Date: Saturday, September 10
Game Time: 3:30 pm ET
Venue: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN
After a heartbreaking 50-47 double overtime loss to the Texas Longhorns, the No. 18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking for a rebound win against the Nevada Wolfpack.
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack are coming off a nail-biting 30-27 win over FCS school Cal Poly Mustangs in overtime. It is clear both sides want to play better Saturday afternoon.
The week of preparation has been interesting for Notre Dame so far. First of all, they have had a short week to prepare, they played on Sunday, which means they had one less day to prepare for Nevada. Also, Brian Kelly named DeShone Kizer as the full-time starting quarterback.
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Kizer and redshirt junior Malik Zaire split reps against Texas, but Kizer played most of the second half because he was better. Kizer completed 15 of his 24 pass attempts for 215 yards and five passing touchdowns. He also added 13 carries for 77 yards and scored a rushing touchdown.
With Kizer as the full-time starter, Notre Dame fans should feel at ease about their team’s offense. The same cannot be said for the Fighting Irish’s defense.
The Notre Dame defense surrendered 50 points and over 500 total yards. The unit has to clean its mistakes and tackle much better against Nevada.
The Wolfpack have a few weapons that could give the Irish defense some problems. One of those weapons is running back James Butler.
The junior running back ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. One of those touchdowns was a 50-yard run. He will be a player the Notre Dame defense will identify before every play.
The Fighting Irish will also have to contend with dual-threat quarterback Tyler Stewart. He completed 17 of 23 pass attempts for 189 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also had 31 rushing yards on eight carries.
The Notre Dame defense should be much better than Cal Poly’s defense. However, the Fighting Irish still need to focus on shutting down Butler and Stewart.
A weakness the Fighting Irish can exploit is the Wolfpack’s sub-par run defense. Even though Cal Poly is a triple option run team, the Wolfpack really struggled to tackle the Mustangs’ running backs. The Mustangs ran for 383 rushing yards last Saturday.
Overall, this game should not be too difficult for the Fighting Irish. Nevada will present some challenges early in the game. However, the overall depth and talent of Notre Dame should result in a blowout victory.
Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Nevada 20