A matchup between fifth-ranked Notre Dame and No. 2 Ohio State would capture people’s attention regardless of where it landed on the calendar. However, a showdown of national championship hopefuls in the season opener for both teams is must-see TV.
There have been very few complaints when Ryan Day was promoted to head coach at Ohio State after Urban Meyer’s decision to leave for a short stay with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Notre Dame is following a similar path with Marcus Freeman named the head coach after the surprising decision by Brian Kelly to leave the program and take over at Louisiana State.
According to the college football lines, Ohio State (+300) has the second-best odds to win the national championship while Notre Dame (+4000) is tied for seventh.
Let’s check the latest predictions, stats, injury reports, and NCAA football odds for Notre Dame vs Ohio State.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Not only does Notre Dame have a new head coach, but the Fighting Irish also have a new No. 1 quarterback with Tyler Buchner taking over as the starter. Buchner was Notre Dame’s second-leading rusher as a freshman despite limited action so he could put up some huge rushing numbers.
Expect to see Buchner connecting with tight end Michael Mayer, who had 71 catches and 840 receiving yards as a sophomore. Tight ends don’t usually garner much Heisman Trophy chatter but, according to the college football odds, Mayer has +10000 odds for the most prestigious individual award in college football.
Although the most productive outside receiver (Kevin Austin) is gone, the Fighting Irish do return Avery Davis, Braden Lenzy, and Lorenzo Styles, who combined for 83 catches and 1,040 yards in 2021.
Logan Diggs could see an expanded role with 1,000-yard rusher Kyren Williams off to the NFL.
Starting linemen Joe Alt, Andrew Kristofic, Josh Lugg, and Jarrett Patterson are all back. Patterson is questionable for the season opener at Ohio State but he is still being touted as one of the best interior offensive line prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft.
The defense not only returns leading tackler JD Bertrand, the first Notre Dame player since 2018 to record more than 100 tackles in a season but also 260-pound defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (52 tackles, 12½ tackles for loss, 11 sacks). Foskey could be the first Notre Dame player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Jayson Ademiola (49 tackles, seven tackles for loss) and his twin brother Justin Ademilola (five sacks) return on the defensive line as the Fighting Irish return eight of the top 10 tacklers from 2021.
Although safety Kyle Hamilton is now with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, the secondary adds Brandon Joseph from Northwestern while defensive lineman Chris Smith comes in from Harvard.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Talk about a team with some star power. Not only is quarterback C.J. Stroud the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy according to the college football betting lines, but TreVeyon Henderson has the second-best odds among running backs and Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s odds of +3300 is the best mark among wide receivers.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) August 25, 2022
Smith-Njigba was the only one of the three to see any significant action before the 2021 season. Despite sharing the field with Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, two of the first three receivers selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, Smith-Njigba led Ohio State with 1,606 yards on 95 receptions.
New players will need to emerge at the other receiver spots. The Buckeyes also need to replace tight-end Jeremy Ruckert. The good news is that seven freshmen or sophomores at the receiver or tight end position caught passes a season ago.
Henderson rushed for 1,255 yards as a true freshman. He was also fourth on the team with 27 catches. Despite having fewer than 10 rushing attempts in five games in 2021, Henderson ran for 15 touchdowns and averaged 6.8 yards per carry.
Stroud’s first season as the starting quarterback was one to remember as he completed 72 percent of his passes for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns. He currently has the best odds to be the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Offensive lineman Paris Johnson and Smith-Njigba also are projected to go among the top 10 selections.
Even with five offensive players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, there are some who think this Ohio State offense might be better than the group that led the nation with an average of 561.2 yards per game in 2021. The issue comes on the other side of the ball.
Nine of the top 10 tacklers are back off a unit that was ninth in the Big Ten in total defense and scoring defense a season ago.
Safety Ronnie Hickman (98 tackles) joins linebackers Tommy Eichenberg (64 tackles) and Cody Simon (54 tackles) as the top returnees on defense. The Buckeyes welcome former Oklahoma State cornerback Tanner McCallister.
Only Michigan State allowed more plays from scrimmage of 10 yards or more than Ohio State did a season ago. If the Buckeyes want to take that next step, tightening things up on defense will be imperative.
Notre Dame vs Ohio State Injury Report
Quarterback Tyler Buchner (ankle) is probable for Notre Dame as are receiver Joe Wilkins Jr. (foot) and running back Logan Diggs (shoulder). Tight end Cane Berrong (knee), offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson (foot), and defensive lineman Osita Ekwonu (Achilles) are questionable.
For Ohio State, receiver Kamryn Babb (knee) is out indefinitely while linebacker Mitchell Melton (knee) and running back Evan Pryor (knee) are out for the season.
Notre Dame vs Ohio State Head-to-Head
This is the first time Ohio State and Notre Dame have played since 2016 and just the third meeting since 1995. The Buckeyes have won each of those contests and covered all three times. The margin of victory was 16.3 points. With the line moving from -16 to -17 in the last 24 hours, a similar outcome is projected for Saturday.
Notre Dame vs Ohio State Game Information
- Game: Notre Dame vs Ohio State (11-2, 8-1 in the Big Ten in 2021)
- Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
- Day/Time: Saturday, Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Notre Dame vs Ohio State: ESPN
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Notre Dame vs Ohio State Betting Lines
Notre Dame vs Ohio State Prediction
It is not unusual for Ohio State to face a ranked team before jumping into conference play, but dating back to 2009, the Buckeyes have not played a ranked opponent in the season opener.
Something to consider for those who bet online: The last time Notre Dame opened up against a ranked opponent, the Fighting Irish topped Michigan 24-17 in 2018.
Notre Dame has covered against the college football betting lines in seven of its last eight games and has won its last nine true road games. Ohio State has won six consecutive home games.
The total has gone over in 13 of Ohio State’s last 19 games. While second-ranked Ohio State is loaded with talent, the 17-point spread against a top-10 Notre Dame team seems a bit high.
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”