Notre Dame (1-0) is returning from an overtime thriller in Tallahassee, Florida where they defeated Florida State, 41-38. It will be interesting to see if Head Coach Brian Kelly is able to have his players focused on their game against the Rockets being that they are nearly three-touchdown favorites while rebounding from an emotional win in less than a week’s time.
Toledo (1-0) on the other hand is coming off a 49-10 blowout victory over Norfolk State. The Rockets may have been competing against the Spartans last week, but one must assume their attention was slightly shifted ahead to this week’s showdown with the Irish.
About Last Week
Irish quarterback, Jack Coan broke a Notre Dame record in a season opener by a quarterback after passing for 366 yards. He also finished with four touchdowns. Another bright spot on offense was Irish tight end, Michael Mayer who hauled in nine passes for 120 yards and one score. Perhaps the offensive surprise of the game was Notre Dame receiver, Kevin Austin Jr. who finished with four catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Aside from a couple of untimely drops by Mayer, the aerial assault seemed to be there when called upon. The same could not be said for the Notre Dame ground game. It was awful. The Irish carried the ball 35 times for 1.9 yards per carry. That is something Notre Dame must improve upon going forward to have any chance at making the playoffs.
On special teams, Irish kicker, Jonathan Doerer stole the show as he was flawless across the board. He was perfect on all five of his point-after attempts and on both of his field goals including the game-winning 41-yarder in overtime. Doerer’s performance earned him Lou Groza Award Star of the Week honors.
The Rockets managed 441 yards of total offense while holding Norfolk State to 272. Toledo used multiple quarterbacks during the game. Carter Bradley completed 8-12 passes for 183 yards and a score while Dequan Finn completed four passes for 38 yards. Finn also carried the ball nine times for 82 yards which led the team in rushing. On special teams, the Rockets blocked two punts in the first half and returned both of them for scores.
Coach Brian Kelly announced last week that Notre Dame linebacker, Marist Liufau was lost for the season due to a lower-leg injury and would be replaced by JD Bertrand. Notre Dame added a few more players to the injury list after its game with Florida State.
Coach Kelly stated that senior linebacker, Paul Moala tore his Achilles tendon and will be out for the remainder of the season which means true freshman, Prince Kollie will see earlier than expected playing time.
Freshman offensive tackle, Blake Fisher left last week’s game in the first half with an apparent “knee sprain” and returned to the sideline in the second half wearing a knee brace. Coach Kelly did not believe the injury was serious but stated that Fisher would have an MRI conducted to make sure. Unconfirmed reports are swirling that he could miss as many as six weeks. Michael Carmody filled in for him against the Seminoles and should continue to receive extensive playing time until Fisher returns.
Linebacker, Shayne Simon went down with a shoulder injury and will also have an MRI. Tight end, Kevin Bauman fractured his leg and will have surgery to have a plate inserted. He’ll likely miss six weeks.
Point Spread & Over/Under
Toledo (1-0) (1-0 ATS) at #8 Notre Dame (1-0) (0-1 ATS)
According to Odds Shark, the early betting line opened with Notre Dame as an 19.5-point favorite before dropping to where it sits now at -16.5. There are two ways most bettors will be approaching this game:
- If Notre Dame is ranked 9th facing an unranked opponent and handled Florida State on the road then they should beat the brakes off a lowly Toledo squad at home.
- Notre Dame is coming off an emotional win, so there might be a letdown this week. Not to mention, Toledo was probably focused on Notre Dame throughout much of summer camp, so their emotions will be high heading into South Bend.
Judging by the line movement, it seems to be the latter and not the former. The sharp money seems to be all over the Rockets. The total on this game began at 53.5 while most sportsbooks have since bumped it up to 55.
- Notre Dame is 5-0 straight up (SU) in their last 5 games against teams in the Mid-American Conference.
- Against the spread (ATS), Notre Dame is 2-11 in their last 13 games played in week two.
- Toledo is 5-1 SU in its last six games versus teams in the Independents (FBS) conference.
- Toledo is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 week-two games.
- This is the first ever matchup between the two programs
Behind Enemy Lines Week 2
Jacksonville State (0-1) (0-1 ATS) at Florida State (0-1) (1-0 ATS) -N/A
Purdue-33.5(1-0) (1-0 ATS) at Connecticut (0-2) (0-2 ATS)
Line opened at -32.5 before moving up a notch to -33.5. The total also increased slightly from 56.5 to 57.5. The big news heading into this game is after 17 years as head coach at UConn, Randy Edsall will be stepping down from his position immediately which means the Boilermakers will be facing an interim head coach this week. If the Huskies lose on Saturday, it will mark their first 0-3 start in nearly a decade. Purdue is in a similar spot as Toledo from last week. Will they be looking ahead to next week’s matchup against the Irish? That may give some bettors pause on laying such a high number against the Huskies.
Eastern Michigan (1-0) (0-1 ATS) at #18 Wisconsin -26 (0-1) (0-1 ATS)
Last week Wisconsin was upset in a close one to now #11 Penn State, 16-10 while Eastern Michigan had their way with St. Francis (PA) defeating them, 35-10. This week most books had the Badgers open as high as -31, but the line has since fallen significantly to -26. The total on this game opened at 59 and has since dropped to 52. EMU is 3-17 SU in its last 20 games against a team from the Big Ten conference. Wisconsin on the other hand is 20-0 SU in their last 20 games versus the Mid-American conference.
Murray State (0-0) at #7 Cincinnati (1-0) (1-0 ATS) – N/A
Middle Tennessee (1-0) (1-0 ATS) at #19 Virginia Tech -19.5(1-0) (1-0 ATS)
As a home underdog, the Hokies defeated the #24 Tar Heels last week, 17-10. The Hokies defense held North Carolina quarterback, Sam Howell to just 208 yards passing with three interceptions. The Blue Raiders blew out Monmouth, 50-15. Middle Tennessee held them to 2.3 yards per carry for a total of 88 yards rushing. The line on this game has remained close to where it opened. Virginia Tech was -19.5 and some books still have them there. The total is hovering around 54. Middle Tennessee is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games while Virginia Tech is 2-4 ATS in their last 6.
Stanford (0-1) (0-1 ATS) at #14 USC -17 (1-0) (1-0 ATS)
The Trojans coasted to a 30-7 victory over San Jose State last week. The Trojans opened as a 13.5-point favorite but have since increased to -17. The total opened at 50.5 and currently sits at 52. USC is 63-33-3 all time against the Cardinal and has won 6 of the last 15 matchups. Stanford is USC’s oldest foe as they have been fighting each other since 1905. Stanford looked bad last week losing at Kansas State, 24-7.
Georgia State (0-1) (0-1 ATS) at #24 North Carolina -25(0-1) (0-1 ATS)
North Carolina fell in the rankings from #10 to #24 after losing to Virginia Tech, 17-10. The Tar Heels’ offense looked pedestrian as the passing attack was held to just over 200 yards with only one touchdown and three interceptions. The line on this game has the Tar Heels favored by 25 and the total jumped four points from 61.5 to 65.5. Georgia State was run over by Army last week, 43-10. The total has gone over the mark in 4 of the last 5 games for Georgia State and North Carolina has gone over in 6 of its last 9.
Air Force -6.5 (1-0) (0-1 ATS) at NAVY (0-1) (0-1 ATS)
Last week Navy gave up a whopping 11 yards per completion to Marshal while getting spanked, 49-7. Air Force held its own against Lafayette easily beating them, 35-14. The Falcons enter this game as 6.5-point favorites. The total opened at 46.5 before falling to 40.5. Air Force is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings against the Midshipmen. Navy is 8-1 SU in their last 9 home games against Air Force.
Illinois (1-1) (1-1 ATS) at Virginia -9.5(1-0) (1-0 ATS)
The Cavaliers shut out William and Mary last week, 43-0 while holding them to under 200 yards of total offense. Illinois was stunned by University of Texas at San Antonio, 37-30. That was the first time UTSA had ever beaten a Big Ten opponent. It was also the first time they had ever faced one. Virginia opened -12.5 before dropping to as low as -9.5 at BETNOW. The total opened at 53.5 and now sits as high as 55.5 at some books. Four out of the last six games have gone over for Illinois while the total has gone over in 13 of Virginia’s last 17 games.
Kennesaw State (0-0) at Georgia Tech (0-1) (0-1 ATS) -N/A
*Notre Dame’s 2021 opponents listed in bold.