Matt Cashore /


Irish Illustrated offered 20 detailed predictions leading up to the 2015 pre-season. Time to pay the piper.

Prediction #1 – Jaylon Smith will lead the defense in “Big Plays”
False – Counting only last summer’s metrics of tackles-for-loss, forced fumbles, fumbles recovered, blocked kicks, passes defended, and interceptions, Sheldon Day earned the honor (a combined 21.5. Smith had 17).

When you add our new 2015 metrics of Stuffs and 3rd Down Wins, Smith (56) beat Day (43) with Isaac Rochell (37.5) third.

Prediction #2 – Will Fuller will lead the team in touchdowns.
True – Players make plays, Yo…

Prediction #3 – Notre Dame will finish September 4-0
True – And remember, you heard it here first…

Prediction #4 – Notre Dame will play 7 “Close and Late”
True – If you count Ohio State, it was exactly seven (I’m not counting Ga. Tech).

Prediction #5 – Andrew Trumbetti will lead the team in sacks
False – I blame VanGorder. Did you see Trumbetti against Ohio State? Come on, man!
Prediction #6 – Notre Dame will suffer an upset loss
False – And for just the third time in the last 25 seasons, they did not. (2000 and 2012 the other two).

Prediction #7 – ND/Ga. Tech will be the season’s highest scoring game
False – And I’ll never doubt Bob Elliott again…

Prediction #8 – ND/Stanford will be the season’s lowest scoring game
False – By “lowest” I actually meant “highest”

Prediction #9 – The Irish will win six straight
True – Navy, USC, Temple, Pittsburgh, Wake, Boston College. BOOM!

Prediction #10 – The Irish will suffer a home loss
False – Nice job by the Irish staff to have them ready at home each week, just the third such occurrence post-1989, but second of the Kelly era.

Prediction #11 – Notre Dame won’t lose two in a row
True – For the second time in the Kelly era, one oddly dotted by back-to-back losses (2010 twice, 2011 twice, 2014 for a month straight)

Prediction #12 – Notre Dame will turn around its road woes
True – After going 0-3 in 2014 and 2-3 in 2013, the Irish won 3 of 5 true road games in 2015.

Prediction #13 – Notre Dame will be better in these categories:
The parenthetical represents 2014 numbers. I predicted ND would fare better in each of the nine listed:

-- Red Zone Defense (TD 70%): Incorrect (65%)
-- Games allowing 3+ TD (8!): Incorrect (9). Are you freaking kidding me? Nice defense…
-- Yards per play against (5.6): Um, N/A? It was identical at 5.6
-- 3RD Down Defense (41.1%): Correct, 35%
-- 4th Q points allowed (90): Incorrect, 93. Wait, I sense a theme!
-- ND Games in Excess of 200 yards rushing (5): Correct, 6 (phew)
-- Sacks allowed (28): Correct (but still 26)
-- Red Zone TD Percentage (64.5%): Incorrect (58.4%)
-- ND Yards per Rush (4.3): Correct at a whopping 5.6
-- Final Tally: 4 correct, 3 incorrect and one push

Prediction #14 – Notre Dame will fare worse in these categories:
The parenthetical represents 2014 totals. I projected the Irish to be worse in each:

-- Yards per play by the offense (6.1): Incorrect by a lot -- 7.0
-- Total TD (55): Correct by one (54 offense) but incorrect overall (58 total)
-- PPG (32.8): Incorrect, 34.2
-- Total Offensive Drives to the Red Zone (62): Correct (53)
-- Final Tally: 2 correct, 2 incorrect

Prediction #15 – Three ND Defenders Will Pick Off 4 Passes
False – Either that or nobody will…

Prediction #16 – More or Less:
The prediction series took players’ numbers from 2014 and projected better or worse (more or less) for 2015. My pre-season pick of “more” or “less” is in parenthesis:

-- Folston 1,079 yards from scrimmage (More): N/A
-- Starting QB 37 Total TD (Less): Correct, barely. Kizer and Zaire combined for 35
-- Joe Schmidt 19 stuffs (More): Incorrect. He finished fourth on the team with 17
-- 30 Total Receptions by Tight Ends (Less): Correct, 20. Not the toughest prediction of my life, I must admit.
-- Jaylon Smith 15.5 Combined big plays (More): Correct with 17 combined TFL, PD, FF, FR, INT
-- C.J. Prosise 793 total yards, 7 TD (More): Correct on both though somewhat by default
-- Will Fuller 14.4 YPC (More): Correct (20.3 Holy Cow)
-- “Other” Starting WR: 131 rec. 11 TD (Less): Correct, actual #s for Brown, Robinson, Carlisle and Hunter were 124 catches and 8 TD
-- D-Line 15 sacks (More): Correct with a whopping 16!
-- Secondary 21 Turnovers Created (Less): I apologize (12).
-- Final Tally: 7 Correct, 2 incorrect and an injury N/A

Prediction #17 – Three Players will Score 10+ TD
True – Come on, this one is by far the best prediction of the 2015 off-season anywhere in the free world!

(It happened for the second time in program history and only 22 Irish players had ever scored 10 TD in a season previously).
Prediction #18 – QB Zaire, RB Folston, WR Fuller will account for 60 percent of team’s TDs

N/A – I need a ruling on QB Kizer, RB Prosise and WR Fuller instead combining to account for 62 percent of the touchdowns scored?
-- As an aside projections here included 6-12 TD for the Robinson, Brown, Carlisle, Hunter quartet (it was 8, thanks Corey) plus touchdowns for Durham Smythe (yes) Nic Weishar (no) Aliz’e Jones (no) Equanimeous St. Brown (yes!) C.J. Sanders (yes) and Josh Anderson (a lot).

The projected TD total was 54 which was the exact offensive number plus four others (PR, KR, INT, Blocked Punt). So missed by four.

Prediction #19 – Notre Dame will suffer one loss in October
True – Taking a bow…

Prediction #20 – Notre Dame will finish 10-2 and just out of the playoffs due to a November loss
True – Sometimes being right doesn’t feel good at all… Top Stories