Frankie V’s Prediction: Can Notre Dame Ignore Distractions on Road in Atlanta?

Notre Dame looks to continue its winning ways tomorrow with their road trip to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Irish enter the game as nearly three-touchdown favorites in their second road game of the season and second in as many weeks. Tech is the last obstacle on Notre Dame’s collision course with Clemson – a path that got more complicated this week. Will the mounting distractions get in Notre Dame’s way, or will the Irish take care of business?

What Worries Me This Week

The Clemson distraction. I was not worried about the distraction of Clemson until the news broke yesterday of Trevor Lawrence’s COVID-19 diagnosis. Until then, I loved that Brian Kelly was candid and honest that his team has been looking ahead to Clemson this season. The success of this season hinges on how Notre Dame plays against the Tigers next week, so why not embrace it.

Well, that approach was complicated a bit this week with the news about Lawrence since everyone is talking about when he’ll return and if he’ll be available for the Notre Dame game next weekend. Now there’s another layer of distraction that didn’t exist earlier this week.

Facing a mobile quarterback. Mobile quarterbacks can always be an x-factor, and Jeff Simms poses that threat this weekend. We saw Clark Lea look downright human against Florida State a few weeks ago with freshman QB Jordan Travis running for 96 on 19 carries. The Irish were never seriously threatened even after the Seminoles took a brief lead, but if Tech has any chance tomorrow, it’s if Simms has a huge game.

What Doesn’t Worry Me This Week

Notre Dame building on last week’s passing success. The Irish passing attack wasn’t perfect last weekend, but it was improved. Ian Book had three touchdown passes and found a new connection with Bennett Skowronek. Even with injuries in the wide receiving corps, I expect Book and Tommy Rees to build on that performance and look even sharper this week against a much, much weaker defense.

Georgia Tech is giving up over 40 points a game. Notre Dame should be able to easily reach that mark before calling off the dogs as well.

Kyren Williams getting back on track. Notre Dame’s running game had great success on 3rd and short last weekend but not much success on first and second down runs. Kyren Williams was held mostly in check by the Pitt defense. The Yellow Jacket defense will not be able to do the same. Williams could have over 100 yards by half-time in this one, similar to his performance against Florida State.

Players I’m Watching This Week

  • Jordan Johnson – Ian Book hinted earlier this week that freshman Jordan Johnson was elevated to the varsity this week from the scout team.
  • Tommy Tremble – Kelly said that Tremble has been a bit banged up. Still waiting for him to have a breakout performance this year. Maybe a return to his home state will facilitate that.
  • Kyle Hamilton – No one can pass on Kyle Hamilton this year, but we haven’t seen him create turnovers like we saw him do in 2019.
  • Chris Tyree – He’s been held in check the last two weeks since his breakout against Florida State. The Tech defense might be what the doctor ordered to get the frosh going again.
  • Dealin Hayes – He’s been quiet so far this year. Feels like he has a breakout coming soon.
  • Bennett Skowronek – We saw him make big plays last week. Now I’m looking for him to make the chain-moving type plays he had a reputation for.
  • Avery Davis/Lawrence Keys – Interested to see how playing time at the slot position breakdowns tomorrow with Keys back after multiple setbacks this season.
  • TaRiq Bracy – He is going to be needed big time next week. After missing last week, he needs tomorrow for practice.

Prediction Time

On paper, Notre Dame should win this game in a blowout. There are many distractions for this team right now, but going on the road might be a blessing this week. I would be more worried if this were a home game. That said, I am optimistic about Notre Dame taking care of business easily this week because Georgia Tech is just not a very good football right now.

Notre Dame 42, Georgia Tech 17

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  1. Another totally unimpressive win against another garbage team.

    Here’s what Clemson will do. Bitch slap the bums on the O line all night and limit ND to well under 200 yards rushing. That will force Book to throw. They will blitz him to death. Book will be held to well under 200 yards. ND has no downfield passing game and get little out of the TEs in the passing game. What happened to the TE down the seam? With as well as this team runs you’d think that they could do more with play fakes and screens. But no. ND will be lucky to score 20.

    The D will hold its own for a while before the lack of O leads to a convincing Clemson win by 20 or more.

    God, I hope I’m totally wrong and it’s actually like I said but the total opposite and ND wins going away. But I think that’ll take a miracle.

  2. This is just a plodding, oafish O, with an overrated O line, mediocre QB, and poor to average WRs. The RBs are decent if they have holes but lack HR potential.

    The D is solid but could get more TOs and sacks. Today they have played a lot in the GT backfield.

    Bramblett sucks. Doerer is inconsistent this year from over 40. No return game either. The STs do have two blocked punts for TD. One of those against Clemson would be very helpful!

  3. SFR, I think ND will pull away and win this one rather easily but dang they will lose next week against Clemson and their true freshman QB. Lawrence has been ruled out for next week.

    1. Agreed, Jeff.

      Only hope ND has is if they play their best game of the BK era in all three phases and Clemson plays its worst game of the Dabo era in all three phases. Even then that might only be enough to keep it close but not lead to an ND win.

  4. Not impressed at all. ND will win and go to 6-0 all against teams not currently ranked in the top 50. Will get embarrassed next week.

    1. Jeff,

      They’re getting embarrassed this week, brother!

      This O line can’t pass protect. I mean, Book sucks, no doubt, but there’s pressure on every pass attempt.

  5. Book sucks!

    Can’t beat any great teams with such mediocre QB play.

    Can you beat these bottom feeders with Book?

    Can you beat Clemson? No way! That’s 4 points off the scoreboard!

  6. Keep looking ahead, Bk and ND!

    Sure way to lose even to inferior teams.

    Is BK an asshole or what to give GT all the bulletin board fodder they need!

  7. I’m sure glad BK rotted PJ on the bench for three years and then let him transfer to BC.!

    Clemson will be desperate next week if they don’t comeback today. Lawrence will play regardless. Dabo will pull out all the stops since Clemson will be facing a do-or-die situation if the lose today.

    ND better take care of business early today to rest up starters and start thinking about Clemson next week.

  8. No way should this game at this point in the two teams’ development be close by the end of the third quarter.
    The best way to stifle a team with a mobile QB who can make plays (see Fla. St.) with his arm and feet is to control the LOS and pound/outscore them (see Fla. St.). This week the Irish fare to score TDs early and often and dominate GT. If it’s close come the fourth quarter, it’s evidence they were looking ahead, but I don’t expect to see that.

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