“Overall Georgia, We Overall Clean”

Saturday Spotlight

(7) Notre Dame Fighting Irish at (3) Georgia Bulldogs

Notre Dame: Heading into their game against New Mexico, I stated prior to kickoff that this was something they couldn’t overlook because of the big game I’m about to discuss right now. A lot of football teams tend to do that. Not take what’s in front them seriously and look ahead too much. I’m glad Brian Kelly kept his team focused for their home opener. The Fighting Irish were locked in for this one. They were able to start quickly, and they never let up. It started with a pick-six in the first quarter. Then, came the second quarter and they exploded for 31 points which pretty much put the game away. It really doesn’t matter to me who the opponent is. I always see the “oh they were supposed to win that game, it was against so and so”. That’s absolutely nothing because anybody can win on any given Saturday or Sunday. I’ll say this though: They looked a lot better last week than they did in their opening win against the Louisville Cardinals on September 2nd. I wasn’t impressed with them at all. There were times when their defense looked shaky yet lost. I was wondering what we’d see from Ian Book. He came in a little more than halfway into the season last year as the starter and helped push Notre Dame into the playoffs. Now, he’s the full-time guy who had a big day against the Lobos in week 3. He threw five touchdown passes. The defense now is giving up 15.5 points per game which is always good if you can give up anything under 20. This is one that Brian and his boys were fired up for. Tonight, they’ll get a primetime battle with one of the best in the nation in Athens.

Georgia: Even with all the pieces they lost from last year’s team, they’ve still been dominant. I don’t think Jake Fromm gets enough respect. Yes, there are other quarterbacks in the country that maybe better than him (Tua, Justin Herbert, Hurts, Burrow and Lawrence), but Jake just comes out and plays. He may not be the best, but he does a lot of good things consistently well. He makes his reads, he has a strong arm to step into his passes, he moves the pocket to make throws on the run but the most important thing that stands out to me is how he’s always poised and calm in different game situations. The one guy I’ve often compared him to is Alex Smith. So far, Georgia has been on a roll, especially their offense. With a new supporting cast surrounding Fromm, you don’t know what to expect as a defense because there isn’t much tape or game film on them. In their first three games, they’ve scored 30 on Vanderbilt, 63 on Murray State and 55 last weekend against Arkansas State. So far, they’re averaging 49 points per contest. When I think of Georgia football, two things always come to my mind. First, they want to establish the ground game and run the football. They’ve always had some big names playing running back from Herschel Walker to Todd Gurley to the tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Secondly, they pride themselves on always playing good defense. That’s Kirby Smart’s background and since he was hired as their head coach, the Bulldogs have had one of the best defenses in the country. Tonight, they get one of their first tests of the young season with Brian Kelly leading his Fighting Irish of Notre Dame to town for an under the lights showdown.

Notre Dame Player to Watch: Chase Claypool– He’s big enough to be a tight end but has the speed to play his primary position, wide receiver. At 6’5, it’s almost like throwing it to a basketball player on the post. He’s a big target with excellent body control to adjust on the move and make a catch and he consistently uses his long arms to haul passes in.

Georgia Player to Watch: D’Andre Swift– So far, Notre Dame has been horrible when it comes to stopping the run. They give 230 yards rushing per game. So, what do you do if you’re Georgia? You exploit that weakness and use it to your advantage. He can do a variety of things out the backfield besides take handoffs. Swift catches screen passes, he lines up in the slot and wherever he is, he has great speed with the football in his hands.

Final Analysis: This is the first matchup between these two teams since week two of the 2017 season. They met back then in South Bend and the Bulldogs shocked the world getting the win on the road against Notre Dame. That was also the game that told me to pay closer attention to Georgia. Here we are, two years later and they’re getting set to meet again. Notre Dame better be ready to throw the ball. Ian Book may have to throw it at least 35 times for them to have a chance because running the ball on this stout Georgia defensive front just isn’t happening. Notre Dame must improve its run defense or it’s going to be a long night for them at the office. I’ll gladly take this matchup of two teams ranked within the top ten.

Prediction: Georgia 41 Notre Dame 24