A South Bend Showdown

Campus Clash

(14) North Carolina State Wolf Pack at (9) Notre Dame Fighting Irish

NC State: When they decided to hire Dave Doeren as their head coach in 2012, I knew they were headed in the right direction. His first full season with the university, they were 3-9 and it looked like the same struggling Wolf Pack again. In the words of the legendary analyst Lee Corso, not so fast my friends! That was their only losing season. In 2014, they went 8-5, in 15 and 16, they finished with 7-6 records in both seasons and he’s led them to three bowl game appearances winning two of them. Right now, the Wolf Pack are 6-1 and when you really examine this ACC conference as a whole this season, it’s basically wide open as to who the second best team is behind Clemson. When Francois went down for Florida State, that set the Seminoles back and opened the door for some other teams. Their offense can score, it’s no doubt about that. They average 35.5 points per game and their defense is one of the very best when it comes to shutting down the run. I often how they kept Lamar Jackson contained when they played Louisville this season. They held the reigning Heisman trophy winner to 73 yards rushing and an in-game average of 3.8 yards per rush. This would be a statement win for this program on Saturday against a resurging Notre Dame team.

Notre Dame: Coming into the year, I think many thought this would be the end of Brian Kelly’s tenure as the head coach in South Bend, Indiana. I think he’s done more than enough to save his job for at least another season. So far, they’ve had an excellent bounce back season. They’re currently on a five-game winning streaking and haven’t lost a game since week two when they fell short to the Georgia Bulldogs in a close battle. Last week’s win was a true statement victory. First, it was a rivalry game and they made Sam Darnold look like that was his first time starting and secondly, but most importantly, this win entered them in the conversation of the College Football Playoff which will start to form itself more as we approach November. We all know about Brandon Wimbush and his ability to make plays whether it’s from the pocket or outside of it with his feet but there’s another guy who’s been just as good has been running back Josh Adams. Don’t be shocked when he gets a possible invitation to New York City for the Heisman presentation. The Irish will look to keep rolling on Saturday with another win.

NC State Player To Watch- Kelvin Harmon: He’s a Sophomore that’s become the number one receiving target for this offense since really showing his skill-set last year in his true freshman season. He’s a freakish athlete that can make adjustments to catch the ball in mid-air. The Irish’s secondary will need to stay on this kid.

Notre Dame Player To Watch- Equanimeous St. Brown: We all know that NC State will be looking to load up the box to stop Josh Adams and make this Notre Dame team throw the football and if they do decide to come out throwing, this young man will be targeted. He’s six-foot-five, 203 pounds with the ability to play in the slot and move really well when the ball is in his hands.

Final Analysis: This is only the third ever meeting between these two. I remember last years battle. They played in a monsoon of rain and the pack got the win in a low scoring showdown. This game will be decided by who controls the line of scrimmage better. The Irish have a great defensive line and the Wolf Pack have an offensive line that’s given up only four sacks this year. I also see Brian Kelly getting the passing game going early on. I’m really looking forward to this game. Is it Saturday yet?

Prediction: Notre Dame 31 NC State 23