A rejuvenated Notre Dame Fighting Irish team looks to run its winning streak to three games Saturday when they face the BYU Cougars in a Shamrock Series game in Las Vegas.
Quarterback Drew Pyne has been the catalyst in the sudden reversal of fortune for the Fighting Irish as the sophomore has breathed new life into the passing game that struggled under Tyler Buchner. That, in turn, has unleashed the running game.
“I think that’s what our identity has to be. We have to be able to run the ball,” first-year head coach Marcus Freeman told the media. “If you’re able to move the ball with consistency and stay in rhythm, it opens everything up in our offense.”
Like Notre Dame, the Cougars have won two straight and have had their mettle tested against some quality teams such as Baylor and Oregon.
Jaren Hall has been one of the nation’s top passers, ranking 21st in the FBS in total offense and 20th in passing yards per game (287.6). The junior, who has thrown for at least 250 yards in nine straight games dating back to last season, has 63 passing plays of 10 yards or more, which is tied for 11th nationally.
Hall and the Cougars will need to finish drives with touchdowns as kicker Jake Oldroyd has struggled, which has forced head coach Kalani Sitake to open the job to competition from backup Justen Smith.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame defense has faced its share of prolific passers in Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and North Carolina’s Drake Maye with mixed results.
The Fighting Irish were able to limit Stroud for the most part, but Maye went off for 301 yards and five touchdowns.
The pass rush, which features Isaiah Foskey, has generated 3.25 sacks per game, good for 12th in the FBS, and will need to get home on Hall, who has been sacked seven times in five games.
Foskey has three sacks and Justin and Jayson Ademilola have 1.5 each for Notre Dame. The secondary, which has defended just eight passes and has zero interceptions, will need to step up to contain a talented group of receivers for BYU, who have had eight different players catch a touchdown pass .
The Cougars have a complementary set of receivers, including deep threat Keanu Hill, who is one of 21 players in the FBS averaging better than 20 yards per reception. Also , in the core are mid-range threats Chase Roberts, Isaac Rex and Brayden Cosper and possession receiver Kody Epps, who leads the team with 21 catches.
Puka Nacua had caught just four balls, but has rushed four times for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Linebacker Max Tooley has been a difference maker with one sack and a pair of pick-sixes.
BYU vs Notre Dame Game Injuries
BYU vs Notre Dame Head-to-Head
The Fighting Irish are 6-2 against the Cougars and have won the last three meetings, the latest that occurred in 2013. This is the first neutral site game in the series.
Notre Dame is 10-0 in Shamrock Series games, which have been held at various neutral sites around the country, including in Texas, New York and Boston. The Fighting Irish have averaged 36 points in these games while allowing an average of 13 points.
BYU vs Notre Dame Game Information
- Game: BYU Cougars vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
- Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 8th, 7:30 p.m. ET
- BYU vs Notre Dame Live Stream: ESPN
BYU vs Notre Dame Betting Lines
BYU vs Notre Dame Prediction
The college football lines have installed the Fighting Irish as 4-point favorites while the over/under line is 52 points. Points should come fast and furious in this game, making the over a solid bet. Notre Dame is 214-24 since 1980 when scoring 30 or more points.
Notre Dame is 4-0 against the spread in its last four neutral site games as a favorite. These teams seem evenly matched, making BYU a solid bet against the money line (+155) for those searching for the best odds.
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”