Notre Dame Football Primer: Irish take on BYU in Las Vegas

The Shamrock Series is back, as the Fighting Irish travel to Las Vegas to face the ranked BYU Cougars.

Fresh off a bye week and previous victory at North Carolina, Marcus Freeman will have an opportunity to knock off the top-25 BYU Cougars in a neutral site matchup. This game is important for both programs, and there will undoubtedly be a lot of storylines heading into this historic Shamrock Series clash. If the Notre Dame Offense can continue to build off the success from the past two weeks, this will be a great matchup in the desert.

Essential Game Info:

  • Game Time: Saturday, October 8th at 7:30 PM ET on NBC
  • Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Matchup History: Notre Dame is 6-2 all-time against the BYU Cougars (Last Meeting 2013: Irish won 23 to 13)
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -2.5

BYU Details:

  • Conference: Independent
  • Head Coach: Kalani Sitake
  • 2022 Record: 4-1
  • 2021 Record: 10-3

BYU Storylines:

It is a rare meeting of college football independents. BYU will be joining the Big 12 shortly, but for now, the Cougars remain independent and will play teams from across the country this season. BYU has wins against USF, Baylor, Wyoming, and Utah State but suffered a 21-point loss at Oregon.

The Cougars and Fighting Irish will square off in Las Vegas for their first matchup since 2013, a game that was originally supposed to take place in Provo.

There are several key players on the Cougars Offense. Quarterback Jaren Hall leads BYU. This season Hall is 120 for 171 (70%) for 1,438 yards with 12 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 7 sacks. He has 34 attempts for 64 yards (2 yards per carry) with 0 rushing scores on the ground.

Jaren Hall’s top targets are wide receivers Keanu Hill and Chase Roberts. Hill has 16 catches for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Roberts has 15 receptions for 223 yards and 1 score. The Cougar rushing attack is led by running back Christopher Brooks, who has 49 attempts for 294 yards (6 yards per carry) with 4 rushing touchdowns.

Notre Dame Storylines:

The Irish Offense continues to develop each week. Although North Carolina did not have a formidable defense, the Notre Dame Offense had its best performance of the season and made strides again in Chapel Hill. The Fighting Irish tallied 287 rushing yards and 289 passing yards against the Tar Heels.

Drew Pyne went 24 for 34 with 289 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. While Audric Estime, Chris Tyree, and Logan Diggs all had over 50 rushing yards, backed by a resurgent offensive line.

Marcus Freeman has an opportunity for his first top-25 win Saturday. Although BYU is not in the top 10, an Irish victory on Saturday will go a long way in maintaining momentum on and off the field. As the Notre Dame Offense keeps advancing, the Irish will still need to lean on an elite defense that was able to stop the Tar Heels in their last matchup.

Head-to-Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. BYU Defense: The Irish Offense is averaging 369 yards per game, while the Cougar defense allows 338 yards per contest. Tommy Rees has called tremendous games against Cal and North Carolina, as the offensive line is moving defenses, Drew Pyne is settling in, and the running backs have started to get more yardage after contact.

The Irish have had success the past six quarters on offense, but there must be more sustained positives for Notre Dame to have the advantage in this matchup.

Advantage: Tie

BYU Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The BYU Offense is averaging 445 yards per matchup, while the Notre Dame defense allows 356 yards per game. Kalani Sitake’s team features a high-powered offense, but they have yet to face a dominant defense that the Fighting Irish brings to the field.

Al Golden’s unit has already played stellar against Ohio State and North Carolina. However, they have the advantage against the Cougar Offense.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Special Teams: Notre Dame’s kicker Blake Grupe is 3 for 4 this year, with his longest make at 47-yards. The BYU kicking game is led by Jake Oldroyd, who is 5 for 10 with his longest make at 45-yards.

Advantage: Notre Dame

My Prediction:

The Irish dominated North Carolina on the road in Chapel Hill in their last contest. Since that matchup, the Tar Heels have improved to 4-1 with a 31-point victory against Virginia Tech. Again, I want to avoid getting caught up in one game, but Irish fans must be impressed with what they saw on both sides of the ball.

For Marcus Freeman to build off that momentum and extend the winning streak to three games, the team must keep developing. BYU is a quality top-25 opponent, but the Cougars have suffered a big loss and have weaknesses the Irish can exploit.

Irish fans all know the Notre Dame Defense is one of the best in the country (just look at how many points Ohio State has scored since week one). The offensive line must dominate on Saturday, while Drew Pyne needs to continue to hit the open receivers that Tommy Rees and his play calling have set up. The Irish will build off their victory in Chapel Hill and beat the Cougars by two touchdowns.

Prediction: Notre Dame 31 BYU 17

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  1. Hey david idiot, You should be posting on LSU football site whining about Kelly since that’s what your obsessed with.
    Tired of hearing your plan B instead of watching ND, who gives a shit what YOU wanna watch!!!

  2. david with another shitty and wrong plan, I know for real you’ll be glued to looking at those uniforms!!!
    BTW LSU us 4-1 and won last week

    1. Donald’s streak of nothing to add continues. Undefeated season likely.
      To assist in drafting up a “Brian Kelly, Please Come Back!” petition, let Donald know.
      He could use help with any big words.

  3. Not a fan of the tired brand whoring / designer costume game.
    At noon, I’ll be watching Tennessee – LSU.
    Brian Kelly being such a complete gameday fuck up used to really upset me, to the point where I gave up watching ND games.
    Now, Kelly being a complete fuck-up is great entertainment.

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