Notre Dame returns home this weekend looking to build on last week’s momentum from their easy win over Michigan State by hosting Miami of Ohio. The RedHawks will make their first trip to Notre Dame Stadium and a former Notre Dame assistant returns home. Get ready for the game with our weekly primer.
What you Need to Know:
- Game Time: September 30th at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
- Matchup: Notre Dame is 1-0 all-time against the RedHawks (Last meeting 1909)
- Odds: Notre Dame -23.0
- GameDay Events: The on campus Pep Rally is scheduled for Eddy Street Commons at 6:00 p.m. For more information on GameDay events visit https://gameday.nd.edu/events/calendar/2017-miami_oh/
Miami of Ohio Details
- Conference: Mid-American
- Head Coach: Chuck Martin
- 2017 Record: 2-2
- 2016 Record: 6-7
Miami of Ohio Storylines:
Chuck Martin returns to Notre Dame. He was an assistant coach for the Irish from 2010 to 2013. From 2012 to 2013 Martin was the offensive coordinator in South Bend. He also coached at Grand Valley State from 2000 until 2009 where he was a part of the Kelly regime for a few seasons.
Ironically Chuck Martin is one of the biggest Notre Dame supporters in the country. He is a big fan of the Irish and especially Brian Kelly. The RedHawks coach wants to come into South Bend and give the Irish a hard fought battle. No one is putting the Irish on upset alert this weekend, but no opponent should ever be overlooked.
Gus Ragland will start under center for the RedHawks, Ragland is coming off an 11 of 19, 2 touchdown game against Central Michigan. On the year Ragland is 61 of 116 (52.6%), with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He will be facing an Irish Defense that forced 3 turnovers last weekend.
The RedHawks display a balanced offense with 2 featured running backs in Kenny Young and Alonzo Smith. Young has 220 yards on the ground while Smith is not far behind with 204 yards rushing.
Notre Dame Storylines:
Just how good are the Irish? Now that there is a larger sample size, it appears the Irish could be playoff contenders, however with no room for error. A few weeks ago it was unclear how good the Georgia Bulldogs were. The now #7 Bulldogs just destroyed #24 Mississippi State by a score of 31 to 3. The week prior, Mississippi State beat LSU by 30 points.
Clearly the 4-8 season is far behind the Irish and it’s time to get back to work. Unfortunately the Irish are ranked 22nd in the AP with a lot of ground to make up. The ESPN Power Index has the Irish favored in every game besides the final game at Stanford.
The Notre Dame passing attack took a significant leap forward on the road last weekend. Will the passing continue to progress? Brandon Wimbush completed 14 of 20 attempts last week, good enough for 70%. This was a significant improvement on his previous 50.5% season average.
I admired how the Irish came out passing against Michigan State. There was a lot of justified criticism of Wimbush through the first 3 games, and he showed significant improvement last week. The Irish need to keep working on the passing game, especially in a matchup against the RedHawks.
Which new faces will be a part of the offense? Last week Chase Claypool and Equanimeous St. Brown had solid production. Both receivers had 4 catches, which were highlighted by a great sideline catch from Claypool. Dexter Williams had a season high 8 carries and was effective in the red zone. His agility and speed complemented Josh Adams very well. I look forward to seeing more of him as the season progresses. Deon McIntosh even had 12 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown for the Irish.
Head to Head Matchups:
Notre Dame Offense vs. Miami Defense- Advantage Notre Dame- The Notre Dame Offense will be matched up against a far inferior defense this weekend. Expect the Irish to run the ball all over the RedHawks as they have done so against weaker competition in Boston College and Temple. If Brandon Wimbush builds off last week’s performance the Irish will be more balanced with a strong passing attack.
Miami Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense– Advantage Notre Dame- The Irish Defense is only giving up 18.5 points per game on average. Mike Elko’s defense hasn’t allowed a team to score over 20 points all season, and that is saying a lot with how many possessions opposing teams have had. Notre Dame will make it hard on the RedHawks Offense to score points this weekend.
Special Teams- Tie- Justin Yoon has come along since going 0 for 2 in the home opener against Temple. He hasn’t attempted many field goals this season because the offense has been so productive in the red zone. His counterpart Michael Armstrong is 5 of 7 on the season. Notre Dame has yet to have a big play on special teams, but conversely they have yet to make a stupid mistake which happened several times last season.
Chuck Martin wants to come into Notre Dame Stadium and give the Irish a good fight. This needs to be a development game for the Irish. Notre Dame needs to build on their passing game from last week. The Irish need to continue to get more players involved such as Dexter Williams, Chase Claypool, and CJ Sanders to name a few.
Perhaps Kevin Stepherson will get some playing time, but Brian Kelly has still not set a date of return from the speedy wide out. The Irish will have no problems handling the RedHawks this weekend, I’ve got them winning big.
My Prediction: Notre Dame 49 Miami 13