Notre Dame v. Temple ’15: Key Matchups

Notre Dame comes off its bye week to face the undefeated Temple Owls in a primetime clash on Halloween night.  The Irish are double digit favorites versus Temple; however, the Owls will be ready to play as this is the biggest games in the program’s history.  Temple head coach Matt Rhule has built a very efficient team that won’t beat itself so the Irish will need to execute and limit turnovers.  Expect the Irish to be focused as they know they need to win all of the remaining games on their schedule and look impressive doing so to have a chance at the college football playoffs.  The following are the matchups the Irish must control to knock-off the Owls:

Jaylon Smith versus Jahad Thomas

Elite Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith will be responsible for shutting down the main weapon in the Temple offense, Jahad Thomas.  Thomas is a former cornerback who is a threat both rushing and receiving the ball out of the backfield.  The junior is the Owls leading rusher and second-leading receiver with 13 total touchdowns on the season.  Smith however, should be more than up to the task of neutralizing Thomas.  If the Irish junior can hold Thomas under his season average of just under 150 yards from scrimmage it should equal a Notre Dame victory.

KeiVarae Russell versus Robby Anderson

Following his best game of the season KeiVarae Russell will be in charge of covering Temple’s leading receiver Robby Anderson.  Anderson is the Owls only legitimate receiving threat, with five touchdowns on the season while averaging just over 55 yards receiving per game.  Anderson is another converted cornerback and he has good height at 6’3’’.  If Russell can eliminate the big play its unlikely Anderson will be able to consistently get open against him; leaving Temple quarterback P.J. Walker in trouble.

C.J. Prosise versus Tyler Matakevich

Notre Dame’s first half MVP C.J. Prosise will become familiar with an elite linebacker in Temple’s Tyler Matakevich.  Matakevich is the Owls’ leader and is about as important to Temple as any player in the country is to their team.  The senior linebacker has registered over 100 tackles in the last three seasons and is well on his way this season with 65 so far to go along with four sacks and four interceptions.  As usual it well be an emphasis for the Irish to run the ball, so Prosise must match the physicality of Matakevich.  If Prosise can do this he will be able to rack up big yardage, especially as the game goes on.

Will Fuller versus Sean Chandler

Notre Dame’s other elite offensive weapon, Will Fuller, will look to have another big game versus Sean Chandler.  Chandler is a solid sophomore cover corner with two interceptions and a team-high seven pass breakups for the Owls.  Fuller’s elite speed should allow him to get behind the aggressive Chandler for some big plays.  Chandler will likely need safety help often against Fuller, and if he does that will open up the field for the rest of Notre Dame’s weapons.

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  1. Interesting call on Prosise as First Half MVP. It’s close, but I’d go with Fuller. They don’t win the Virginia game without his late heroics, and he’s been key in just about every game, especially USC. Whether his deep threat ability opens up the running game or whether the running game leads to his big plays is a good chicken/egg argument…

  2. Those teams Temple played may not have been the USCs or the Stanfords of the world, but I guarantee you they didn’t lay down and just let Temple win. Any team that is undefeated can still be dangerous especially given the fact that Notre Dame has an uncanny ability to keep their opponents in games a LOT longer than they should. It has already happened 4 times this year… Virginia, Georgia Tech, Navy, and to a lesser degree UMass. If they play like that against undefeated Temple, this game could end up like Virginia. Temple should be pumped for this……with Gameday being there, National TV, Prime Time, hell, even BILL COSBY may be there, and EVERYONE plays ND tougher than they look on paper. I hope ND can blow things open in second half just have to wait and see how it goes. GO IRISH……..

  3. On paper this should be relatively easy for the Irish. Yes, Temple is 7-0, but check out their schedule. The only real opponent was Penn State, the rest of the schedule is not at all impressive. Of course we all understand that the game is not played on paper but on the field. Keeping that in mind, anything could happen! This is a must win for the Irish, as are all of their remaining games. Another loss puts them out of the championship chase. With Stanford in their future ending the season with only one loss is a must. There is no reason why the Irish shouldn’t score at least 4 touchdowns or more. I seriously doubt that the Owls offense will be able to get through the ND defense. Let’s hope the weather cooperates and we don’t get too much rain. Weather can be an equalizer at any sporting event, unless your playing basketball! LOL! Go Irish!

  4. If we can get Joe Schmidt, Max Redfield, and Onwaulu to limit their mistakes, make solid tackles and keep things in front of them then this will be a dominant victory.

  5. This game seems to me to be a pass first situation. Between the necessity of limiting touches for Prosise, and the need for as many gametime passes as possible for Kizer against a secondary that looks incapable of keeping up; why not throw the ball around the feild for the next several games, protect the men we absolutely must have healthy for Stanford, and get as much experience as possible for Kizer and his recievers?

  6. The Irish need to tackle well, avoid the sloppiness and bad penalties, and keep Temple on their heels with a good running game.

  7. I completely understand that strategy and it obtaining the victory. I long for an ND defense that takes over the game. Fast, physical and aggressive. Turnovers, sacks and 3 and outs. These future opponents may be a good fit to game build the defense. With these top rated defenses coming up in the schedule. ND may need a lot of possessions to get points on the board. I say sell out. Get the defense finished. Build that championship team defense. Thanks.

  8. What the Irish need to do defensively is draw up.a more conservative gameplan. The only way Temple beats ND is if the defensive gives up those big plays. ND is more talented. They don’t need to draw up the high-risk/high-reward plays that leaves ND susceptible to giving up too many big plays. Keep the ball in front of you, rally to it and force Temple to drive the ball if they want to score any pts.

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