On Sunday Notre Dame played a very physical, 2OT game in the Texas heat. Do you think this will have any effect on the game Saturday?
At a minimum it will just from an injury standpoint. Notre Dame lost its top receiver in Torii Hunter Jr. to a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked him out of the game with a concussion. It’s not clear if he’ll play against Nevada, but the odds seem against it. Safety Avery Sebastian went down too, also likely with a concussion, and it’s not clear if he’ll be back. The Irish will rely more on freshmen in both positions if Hunter and Sebastian can’t go.
In terms of preparation, the staff has been concerned about the lost day of work with the Sunday night game at Texas. The practice routine was changed up and lightened this week. On top of that, the players didn’t get back to campus until 5 a.m. on Monday morning. Keep in mind that Labor Day is actually a school day at Notre Dame, so it’s not like they just got to sleep in and write off the day.
Honestly, I think the issue for Notre Dame is the lack of prep and the lack of sleep more than the physical part of Sunday night. Injuries won’t help, but I don’t think that’s the biggest impact. Even the physical factor, I don’t think is the biggest issue. It’s the prep change and maybe just the let-down of the loss.
Will Notre Dame stick with the 2 QB system we saw on Sunday or can we expect Kizer to get most of the snaps?
They shouldn’t but I think they will. DeShone Kizer clearly out-played Malik Zaire at Texas and it wasn’t even close. You could argue that the three series given to Zaire were the reason why Notre Dame lost. I expect Kizer to start but I expect Zaire to play meaningful snaps. Unless you’re making the argument that Zaire needs work to keep him engaged, I have a hard time understanding what Brian Kelly is thinking here.
Do you have any concerns about the personnel matchups you will see on Saturday?
I would if Nevada had a couple burners in the receiving game because Notre Dame’s safety play is very questionable right now. The two veterans are injury-prone and lack explosiveness. The next-best options are true freshmen. If I was Nevada I would work the play action game a lot on Saturday. Make Notre Dame’s safeties think as much as you can make them. There’s at least a couple deep shots to be had.
Was there anything that surprised you on Sunday with Notre Dame?
I was surprised by how much better Kizer was than Zaire. I thought they would both be effective, but I didn’t think one would look like a first-round pick and the other would be completely off. The defense surprised me only in the sense that Texas had much more speed than I expected and it showed how the Irish lack playmakers in the secondary.
What are your 3 keys for a Notre Dame victory and 1 thing Nevada must do if it wants to have a punchers chance in this game?
Three keys for Notre Dame:
Lean on the run game with both quarterbacks and both running backs. The Irish should be able to overwhelm the Wolf Pack with size.
Go young on defense. Notre Dame is working more and more underclassmen into the lineup this year and should continue. Maybe that doesn’t pay off immediately, but this has to be a learning weekend for those younger players.
Play base defense. The Irish got too cute for their own good last week with this funky 3-3-5 formation. Texas beat them up. Just play 4-3 and stick with that.
As for Nevada. Spread the field and take deep shots. The Irish are vulnerable at the back end of the defense.
What’s your prediction for the outcome of the game? Final score?
I like Notre Dame, 42-17. I just don’t see Nevada having the horses to compete in its front seven against the Notre Dame run game.
Editors Note: Silver & Blue Sports is predicting a final score of Notre Dame 52 Nevada 20