Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman’s motto is, “One play. One life. Choose hard.” His players certainly chose hard on Saturday night against Ohio State as they took their team’s own life one play at a time. It was like watching a proverbial football suicide as the Irish dropped interceptions, failed to convert on fourth-and-one attempts, missed a field goal, surrendered a third-and-19 conversion, gift-wrapped a 60-yard touchdown run, and finally allowed the game-winning score with only ten defenders on the field.
There were plenty of positives to mention, but as Freeman stated at Monday’s press conference, ‘no one cares to hear about those because of the outcome.’ After losing in that fashion, he is correct. No one does. Notre Dame fans have heard excuses and could’ve, would’ve, should’ve after big-game losses for decades. It’s solely about results now. Was it a win or a loss. No one is interested in the details.
Luckily for Freeman and his troops, there is still plenty of time to inch their way closer to the college football playoffs. Moving forward, the new team motto must be, One play—new life. No excuses.
TE Kevin Bauman and DE Aiden Gobaira are out for the season (ACL). WR KK Smith is out indefinitely (shoulder). WR Matt Salerno is out indefinitely (leg). WR Deion Colzie is out for two weeks (knee). WR Jayden Thomas is questionable (hamstring).
WR Eli Pancol is out indefinitely (lower body).
- Duke is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games.
- The total has gone over in 10 of Notre Dame’s last 12 games.
- Notre Dame is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six games.
- Notre Dame is 5-2 all-time versus Duke
- Notre Dame won the last meeting in 2020, 27-13.
Line and Total
#11 Notre Dame -5.5 (4-1) (3-1 ATS) at #17 Duke (4-0) (3-0 ATS)
Notre Dame will be hanging on to its playoff life against Duke after suffering its first loss of the season to Ohio State last week, 17-14. Quarterback Sam Hartman took what the defense gave him while passing for 175 yards and one touchdown. The Irish’s stable of running backs did their part, rushing for 176 yards on 39 carries (4.5 YPC) and one score.
On the other side of the ball for Notre Dame, Javontae Jean-Baptiste showed out against his former team. He finished with eight tackles, including two third-down stops, one fourth-down stop, and a tipped pass. Cornerback Benjamin Morrison locked down Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. as he was limited to just three catches for 32 yards.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils kenneled the UConn Huskies, 41-7. Duke’s defense held UConn to 203 yards of total offense. Blue Devil’s quarterback, Riley Leonard, passed for 248 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for another 30 yards on four carries, including one score.
Last week, coach Freeman had the team motivated to play. The Irish players came out and matched the energy of Ohio State. However, they failed to execute in crucial moments, ultimately costing them the game. So, this week’s game is on the players. They will either curl up and get embarrassed like they did last year against Marshall after losing to Ohio State, or they can show that they are indeed one of the best teams in college football. Notre Dame is touching -5.5 at most books with a total of 50.5. Pick: Notre Dame
Behind Enemy Lines Week 5:
PICKS-Win/Loss on the year: 12-19 ATS
South Florida (2-2) (2-1 ATS) at Navy -4 (1-2) (1-1 ATS)
Navy had two weeks to recover from its second loss of the season. Navy failed to score on its final drive of the game, which resulted in the 28-24 loss to Memphis. USF boiled Rice at home last week, 42-29. The Bulls defense surrendered 492 yards of offense to the Owls but amassed 597 offensive yards of their own. USF is 4-2 ATS in its last six games. Navy is 1-5 ATS in its previous six home games. Navy is firm at -4, with the total sitting at 53. Pick: Navy
Tennessee State N/A (2-1) (0-0 ATS) at UT Martin (2-1) (0-0 ATS)
Tennessee State defeated Gardner Webb two weeks ago, 27-25.
Louisville -3.5 (4-0) (2-1 ATS) at NC State (3-1) (0-3 ATS)
Last week, the Cardinals flew past the Eagles 56-28. Louisville outgained Boston College 582-427. NC State kicker Brayden Naveson kicked a game-winning field goal to defeat Virginia, 24-21. UL is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 games. The total has gone under in four of NC State’s last five games against UL. This line has UL at -3.5 but is inching closer to 4. The total dropped from 55 to 54.5. Pick: NC State
Eastern Michigan (0-0) (0-0 ATS) at Central Michigan -7.5 (2-2) (2-2 ATS)
Eastern Michigan was shut out at Jacksonville State, 21-0. The Eagles were held to 152 yards of total offense, including three interceptions. Central Michigan outscored South Alabama by five in the second half of last week’s game to win 34-30. CMU quarterback Jase Bauer passed for 224 yards and one touchdown. He also carried the ball 15 times for 55 yards and four scores. EMU is 1-5 ATS in its last six games against CMU. The total has gone over in four of CMU’s previous five games. CMU opened at -5.5, but now the line is at -7.5. The total is 48. Pick: Central Michigan
#4 Ohio State (4-0) (1-2 ATS) – bye week
Last week, Ohio State scored with one second remaining in the game to defeat #9 Notre Dame, 17-14. Next game: Maryland
#8 USC -21.5 (4-0) (2-2 ATS) at Colorado (3-1) (2-2 ATS)
USC narrowly escaped the gates of hell in Tempe, Arizona, as they defeated the Sun Devils, 42-28. Trojans’ quarterback, Caleb Williams, completed 20 of 31 passes for 322 yards and three scores. The Colorado Buffalos were skinned alive by Oregon, 42-6. The Ducks held Colorado to 199 yards of total offense. USC is 2-4 ATS in its last six games. The total has gone over in 11 of CU’s last 15 games. The Trojans opened at -17.5 before climbing to -21.5. The total is also sitting high at 74. Pick: USC
Pittsburgh -2.5 (1-3) (0-3 ATS) at Virginia Tech (1-3) (1-3 ATS)
North Carolina invaded Pittsburgh Saturday night and handed the Panthers its third loss of the season, 41-24. Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec exited the game late in the first half with an undisclosed injury. He finished with 109 yards passing and no touchdowns. Virginia Tech also suffered its third loss of the season after being stampeded by Marshall, 24-17. Thundering herd running back Rasheen Ali rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns. The total has gone over in seven of Pitt’s last eight games. VT is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games. Pitt opened at -3.5 before falling a notch to -2.5. The total fell 4.5 points to 41. Pick: Virginia Tech
Clemson -7 (2-2) (1-2 ATS) at Syracuse (4-0) (3-0 ATS)
Clemson kicker Jonathan Weitz missed a 29-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining in regulation, allowing Florida State to win in overtime, 31-24. Clemson’s defense limited FSU to 22 yards rushing on 20 carries. Syracuse whipped Army, 29-16. The Orange outscored the Black Knights 26-6 in the second half. Clemson is 1-5 ATS in its last six games. The total has gone under in six of Cuse’s last seven games against Clemson. The Tigers are firm at -7, and the total is hovering 53. Pick: Clemson
Wake Forest (3-1) (1-2 ATS) – bye week
Last week, the Demon Deacons were sent back to hell by Georgia Tech. Wake Forest turned the ball over five times, which resulted in a 30-16 loss. Next game: at Clemson
Oregon -27 (4-0) (3-0 ATS) at Stanford (1-3) (2-1 ATS)
Oregon enters this game after showing Prime what time it was in its 42-6 thumping of Colorado. Ducks’ quarterback, Bo Nix, completed 28 of 33 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Stanford surrendered its half-time lead to Arizona, falling 21-20. Oregon is 4-1 ATS in its last five games. The total has gone over in 12 of Stanford’s last 18 games versus Oregon. Pick: Oregon
*Notre Dame’s 2023 opponents are listed in bold.