Notre Dame Iowa State Primer: Irish seek 11th win at Camping World Bowl

This Holiday Season Notre Dame will be heading back to Orlando to play at Camping World Stadium. Brian Kelly leads the Irish into the postseason with another 10-win season and 5-game winning streak. Now, Notre Dame faces Iowa State for the first time in program history and looks to finish a culture-changing, three-year stretch with their 33rd win.

Essential Game Info:

  • Game Time: December 28th at 12:00 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
  • Matchup History: 1st All-Time Meeting
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -4.0

Iowa State Details:

  • Conference: Big 12 Conference
  • Head Coach: Matt Campbell
  • 2019 Record: 7-5 (5-4 in Big 12)
  • 2018 Record: 8-5 (6-3)

Iowa State Storylines:

Inconsistent Season for Cyclones. Iowa State had five losses this season, but only one of those losses came by more than one score. The Cyclones lost to Iowa by 1-point, at Baylor by 2-points, and at Oklahoma by 1-point. This program had key wins against West Virginia, TCU, and Texas. Don’t let the 7-5 record fool you, Iowa State is more than capable of pulling off an upset against the Fighting Irish.

Matt Campbell recently signed contract extension. Last December, Iowa State signed Coach Campbell to a massive contract through the 2025 season. The past three seasons, the Cyclones Head Coach has gone 8-5, 8-5, and 7-5 this year heading into the Camping World Bowl.

Key Cyclone Players. The Iowa State Offense centers around Quarterback Brock Purdy. This year, Purdy is 295 for 445 (66.3%) with 27 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. On the ground, the Cyclone Quarterback has 86 attempts for 265 yards (3.1 yards per carry) with 8 rushing touchdowns.

Complementing Purdy in the backfield is running back Breece Hall, who has 169 attempts for 842 yards (5.0 yards per carry) with 9 rushing touchdowns.

Iowa State’s receiving core features Deshaunte Jones, La’Michael Pettway, and Tight End Charlie Kolar. Jones leads the team with 72 receptions for 832 yards and 2 touchdowns. La’Michael Pettway has 51 catches for 622 yards with 6 touchdowns while Kolar has 48 receptions for 675 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Notre Dame Storylines:

What does this game mean for Notre Dame? On paper nothing at all. But, it’s a chance to finish off a great 3-year stretch the Irish haven’t seen since 1991-1993. After the collapse in Ann Arbor, Brian Kelly was able to get his team motivated to win 5-straight games including an impressive 52-20 victory over Top 25 Navy. So, there is no reason the Irish won’t show the same effort in the Camping World Bowl.

Many Notre Dame players will be competing in their final game in the blue and gold. This matchup can represent the consistency this group of seniors has brought back to Notre Dame Football. Unfortunately, the Irish won’t get a chance to rewrite any big game narratives this holiday season, that will have to wait until next fall.

Lance Taylor and Tommy Rees Co-Offensive Coordinators? According to Coach Brian Kelly, Lance Taylor will be coordinating the running attack while Tommy Rees oversees the passing game. Who will be calling the plays? That is still uncertain, although we do know that Brian Kelly has ruled himself out.

The Camping World Bowl may be an audition for these two coaches as the Irish search for a permanent offensive coordinator. Tommy Rees and Lance Taylor are great candidates but may not have enough experience that the program is looking for to win a national championship.

Laying Foundation for 2020. Notre Dame has a daunting schedule as usual next season. Even this past fall, the Irish faced five ranked opponents out of 12 teams on their schedule. Notre Dame will square-off against Wisconsin at Lambeau, Stanford, Clemson, and at USC.

A 6-game winning streak capping off an 11-win season will build more confidence and momentum heading into next year. Unfortunately, a loss could have the opposite effect.

Head to Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. Iowa State Defense: The Irish Offense has put up 37 points per game this fall. Conversely, the Cyclones Defense is surrendering 25 points each game.

Since the Michigan game, Ian Book and this Notre Dame Offense have been dominating opponents. Even with the departure of Chip Long and the lack of running game from the Irish tailbacks, I give Notre Dame the advantage.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Iowa State Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: Matt Campbell’s Offense is averaging 34 points per game this year. While Clark Lea’s Defense has only allowed 19 points per game in 2019.

Iowa State brings in a strong dual-threat quarterback, and the Cyclones have put up a lot of points this year. However, Notre Dame’s Defense has been one of the best units in the country. Even though the Irish will be without a few key players due to injury, Notre Dame still has the advantage in this matchup.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Special Teams: Connor Assalley headlines the Iowa State kicking game. Assalley is 12 for 16 with a long of 42 yards. His counterpart, Jonathan Doerer, has done admirably in his first season for the Irish. Doerer is 13 for 16 with his longest make at 52 yards.

There is no advantage in this matchup.


My Prediction:

This game is very upsetting for Notre Dame fans everywhere. Can you imagine the Irish finishing 10-2 and not making a New Year’s Six Bowl Game? After playing five ranked teams throughout the season, nearly half their schedule, and winning three of those matchups. Yes, I witnessed the Michigan game firsthand, and that was a collapse, but the Camping World Bowl? I’m not sure the Irish deserved this situation even with all the bowl tie-ins.

Nevertheless, this will be the last time Irish fans get to see their team play for the next nine months, and that is always something to be excited about.

Will Notre Dame be motivated? Brian Kelly will have his team prepared just as they were the remaining five games of the season. Although the Iowa State Cyclones and their fans will be energetic for this matchup as they get to face the Fighting Irish for the first time ever. This will be a higher scoring game, but Chase Claypool will be the difference in his final collegiate game.

Prediction: Notre Dame 41 Iowa State 31

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  1. The Irish should be VERY motivated for this matchup after being snubbed out of the BIG 6! Put the peddle to the metal
    and don’t look back!!

  2. I’m more upset about the opponent than the bowl. The Michigan dismantling was crippling for the Irish this year. No matter what the Irish did everyone in the outside world just said “yeah….but Michigan”. That’s all that mattered to the PTBs that run the bowls. yeah….but Michigan.

    But I think ND is better than an 8-5 team. I was hoping to see the Irish face a strong team if for no other reason than to see if Rees has really turned a corner or was it just a mirage based on playing several overmatched opponents. I’m not sure we are going to be able to glean anything from this game on that front.

    And you can bank on Book returning and being the starter. And I’m concerned that if Book isn’t really all that improved, and he still struggles against strong defenses we’ll be here again next year….10-2 thinking yet again, maybe next year. I’ve been thinking that since 2005 and it’s gotten old. When does maybe next year become this year?

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