Notre Dame Football Primer: Fighting Irish Travel to NC State

The Fighting Irish hit the road on Saturday to visit Raleigh, North Carolina for the first time since 2016.

Marcus Freeman and company will face their first real test this season when they travel South to take on NC State. Sam Hartman and the Irish Offense look to continue their surge this Saturday afternoon when the Notre Dame Quarterback faces a familiar ACC foe in the Wolfpack. Even though this is a noon kickoff, Carter-Finley Stadium will be rocking when the Fighting Irish come to town.

Essential Game Info:

  • Game Time: 12:00 PM ET on ABC
  • Location: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Matchup History: Notre Dame Football is 1-2 all-time against NC State (Last Meeting: Irish won 35 to 14 in South Bend)
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -7.5

NC State Details

  • Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Head Coach: Dave Doeren
  • 2023 Record: 1-0
  • 2022 Record: 8-5 (4-4)

Weather Forecast

The current GameDay forecast shows a 50% chance of rain, with a high of 85 degrees and a low of 66.

NC State Storylines:

The Wolfpack will host Notre Dame for the first time since 2016. Unfortunately, the last time these two programs met in Raleigh was in the middle of a hurricane that ended in a 10 to 3 Wolfpack victory. This year, North Carolina State will face a dominant Notre Dame Football program on a mission to advance to 3-0.

NC State passed their week one test against UConn. The Wolfpack had a hard-fought road victory at UConn, led by transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong from Virginia. Although it was week one, the Wolfpack did not look spectacular by any means and will be the underdogs in Saturday’s matchup.

Brennan Armstrong headlines the Wolfpack Offense. In week one, Armstrong went 17 for 26 (65%) with 155 yards passing. On the ground, the NC State quarterback had 19 carries for 96 (5 yards per carry) with 2 rushing touchdowns.

NC State’s starting running back Jordan Houston, had 13 carries for 57 yards (4.5 yards per carry) against UConn. While wide receiver Kevin Concepcion led the team with 4 receptions for 36 yards.

Notre Dame Storylines:

Marcus Freeman faces the first real challenge of the season. The Fighting Irish were able to cruise to victories over Navy and Tennessee State in the first two weeks. Yes, the Midshipmen and Tigers were not power-five opponents, but 2023 has been better than the 0-2 start from a year ago.

Carter-Finley Stadium will be electric for this matchup. Fans should be excited to see what Sam Hartman, Audric Estime, and this group of young receivers can do this Saturday. Thankfully, this will be a noon kickoff and not a night game that Notre Dame Football seems to always deal with on the road.

The matchup with Ohio State is still looming weeks away, but the Irish must focus on one game at a time.

The Irish Defense will face a high-caliber quarterback this weekend. When Notre Dame faced Virginia back in 2021, they were supposed to see Brennan Armstrong for the first time, but he unfortunately was out with an injury, and the Cavaliers only mustered 3 points without him. After a great performance last week, Armstrong will undoubtedly want to knock off the Irish this year.

Even though the Notre Dame defense has only allowed 6 points all season, there are still areas of improvement. After facing Navy and Tennessee State, the unit only tallied 3 sacks and 2 turnovers. Yes, the defense has played great, but those numbers will have to rise if they want to make the College Football Playoffs.

Head-to-Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. NC State Defense: Sam Hartman is quite familiar with the ACC during his career at Wake Forest. This time against the Wolfpack, he will be surrounded by a lot more talent.

The Fighting Irish are averaging 49 points per game (with a new running clock). While NC State allowed 14 points to UCONN in week one and surrendered 160 yards on 26 rushes (6.2 yards per carry).

Advantage: Notre Dame

NC State Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: NC State accumulated 364 yards of total offense in week one, almost all from Brennan Armstrong. His dual-threat capabilities will be pivotal for the Wolfpack Offense.

While Al Golden’s defense only allowed 3 points to Navy and 3 points to Tennessee State, respectively. Undoubtedly, the competition was not elite, but that is a statistic Irish fans should take no matter the opponent.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Special Teams: The Notre Dame kicking game is led by Spencer Shrader, who is 0 for 1 on the season and may get more opportunities this weekend in a potentially closer contest. Conversely, NC State’s kicker Brayden Narveson, is 1 for 2 this year (44-yard field goal).

There is no distinct advantage on special teams.

Advantage: Even

My Prediction:

It is hard to believe it is already the third Notre Dame game of the year. Although two stress-free games have been fun, it is time to start moving forward with the first real challenge of the 2023 campaign.

Unfortunately, I do not predict this will be another breeze for Notre Dame Football. NC State will come out upset-minded and passionate, but it will not be enough against this talented Irish squad.

With Heisman candidates Sam Hartman and Audric Estime, it will be challenging to slow down this attack. I believe NC State will put up a few scores on offense, but ultimately, the Wolfpack will need more than Brennan Armstrong doing everything to win this matchup. I have the Fighting Irish winning by 18 points.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38 NC State 20

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button