries. Sheldon Day has played extensively with 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Tony Springmann has also been in on the action too with 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries. Kona Schwenke also has played a lot and like everyone previously mentioned, has played in every game this season and has 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks.
Notre Dame DL vs. Boston College OL: The dominating defensive line of Notre Dame will have plenty of opportunities to get to the quarterback and in the backfield since Boston College has allowed 22 sacks and 51 tackles for loss. Look for frequent substitutions on the defensive line to keep players fresh and allow the backups to get playing time as well. Tuitt has a good chance of getting really close to the single season sack record as well and the defensive line should have a pretty strong effort against the Eagles.
Boston College DL: The defensive line hasn't been too great this season as the line as a whole has only accumulated 4 sacks all season. The unit didn't have many losses after the 2011 season and getting sacks was difficult the previous season as well with the defense getting only 11 in 2011. Many young players have played such as redshirt freshman Kieran Borcich, soph's Brian Mihalik and Mehdi Abdesmad. The interior is young and also features underclassmen in the two deep as well. Kasim Edebali has been one of the better defensive lineman statistically with 40 tackles (leads defensive line), 5 tackles for loss (leads team), and 1.5 sacks (leads defensive line).
Boston College DL vs. Notre Dame OL: Considering the shortcomings of the defensive line, Notre Dame's offensive line should have little difficulties in keeping the Eagles defensive line at bay. With only a small amount of sacks and only 2 quarterback hurries accumulated all season, Everett Golson will have little difficulty in getting the ball to his receivers or gaining yards on the ground too.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame LB's: Manti Te'o has been having an outstanding season for Notre Dame and is a major candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He has a team leading 87 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 4 quarterback hurries and 2 fumble recoveries. Te'o is the leader of the defense and the heart of the team as well and has had a tremendous impact in his four years at Notre Dame. Dan Fox has stepped his game up this season with 47 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Prince Shembo has done great in quarterback pressure and has a team leading 11 quarterback hurries along with 38 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 1 pass breakup. Carlo Calabrese has 35 tackles and 1 tackle for loss while Danny Spond has 30 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups. Ishaq Williams has 15 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Others have played such as Jarrett Grace, Kendall Moore and Ben Councell. Overall, this is a very deep unit that gives Notre Dame one of the top front sevens in the nation.
Notre Dame LB's vs. Boston College: Boston College will more than likely rely on the passing game with their top running back out and having one of the worst running games too. It doesn't matchup well in that area, but shutting down the passing game is a higher priority as well, which could impact coverage and how many players are up front. The Irish might drop more players into coverage and have to shut down Alex Amidon and Johnathan Coleman in the receiving game. Look for strong games out of Manti Te'o and Prince Shembo in particular, but expect substitutions in the linebacker area to get more players playing time as needed.
Edge: Notre Dame
Boston College LB's: Boston College will be without one of their best linebackers in Kevin Pierre-Louis who battles injuries. He had 68 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 2 pass breakups this season. The unit is a step down this season after the loss of first round draft pick Luke Kuechly. Nick Clancy is having a good season with 107 tackles (leads team), 1.5 tackles for loss, and 8 pass breakups. Steele Divitto has 75 tackles, 3 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble this season. Many younger players have seen time like freshmen Tim Joy and Steven Daniels, along with soph's Josh Keyes and Sean Duggan.
Boston College LB's vs. Notre Dame: Considering that one of the biggest weaknesses of Boston College is the run defense, the linebackers will be run support often, but it will open up the passing game more for Everett Golson too. Even if Boston College loads up the box to try and generate pressure, it won't be enough since they have had difficulty in getting to the quarterback all season long and could lead to single coverage and allow Golson to get the ball to bigger targets like Tyler Eifert and Davaris Daniels.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame DB's: The secondary for the Irish has been a big surprise and has significantly exceeded expectations across the board. They have only allowed 2 opponents to pass for more than 200 yards on them, and this is despite losing 3 players to season-ending injury before or during the season. Zeke Motta has emerged as the leader of the secondary and has 45 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups. Bennett Jackson is doing great in his first year starting with 44 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. KeiVarae Russell has been having a great season and has been very good at tackling as well and has 43 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Matthias Farley has done well in stepping in for injured Jamoris Slaughter, but Farley was wearing a cast on his arm due to an injury, but should recover okay and play like normal, and he has 29 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Elijah Shumate and Nicky Baratti have both seen playing time that has been vital at the same time.
Notre Dame DB's vs. Boston College WR's: Since Alex Amidon and Johnathan Coleman have a majority of the receiving yards, along with touchdowns, what the Notre Dame secondary needs to do is shut those two down. Considering how one-dimensional that Boston College's offense, if those two are taken out of the equation, it will greatly limit Chase Rettig's targets and not being able to get the ball to the 1,000+ yard receiver or the 6'4'' receiver will make it harder for Boston College to put drives together on offense.
Boston College DB's: This has been one of the better areas for Boston College this season, but not by much. Sean Sylvia has 75 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups this season while Manual Asprilla has 34 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Spencer Rositano has 33 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Justin Simmons has 33 tackles, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles while Jim Noel has 30 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. The unit has been good at generating turnovers as the Boston College secondary has 9 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles.
Boston College DB's vs. Notre Dame WR's: Golson has done a good job at getting the ball to not only receivers like TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels, but also to running back Theo Riddick who has had a tremendous impact in both the running and receiving game and tight end Tyler Eifert. With that in mind, Golson has options and other players could also see playing time as well in addition to those mentioned as well. Eifert has been targeted more and more as of late after being a non-factor at points earlier in the season. Daniels has really emerged as a deep threat as well and Chris Brown is capable of catching deep passes as well.
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame Kicking Game: Kyle Brindza has made 17 of 23 field goals this season with a long of 47. He has had consistency issues and has missed field goals in 4 of the last 5 games. Ben Turk has punted 38 times and has a 41 yard average with a long of 53 yards. He has 1 touchback, 15 fair caught, 10 inside the 20, and 7 that are 50 or more yards. Kyle Brindza has also been the kickoff specialist with 51 kickoffs with a 62.4 yard average and has 21 touchbacks as well.
Boston College Kicking Game: Nate Freese has made 12 of 14 field goals but his longest field goal has only been 39 yards. Gerald Levano has a 42.2 yard average in punting on 47 punts with a long of 66. He also has 3 touchbacks, 6 fair caught, 7 inside the 20, and 10 of 50 or more yards. Nate Freese is also the kickoff specialist with a 61.2 yard average on 40 kickoffs and 17 have been touchbacks, but one kickoff has been out-of-bounds.
Stronger Unit: Even
Notre Dame Return Game: George Atkinson III has returned 12 kickoffs for 229 yards with a 19.1 yard average, while Cam McDaniel has 6 returns for 118 yards and a 19.7 yard average. Punt returns are more or less a non-factor with Davonte Neal returning 13 for 34 yards this season.
Boston College Return Game: Spiffy Evans is the primary return specialist in both kickoffs and punts. For kickoffs he has returned 26 kickoffs for 487 yards and has a 18.7 yard average and in punt returns he has returned 7 punts for 221 yards and 1 touchdown and a long of 82 and a 31.6 yard average.
Strong Unit: Boston College
Everything Else: Boston College has been in an absolute tailspin since the firing of Jeff Jagodzinski after the 2008 season who went 22-8 in 2 seasons. Frank Spaziani stepped in after many years of being defensive coordinator and his record each season has become worse and worse. After 8-5 in 2009 and 7-6 in 2010, it has slipped to 4-8 in 2011 and currently 2-7 in 2012. Boston College is the worst team that Notre Dame this season. Their two wins have come against a division 1-AA team in Maine and a 20-17 win over Maryland that was down to their 4th string quarterback in that game. The passing game has been good this season and they have a 1,000+ yard receiver this season but are one-dimensional on offense. The defense has been awful this season, especially against the run and in getting to opposing quarterbacks. Injuries have also been an issue as well for the team on both offense and defense. If the Irish defense consistently gets pressure on Chase Rettig and shuts down his top 2 receivers while also taking the run game out of the equation, it will lead to many three-and-outs. A balanced attack on offense is best while also rotating players to get playing time is also vital. The running backs should be able to get yards without difficulty on the Boston College defense. Younger receivers also should be able to get playing time that helps in the long run as well. Notre Dame has also performed at its best on the road as well this season and should have an easy win over Boston College.
Prediction: Notre Dame 51, Boston College 3