Frankie V’s Prediction: Notre Dame v. Miami ’17

Notre Dame is playing in the headline game of the week as they travel to Miami to take on the undefeated 7th ranked Hurricanes.  A win and Notre Dame is likely in the driver’s seat for one of the four spots in the College Football Playoffs.  A loss and a lot of old storylines will resurface surrounding Notre Dame’s ability to win the big game.  So which narrative will be hearing on Sunday?  Let’s find out.

What Concerns Me This Weekend

The health of the Notre Dame running backs. Can we get through this weekend with the backfield in tact?  Too many times this year Notre Dame has entered a game with four healthy backs only to end it with two or less.  Obviously Notre Dame needs Josh Adams back at 100% in this one, but they’re also going to need Tony Jones and Dexter Williams back too. Deon McIntosh has been Mr. Reliable this year but Notre Dame needs all four in this one.

The hype surrounding this game.  Normally I don’t worry about the hype too much, but then I saw Notre Dame’s #BeatCanes video earlier this week and I started to get worried.  I’m sure many of you will just dismiss something like that, but I don’t like seeing something like that during a big game week.  It probably only took a few minutes of time to film, but that’s still too much time during a week like this for my liking.  Hopefully the team remains grounded this week and doesn’t buy into it all, but by making a video like that, Notre Dame opened itself up to some questions should they not take care of business down in South Beach this week.

Miami’s pass defense. Notre Dame’s passing game is improving but it’s still a work in progress and Miami is one of the best defenses in the country in yards allowed per attempt.  The Hurricanes are good at keeping things in front of them while Notre Dame’s short passing game has struggled compared to its downfield attack.  In Notre Dame’s only other big road game of the year – Michigan State – Brandon Wimbush had one of his best games of the year passing the football and he threw for a career high 280 yards last week.  That said, Miami’s pass defense is a different level than Wake Forest’s.  If Wimbush and the Irish passing game hit a few plays early, I’ll be much, much less concerned.

Notre Dame’s pass defense.  Notre Dame’s pass defense has been on its heels a bit the last two weekends.  Both NC State and Wake Forest attacked the Notre Dame pass defense with the short passing game.  At times the Irish defense looked great by jumping the short routes, but both were still able to rack up the yards.  Miami’s passing offense has better athletes and they have the speed to get behind the Notre Dame defense.  Miami wide receiver Braxton Berrios is good at working the middle of the field and could hurt the Irish defense if given too much space.

Everyone picking Notre Dame. I hate when all of the experts pick Notre Dame in a game like this.  Just never makes me comfortable when the Irish a road favorite in a big game.  It’s paranoia, I know, but it still worries me.

What Doesn’t Concern Me This Weekend

Notre Dame’s ability to run the ball.  If NC State couldn’t slow down the Notre Dame running game, Miami isn’t going to.  Miami reminds me of a USC type team.  If Notre Dame comes out early and hits them in the mouth and just continues to do it throughout the game, they will eventually wilt.  Miami is undefeated and living high right now but they have not faced a team like Notre Dame so far this year.  They’ve faced some teams that can run the ball like Georgia Tech but they are a whole other beast.  Notre Dame will run it right at Miami and they will have success doing it.

Notre Dame’s run defense. Until the Wake Forest game, Notre Dame’s run defense was trending towards being one of the best in the country.  Then Wake Forest ran for over 200 yards on Notre Dame last weekend.  Brian Kelly hinted that there were some distractions last week and that he was confident that his defense would prepare better this week.  I think we’ll see the Notre Dame run defense rebound this weekend.

Miami going tempo. The obvious concern this week would be Miami going tempo after seeing what Wake Forest did to Notre Dame with it last weekend.  The problem for Miami if they attempt that is, they aren’t really a tempo team.  They haven’t really done it much at all this year outside of its two minute offense so if they try to do it a lot this weekend just because it worked for Wake, they’ll be trying to be something they aren’t and that could actually just play right into Notre Dame’s hands.

Notre Dame’s pass rush.  Notre Dame doesn’t have Jarron Jones to be a one man wrecking crew against Miami again this year but remember how well Notre Dame got in the Miami backfield last year?  They did that with a patchwork defense after the firing of Brian Vangorder.  Mike Elko’s defense has been light years ahead of last year’s unit and I have a feeling we are going to see the Irish defense really dial up the pressure this weekend.

Players to Watch

  • Kevin Stepherson – Stepherson had a field day against Miami last year and he has been getting better and better each week.  Notre Dame needs a big pass play this week to loosen up the Miami defense and Stepherson is their home run threat.  Add in Stepherson’s Florida roots and you have the makings of a big game from Stepherson.
  • Nick Watkins – Kelly says that he is healthy for this weekend, but he looked a bit hobbled last weekend and gave way to Troy Pride Jr for much of the game.  When healthy, Watkins has been dynamite for Notre Dame this year.
  • Alize Mack – He is back this weekend and he has yet to have a breakout game.  Last week it was Claypool, could it be Mackk this week?
  • Daelin Hayes – Notre Dame needs the pass rush this weekend and Hayes has been a little quiet the last few weeks.
  • Josh Adams – Need to see #33Trucking to get back on track this weekend with a big game.  Adams is said to be 100% this weekend.  Last year he broke free for a 41 yard touchdown after Notre Dame surrendered the lead.  He only had 12 carries last year against the Canes but they went for 94 yards.  He needs more than 12 carries this year.
  • Chase Claypool – How will he build on his breakout 9 catch, 180 yard performance from a week ago?
  • Jerry Tillery – It’s been a quiet few weeks for Jerry Tillery.  Notre Dame beat Miami last year in large part because Jarron Jones was superhuman that afternoon.  Can Tillery step up this weekend and have anything close to a similar outing?

How Did I Do Last Weekend

Not that well.  For the first time this year I predicted a blowout and the game ended up looking a lot closer on the scoreboard than it did on the field.  I was worried about Wake Forest knowing too much about Mike Elko’s defenses but never saw them putting up the kind of yards that they did.  Notre Dame also let a lot of points on the field that allowed the score to look closer, but still, not a great prediction on my part last weekend.

Prediction Time

In the preseason I saw this as a win for Notre Dame even though some had penciled it in as a loss. Why?  Because even during the trainwreck that was the 2016 season, Notre Dame found a way to beat Miami.  In fact, the last time Notre Dame a one possession football game?  October 29, 2016 against Miami.  The last time before that?  November 21, 2015 in Fenway Park.

I’ve been back and forth on this one all week.  Monday I felt like Notre Dame could very well lose this game.  As the week as wore on though, I’ve started to feel better and better about the game.  Last weekend I went all in on the Irish and predicted a blowout for the first time this year and obviously jinxed them, so I’m a bit worried about making the following prediction, but here goes. I think we will see a game very similar to the 2012 Oklahoma road game.  It’ll be close throughout the game but Notre Dame will keep running the football and eventually, will wear Miami down and pull away in the 4th quarter.  Irish add a late touchdown to make this one look not as close as it actually was.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Miami 24
Preseason Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Miami 27

Yearly Predictions

GamePre-SeasonGame WeekActual Outcome
Week 12: StanfordND 24-21ND 31-17
Week 11: NavyND 49-17ND 45-24ND 24-17
Week 10: MiamiND 31-27ND 38-24UM 41-8
Week 9: Wake ForestND 34-24ND 42-13ND 48-37
Week 8: #14 NC StateND 34-17ND 34-24ND 35-14
Week 7: #21 USCUSC 38-24ND 34-31ND 49-14
Week 6: North CarolinaND 31-21ND 41-17ND 33-10
Week 5: Miami OHND 42-17ND 49-13ND 52-17
Week 4: #16 Michigan StateND 24-13ND 30-28ND 38-18
Week 3: Boston CollegeND 35-10ND 35-10ND 49-20
Week 2: #3 GeorgiaUGA 29-27UGA 29-27UGA 20-19
Week 1: TempleND 31-21ND 31-21ND 49-16

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  1. So Elko’s gameplan was to allow the opponent to drive to the ND 5 yard line on every drive, then pray ND holds them to a FG.
    Sounds strategic.

    1. BK, Elko, Long, and Heistand are and always will be overrated.

      The again, there’s only so much you an do with average talent. ND needs to decide whether it really wants to compete at this level or continue admitting future Nobel prize winners only.

      Like I’ve said, the O line and the entire D were over-hyped all season. The D was the exact same D scheme of 2012. Compare the results of the last two D efforts against Southern teams in that stadium!

      What’s left? Try to win out. Accept a lower bowl game or one with an easier opponent. Two years ago I said to play against UF and not tOSU in a bowl. The end result was another bowl game blowout.

      The bottom line is BK is a dead man walking at S. Bend. Everyone knows he’ll never win it all at this level. My guess is once his contract expires both sides will part ways. BK then can go win titles in DIII, where he belongs.

      Time to hit the “dislike” internet cowards!

  2. Not 1 comment admitting that Miami might have a REAL team , and we all just watched a absolute ass whooping from the U ….. you guys are as funny as Trump voters still making excuses for their detrimental vote ……. peace !

    1. Did anyone on here say otherwise?

      I can guarantee you that whoever did is one of those on this site who is the delusional, ND is the greatest types.

      The rest of us who live in the real world knew this was a game ND could be exposed. We said as much, giving Coach Richt, his satff, and the Canes team much props and respect.

      So I think your point is largely irrelevant.

      Congrats on a dominating win!

    2. Big Cliff,
      No one here said Miami wasn’t for real. Go sell drugs with the rest of your Drug Lord friends.
      I said in several places that Mark Richt is an excellent coach. I might rather see him as head of ND instead of Kelly. Don’t want the swag bling ghetto crap that Miami still is but that’s Miami not Richt. He was at Miami before Jimmy without a Johnson and his band of Scarfaces.

      Funny that back in the 80s Miami fans still us some class. But I guess living in a drug infested crap hole has taken its toll eh Cliffy?

      Miami will be under water in 20 years. Have fun Cliff.

  3. Kelly did build a great framework this year. And the kids are awesome. Drew Tranquill come to Microsoft.

    But Holtz is needed for game day prep.

  4. Well all the prognostications were wrong. What a poor showing. Kelly never has his teams prepped for the southern scum teams. Well they have two more games. So now it’s hope for next year. Been hoping since 1994. That is a long wait.

  5. Just let it end already. I thought we turned a corner with the USC game. I really did. All that is left is to beat Navy and Stanford and hope to get a NY Day 6 bowl. I do think they’ll beat Navy. Navy isn’t looking their best this year. Stanford is probably their toughest remaining game. Do they win out? I don’t even know anymore. I thought the offense would have scored some points. They seemed to have been getting better week to week, but that’s certainly not the case tonight. They were dominated. Don’t know what happened to our ‘dominant’ O-line. Wimbush made plenty of mistakes but it seemed half the time he was running for his life. Defense too about 10 steps back since the NC State game. They really looked like they turned a corner up to them. So disappointing.

    The ABC guys said number 3 was overrated. Well, unfortunately I can’t disagree. They were dominated on every angle. Just a poor performance by everyone.

    Back to the drawing board, yet again. I really wanted to believe ND had finally turned a corner, that finally the football gods were back on our side. Well, we’ll see how the rest of the year plays out. Can they manage to win the next 2, go to a NY Day bowl and win that? In September, had they gone out and won a NY Day bowl, I probably would have been thrilled considering last year’s debacle. Now it doesn’t seem so thrilling.

  6. Good thing ND doesn’t play any good teams this year. Getting smashed by this mediocre team tonight is embarrassing enough

  7. This isn’t the same football team I’ve been watching all year.

    The team I remember each and every game was running down hill looking for contact….breaking plays for big gains.

    The defense was playing with grit.

    The coaching didnt let off the gas.

    So, we’ll likely win out the rest of the year having been beat by a good Georgia team and a good Hurricane team.

    1. No it’s not. That’s why it’s so disappointing. I’m just tired, and incredibly disappointed in this team. They had a chance to shine and they blew it. I’m glad they scored 8, at least it won’t be a shut out. But it’s still embarrassing. Losing like this when the whole world is watching.

      I think part of the problem is they started to believe in the hype and became overconfident. They needed to tune all that out and play with a chip on their shoulder. Because you know what, hype don’t mean nothing until the last game is played.

      Now I said at the beginning of the year for me to consider ND on the road to success, they’d need to at least win a NY Day 6 bowl game. I can’t very well go back on that. But to be so close, yet again, just very sad. When is ND ever going to cross that bridge to the other side.

  8. WTF happened to ND? They are listless and lost. My God, my dream the other night was better. At least they scored 3 FG’s in my dream in the first half. Totally and utterly disappointing. What happened to the team that dominated so many others.

    To the team–are you guys glad you made that stupid video now? Now you guys look like a bunch of morons.

    They played better earlier in the season when they had a chip on their shoulder. When everyone was telling them they weren’t going anywhere this year. When it was them vs. the world. Once people started talking about them like it mattered they turn to utter crap. Nothing looks good tonight. It’s last freakin year all over again. Where’s our elite O-line, our dominant defense? Did BVG’s spirit suddenly take over our defensive coaches again. Come on guys.

    And to Miami no less. I hate losing this badly, BUT TO MIAMI!

  9. The team with the better athletes and coaching is winning this game tonight. ND was unprepared once again for a tough road game. This is unacceptable. Looks like David has been spot on about Kelly

  10. ND would have gotten completely embarrassed in the playoffs anyway. This is a blessing in disguise. Just take the Pinstripe Bowl invitation and move on.

  11. Selling a ticket to the ND vs Stanford game – 2 rows behind the ND bench, the right section to the right of the 50 yard line.

  12. What a disaster. Let’s at least figure out who our QB is during the second half. We have a season to finish.

    La Crosse, Indiana

  13. Big game Kelly strikes again! Poor personnel
    choices; faulting responsible for his
    mistakes; and treating this as another game! I bet Father Jenkins, Jack Swarbrick are ready
    to offer Brian Kelly a 10 year extension
    tomorrow afternoon!

  14. This would be the greatest comeback, too bad I wont watch the second half if it does happen. Goodnight, and God speed.

  15. What a shit punt!

    This whole team is so unprepared and unathletic compared to Miami.

    ND will never be elite again if they can’t get better players at all levels.

    ND needs to decide if they want to compete or be an Ivy League team.

    1. Probably won’t happen but we can always pray for a miracle.

      Miracles haven’t really been a part of ND football in a very long time!

  16. Two programs, two coaches going in different directions.

    Miami seems to truly be back. Probably won’t win NC but might make the POs.

    ND under BK has peaked. It’s a 9-3 program that won’t win big games under the lights on a regular basis. Especially on the road.

  17. Elko may not know how to coordinate a defense, but at least he comes from an academic university. That’s what’s important.

  18. Thes receivers haven’t helped Winsbush all year. I’d love to see a stat on how many “looks” and how many “drops” there are.

    Yes, Wimbush can’t seem to hit a deep ball in stride to save his life. Lol

    They better remember who they are as a team or this shit is gonna get nasty tonight.

  19. Ready to turn off this stinker!

    Why can’t this program turn the corner?! Can’t win those big games. Not ready for prime time, I guess.

    I told everyone this D was overrated.

    Now it’s about avoiding total humiliation tonight. Winning out. Win the bowl game. Close out recruiting strong.

  20. Yup, Jeff, uh oh, indeed!

    The BW overthrow was critical. Different game if BW connects with EQ.

    I just don’t feel this game.

    It looks like BW can’t run. That’s tough.

  21. Can’t hit a long ball to save their lives!

    Huge missed opportunity right there!

    Why doesn’t BW just take a bit off? He knows he’s been overthrowing all season and his WRs won’t sell out to make a catch.

    Remember this play!

  22. Georgia’s loss followed by an Alabama loss and a Notre Dame shutout of the U will elevate the Irish to the top spot.

  23. Greg Kelly here in sick bay. Frankie you just made me feel better with your prediction. Sorry uhnd followers hopefully I’ll rise next week for Navy game

    1. Our fate is still in our own hands. Just win, baby. The committee puts a lot of stock in how you are playing at the end of the year. Play well – execute – win. Georgia is not our problem. They did that to themselves.

      BGC ’77 ’82

    1. Yes, BGC. Bad omens? I don’t know about omens. But I wonder what MSU and UGA are really all about. Those are our two signature games.

      How good are the Dawgs and Spartans? What does that say about ND?

      I just have had a bad feeling about this game all week.

      ND doesn’t do well in S. FL under the lights. Been a long time since ND won a game down there in prime time.

      GO IRISH!

  24. Even if ND wins tonight, the Irish SOS taking a huge hit today thanks to tOSU, which is absolutely destroying MSU.

    BTW: MSU is ND’s best road victory. Sadly, not too impressive right now.

    1. Yeah, I was hoping MSU would help us out. But if ND wins out I think they have a better then 50-50 shot of getting in. The main team I’m worried about is OK. I’m really hoping someone takes them out. I think we’ll get in over most other 1 loss teams otherwise.

  25. If the game comes down to a coaching decision, the advantage goes to Miami.
    Richt is a smart coach. Kelly is a fraud.

    1. david you brian kelly haters are all salty – the poor guy could be nick saban and you’d still be unimpressed. let me guess you’ve lined up urban meyer to be his replacement. please get over yourself.

  26. 42-10 Irish. Miami is full of themselves after VT last week while ND had a nice wake up call against WF. The result is a bloodbath. Miami can’t stop ND’s O-line and running game so ND will control a relatively close game in the 1st half (think 17-10) and then pile it on in the 2d half. Remember Warren Sapp huffing and puffing and about to drop after dealing with Nebraska’s mammoth offensive line the whole game back in 1995? This will be worse for Miami. They don’t have the strength to deal with ND’s physicality.

  27. Its Notre Dame’s to lose. Miami hasnt proven anything. They are overrated. Unless we make alot of mistakes we should pull away and win big. I just think this team is too focused and mentally tough

    1. To clarify:
      The team that is yet to lose a game this year hasn’t proven anything and the team that is ranked lower than ND is overrated.

  28. Miami is nothing like Southern Cal; outside the fact they’re two private schools in major metropolitan cities, near the water (and have some great football history.)

    I’ve seen both these teams in person this season and the Trojans are soft as Charmin. Watching them play Stanford, they were lackluster, heartless and play with zero intensity. (Beyond that, the Coliseum was a morgue for a supposed rivalry game with the home team in the Top 5 at the time.) I said that night they’d lose at Washington State and eventually Notre Dame as they lacked the grit of a strong road team.

    Notre Dame got USC in South Bend. Now the Irish head south to Miami for what will have the energy of a NFL Playoff game. A quote earlier this week state that Miami isn’t a sport town—but it’s an event town. Couldn’t be more on point. The freaks come out at night and in a big game situation like this, the city will be electric. Notre Dame is coming off four straight road games and seems to be overlooking the Canes—in typical elitist fashion; dismissing Miami due to close wins and what not.

    In short, this won’t be like any game y’all have played this season. This is a different beast. Either team could take it, but I promise you the Irish walk out of this either way saying, “Wow, we weren’t expecting all THAT.”

  29. Irish by more than 17. This is the game that everyone begins to REALLY believe in this team and quits waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  30. How many times does Josh Adams have to say he is 100% healthy? It was reported and confirmed by Josh himself that there was NEVER an injury issue. He was mentally fatigued and was having minor headaches and was cleared to come back into the Wake Forest game but ND was comfortably in the lead.

    1. Adams came out of the game in the 1st quarter. Notre Dame was not comfortably in the lead. The fact remains that three of Notre Dame’s 4 running backs have all been in and out of games each week.

  31. Reading this made me think that I wrote this. Especially the part about all the experts picking ND ( and doing so as if it is a no-brainer) That always worries me. The fact that the defense gave up so much last week makes me feel better because its like getting hit in the mouth and a reminder that you better be ready, or you’ll get hit in the mouth.

      1. Well. we know you didn’t write it.
        You’ve never written anything here but snide comments.
        Nothing else. Ever.

  32. I must be a little too worried about this game. I had a dream (I guess more like a nightmare) that Miami was leading 23-9 late in the 2nd quarter and ND was looking listless on offense and our defense was starting to break down. I was thinking, the same old ND has reared it’s ugly head, and I remember being disappointed because I really wanted to believe BK had finally managed to turn things around at ND.

    Well lets hope that is one dream that doesn’t come true. Like Frank, I didn’t like that ND made a video. First of all, never give your opponent, esp. on the road, any kind of ammo whatsoever, even perceived. It’s fine for ND to believe in itself, but don’t get overconfident. I liked it better when they were playing with a chip on their shoulder.

    This game has me concerned. I think, I hope, the defense gets a wake up call and maybe a chip on its shoulder and gets back to form. This will be another tough defense for our offense to face, but they’ve been blowing up every type of defense we’ve seen since late in the BC game and getting better.

    Dare I say I’m actually more worried about the defense this time then the offense? Some may call me paranoid. You may be right, but last week was the first time since Miami (OH) that I thought ND would blow out a team and it wasn’t a blowout. So I’m probably better off fearing the worse and hoping for the best. Go Irish! Blow out the Canes, give me another relaxing game.

    As an aside, the men’s BB team also start’s their season Saturday against DePaul. That game will be at 4 on FS1 (so it won’t interfere with the FB game). With Colson coming back, ND can be in for another great year. Could this be the year both the FB and BB team have a great year.

    1. I like the video. It’s time for the Irish to play with a little big of swagger. I think coaches have their finger on the pulse of this team and felt if it would be a distraction, then it shouldn’t be done.

      Also, if this video is the difference in whether or not Miami can get up for a game like this, then the game is already won.

      Mental is to physical as 3 is to 1.

    2. I’m also looking/hoping for the defence to bounce back in this game. If they do (as I expect/hope they will), I can’t see Miami scoring 20 points on them.

      I agree with the offensive side of the equation. Nobody except Georgia has been able to stop them so far this season. i wonder if Georgia could stop them now – this is a different team.

      I’m going to go with 35-17. This time they finish the game and there are no garbage points at the end.

      Sincerely, the other Brad

      Go Irish

    3. I love that this ND team has immediately responded with 8 TDs, most in just a few plays, after giving up points the last three weeks, and against top twenty teams two of those weeks.
      That speaks to their ability to focus, and has resulted in changing the all-important momentum each game.
      I, too, have noticed that Miami, like SC, has key letdowns during their games despite series when they look elite.
      That is what I am counting on this Saturday night.
      ND has proven to be mentally and physically prepared to win each week, and have finally shown that consistency (with the exception of Wake’s 4th quarter when they lapsed into reacting to completed passes rather than preventing them).
      Prevent Ds too often prevent winning. All successful Ds are in attack mode, as is Elko’s, even when at Wake. That’s what I expect Saturday night.
      Both teams will try to pressure the QBs into mistakes. More stunts/blitzes by ND this week will do just that. Bring it; so they’ll be no need to wonder what if !

      Keep the mistakes (missed tackles, dropped passes, turnovers) to a minimum and the D’ pressure to the maximum and the final spread will be maximized.

    1. Thanks! I have started calling him TJJ (Tony Jones Jr) on the UHND mods group text chain… clearly it’s now in my head.

    1. I’m thinking 28-17, Irish. Offense should wear them down in the 4th quarter. Wimbush doesn’t seem to get rattled.
      He will go to the sideline, after a bad third down play, and Kelly greets him with a smile. Whoa, this is a different environment than the past.

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