Distracted comes to mind. Although Notre Dame defeated Central Michigan by 24 points on Saturday afternoon, the Irish left many points off the scoreboard. Notre Dame committed eight penalties, including an offensive holding call that voided a 72-yard touchdown run by Audric Estime. Defensively, the team looked uninterested at times, and a slew of missed tackles proved that. Perhaps the upcoming showdown against Ohio State was what some of the younger lads had their eyes on.
However, Notre Dame’s veteran quarterback, Sam Hartman, did not appear to be phased by what was on the horizon. Instead, he practiced what head coach Marcus Freeman preaches, “One play. One life”. Hartman’s deep balls were delivered with precision, connecting on a pair of passes for over 75 yards each. The Heisman candidate finished with 330 yards passing, including three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The catalyst in setting up those passes was the Abrams tank himself, Audric Estime. Tank carried the ball 20 times for 176 yards (8.8 YPC) and one score.
Defensively, Notre Dame may have been without its savvy linebacker, JD Bertrand, but his counterpart, Jack Kiser, battled admirably, leading the team with 10 tackles.
TE Kevin Bauman and DE Aiden Gobaira are out for the season (ACL). TE Eli Raridon is day-to-day (knee). WR KK Smith is out indefinitely (shoulder). DL Gabriel Rubio is probable (knee). WR Matt Salerno is out indefinitely (leg).
WR Reis Stocksdale, TE Zak Herbstreit, and Bennett Christian are out for the season.
- Ohio State is 3-6 ATS in its last nine games.
- The total has gone over in 11 of Ohio State’s last 14 games.
- Ohio State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games against Notre Dame.
- The total has gone over in 10 of Notre Dame’s last 11 games.
- Notre Dame is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games against a Big Ten opponent.
Money Line Point Spread and Over / Under Total
#6 Ohio State (3-0) (1-1 ATS) at #9 Notre Dame (4-0) (2-1 ATS)
A win against Central Michigan made the Irish 4-0, but a win against Ohio State on Saturday night will make Notre Dame a college football playoff contender. The Irish will be entering its primetime matchup against the Buckeyes off their 41-17 victory over Central Michigan. Notre Dame won the game, but the team’s focus seemed off. This week, however, focus and motivation will be crucial to victory. Former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz once said that a good head coach, on his own, could get a team motivated to play for one to two games per season. It should go without question that this week, Irish head coach Marcus Freeman will have his soldiers itching to deploy.
Last week, Notre Dame outgained the Chippewas in total yards, 578-268. By contrast, during Ohio State’s 63-10 trouncing of Western Kentucky, the Buckeyes outgained the Hilltoppers 562-284. The Buckeyes’ defense limited Western Kentucky to 80 yards rushing on 33 carries (2.4 YPC).
This weekend, Ohio State should have their hands full with Estime, who in four games has already surpassed 500 yards rushing (8.3 YPC), including five touchdowns. Conversely, Notre Dame will face a formidable opponent on offense that features Marvin Harrison Jr., arguably the best wide receiver in the country. Against Western Kentucky, Harrison caught five passes for 126 yards, including one touchdown. Through three games, the talented wideout has hauled in 14 catches for 304 yards (21.7 YPC) and three scores.
The difference in this matchup may come down to one thing: experience at quarterback. Notre Dame has one of the nation’s most proven college quarterbacks in Hartman while the verdict is still out on C.J. Stroud’s replacement, Kyle McCord. Hartman has been fantastic so far at Notre Dame, completing 64 of 90 passes for 1,061 yards, 13 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Not to be discounted, McCord is off to a good start, having completed 53 of 76 passes for 815 yards and six touchdowns.
Ohio State is sitting nicely at -3.5, and the total is hovering around 54. Hartman is playing in his sixth college football season. His composure and consistency were evident through all four of Notre Dame’s games thus far. It is difficult to imagine him getting caught up in any distraction that can be attached to a game of this magnitude. He could have transferred from Wake Forest to any school in America, but he chose Notre Dame for reasons like this weekend. Pick: Notre Dame
Behind Enemy Lines Week 4:
PICKS-Win/Loss on the year: 9-12 ATS
Navy (1-2) (1-1 ATS) – Bye week
Navy outgained Memphis 432-408, but it wasn’t enough as the Midshipmen received their second loss of the season. Navy failed to score on its final drive of the game, which resulted in the 28-24 loss. Next game: South Florida
Tennessee State N/A (2-1) (0-0 ATS) at UT Martin (2-1) (0-0 ATS)
Tennessee State defeated Gardner Webb last week, 27-25.
NC State -9.5 (2-1) (0-2 ATS) at Virginia (0-3) (1-2 ATS)
Last week, the Wolfpack huffed, puffed, and blew out the VMI Keydets, 45-7. NC State quarterback Brennan Armstrong tallied over 300 yards of total offense, with 264 yards passing and 39 yards rushing. Virginia waited 20 years to get shell-shocked by the Terrapins, 42-14. Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa passed for 342 yards and one touchdown. NCST is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games. The total has gone over in four of Virginia’s last five games. NCST side and total are firm at -9.5 and 46.5. Pick: NC State
Central Michigan (1-2) (1-2 ATS) at South Alabama -15.5 (2-1) (1-1 ATS)
Central Michigan trailed by seven at halftime in South Bend before falling to Notre Dame, 41-17. The Chippewas surrendered a whopping 578 yards of total offense to the Irish. The Jaguars outgunned the Cowboys 33-7. South Alabama running back La’Damian Webb rushed for 151 yards, including two touchdowns. CMU is 1-4 ATS in its last five games. USA is 1-5 ATS in its previous six games. USA rose a point to -15.5 while the total dropped two notches to 51. Pick: Central Michigan
#18 Duke -22 (3-0) (2-0 ATS) at UConn (0-3) (1-2 ATS)
Duke utilized a balanced attack to defeat Northwestern last week, 38-14. The Blue Devils finished with 219 yards passing and 268 yards rushing. UConn scored 14 unanswered second-half points, but it wasn’t enough as the Huskies fell to Florida International, 24-17. UConn running back Devontae Houston finished with 126 yards rushing on 19 carries. Duke is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games. The under has gone under in eight of UConn’s last 11 games. Duke is sitting at -22 across the board, with a total resting at 46. Pick: UConn
Boston College (1-2) (1-1 ATS) at Louisville -14 (3-0) (0-2 ATS)
Although they were shut out in the second half last week, Louisville still managed to leave Indiana with its third win after defeating the Hoosiers, 21-14. Cardinals’ receiver Jamari Thrash, caught four passes for 159 yards and one touchdown. Boston College was just a few points away from upsetting Florida State, but the Seminoles held on to win, 31-29. The Eagles offense racked up 457 yards of total offense. The total has gone over in BC’s last five games. UL is 6-0 ATS in its last six home games. The line moved a point to -14, with the total hovering at 54.5. Pick: Boston College
#5 USC -34 (3-0) (2-1 ATS) at Arizona State (1-2) (0-2 ATS)
The Trojans have had a week to admire themselves during their bye week after having smoked Stanford like a joint the week prior, 56-10. Meanwhile, Arizona State was chewed up like a bone by the Fresno State Bulldogs, 29-0. The Sun Devils were held to just 230 yards of total offense. The total has gone over in 10 of USC’s last 11 games. ASU is 1-7 ATS in its last eight games. USC opened at -33 before moving to -34. The total fell a hair to 61.5. Pick: USC
#17 North Carolina -7.5 (3-0) (2-1 ATS) at Pittsburgh (1-2) (0-2 ATS)
Pittsburgh had its teeth knocked out by West Virginia in the ‘Backyard Brawl’ last week, 17-6. Each team could only muster 211 total yards of offense. North Carolina, on the other hand, passed its way past Minnesota, 31-13. Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns. UNC wide receiver Nate McCollum caught 15 balls for 165 yards and one score. The total has gone under in four of UNC’s last five games. PITT is 2-4 ATS in its previous six home games against UNC. UNC is sitting at -7.5 and climbing, with the total coming down to 49.5 at most books. Pick: North Carolina
#4 Florida State -2.5 (3-0) (2-1 ATS) at Clemson (2-1) (1-1 ATS)
Florida State dodged Eagle droppings last week against Boston College as they escaped with a 31-29 victory. Seminoles’ quarterback, Jordan Travis, finished with 222 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also ran for another 38 yards. Clemson ripped the feathers off the Florida Atlantic Owls, 48-14. The Tigers’ defense limited the Owls to 83 yards rushing on 36 attempts (2.3 YPC). FSU is 0-5 ATS in its last five games against Clemson. The total has gone over in five of Clemson’s last six games against FSU. This game opened at a pick ’em’ before FSU reached -2.5. The total is set at 55.5. Pick: Clemson
Georgia Tech (1-2) (1-1 ATS) at Wake Forest -4 (3-0) (1-1 ATS)
The Yellow Jackets had their stingers removed in Mississippi by the Rebels, 48-23. Ole Miss racked up a modest 550 yards of offense, including 299 yards on the ground. Wake Forest had to outscore Old Dominion 27-7 in the second half to win the game, 27-24. Demon Deacons quarterback Mitch Griffis passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. GT is 1-5 ATS in its last six games at WF. The total has gone under in five of WF’s last seven games against GT. WF opened at 6.5 before falling to -4. The total also dropped to 59. Pick: Wake Forest
Arizona -12.5 (2-1) (2-0 ATS) at Stanford (1-2) (1-1 ATS)
Last week, Stanford lost its scrimmage against Sacramento State, 30-23. The Hornets were able to tally 448 yards of offense against the Cardinal. Arizona stole the ore from the UTEP Miners, 31-10. Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura passed for 285 yards and three scores. Arizona is 6-3 ATS in its last nine games. The total has gone over in five of Stanford’s last seven games versus Arizona. This line rose three points to 12.5, and the total is at 59.5 across the board. Pick: Arizona
*Notre Dame’s 2023 opponents are listed in bold.