Staff Picks: Notre Dame @ N.C. State

Irish Illustrated’s staff gives its predictions for Saturday’s noon kickoff vs. the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

To access Tim Prister’s official game preview, click here:

Pete Sampson

Because why not? Not much has made sense about Notre Dame’s season to date, so why wouldn’t the offense bog down in less-than-ideal conditions and the defense take a step forward against a middling team? DeShone Kizer will play well but not great as the Irish ground game struggles to hit 100 yards.

It’s Notre Dame’s defense that produces a winning performance, holding a Power 5 offense under 20 points for just the third time in the past 14 games. Look for the Irish defense to force two turnovers and extend the era of good feelings around Greg Hudson. 

Notre Dame 24 N.C. State 19
2016 Predictions: 2-3

Tim O’Malley

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me four times? Not happening.

Can the Irish defense keep any viable offense below 30 points in 2016? Can Notre Dame win a game in which it scores less than 38 points? I don’t think so, and as this week’s “Beyond the Numbers” revealed, when the Irish hit the road over the last three-plus football seasons, points aplenty arrive in tow.

(You want a stat to amaze your friends? In 12 road losses under Brian Kelly, Notre Dame has averaged 27 points per game. In 14 road wins? 26 ppg. )

Notre Dame is 2-8 when the game score eclipses 55 total points on the road; 12-3 when at 55 or below. And this one’s going over.

N.C. State 37 Notre Dame 35
2016 Predictions: 2-3

Jack Freeman

While not a comprehensive O’Malley formula I did leave it up to math for my pick:

In all honesty this game is very hard to call much like the entire season you’re not sure what Notre Dame team will show up. So this week I’ve decided to leave it all to chance and go with a best two out of three coin flip to determine my pick.

The rules: heads it goes to Notre Dame and tails it goes to NC State. Let’s begin:
Flip 1: Tails
Flip 2: Tails
Flip 3: Tails

There you have it:

N.C. State 33 Notre Dame 31
2016 Predictions: 2-3

Steve Hare

A tropical storm could help Notre Dame’s defense keep an opponent under 30 points and 500 yards in a game! Hopefully, the Irish continue to play better on that side of the ball and the offense shouldn’t have any trouble outscoring the Wolfpack. The weather could make things interesting but odds are good for the Irish to even up their record on Saturday.

Notre Dame 24, NC State 14
2016 Predictions: 2-3

Jake Brown

Hurricane or no, I'll roll with DeShone Kizer in this game. Kizer has been playing at an exceptionally high level for most of the season. Sometimes it feels like an easy thing to forget with turmoil elsewhere. This offense will get its points on N.C. State. I'm skeptical the Wolfpack will be able to score enough, especially if the Irish defense carries a little momentum from its second half performance against Syracuse. 

Notre Dame 38 N.C. State 28
2016 Predictions: 2-3

Len Clark (Multi-Media Contributor)

State team, with potential adverse weather conditions.  A simplified defensive scheme helps the Irish, but on offense the question is whether Notre Dame needs a balanced run/pass game.  The weather may force the Irish to run the ball.  If the Irish can effectively run and control the ball, and if the defense continues to build confidence, Notre Dame pulls this game out.

Notre Dame 27 N.C. State 17
2016 Predictions: 1-1 Top Stories