The Irish have an outstanding defense, which has collected 15 sacks, 10 interceptions and 16 pass break ups in only 5 games! The Irish have had a strong pass rush this year with a mostly 4 man defensive front. Leading the way on defense for the Irish are senior LB Courtney Watson, senior safety Glenn Earl, junior LB Mike Goolsby and senior safety Gerome Sapp. All four have over 30 total tackles and 20 solo tackles apiece. Ryan Roberts is a standout defensive end that has 4 sacks so far this season. Senior nose tackle Cedric Hilliard may be there best player on defense. Notre Dame won its first two games without having an offensive TD, which is pretty amazing!
On offense, sophomore Ryan Grant leads the Notre Dame rushing attack. He has 487 yards on 107 carries for a 4.6 yards per carry average. Ryan has 4 TD runs so far this season. The Irish receiving unit is led by junior Omar Jenkins, who has 13 catches for 250 yards and a 19.2 average per catch. Another top receiver is senior Arnaz Battle, who has 11 catches for 177 yards and a 16.1 average yards per catch. At QB, junior Carlyle Holiday is a passing and rushing threat. He has had a shoulder injury but should be back for the Pitt game. He is 37 of 83 for 514 yards and 1 TD this season. He only has 48 rushing yards this year, but he rushed for 861 yards last season, so he does have the talent to break one. Holiday is similar to Pitt's Rod Rutherford, as he was known more for his running ability than passing until having a breakthrough season this year. Notre Dame runs a conventional west coast style offense. Sophomore Pat Dillingham has played well the last two games in place of Holiday.
Notre Dame plays outstanding defense and special teams, and tries to play mistake-free on offense. Basically they try to make a team beat itself. If Pitt can continue playing in a dominating way on defense and forcing turnovers, plus keep up its productive play on offense, they have a chance to pull the upset. Another good sign is that Pitt's kicking game is finally coming around, as they were perfect on extra points and field goals last week.
This will be the 60th meeting between Pitt and Notre Dame. The Irish lead the all-time series 41-17-1. Pitt has won 11 of its last 12 games dating back to last season.