Notre Dame Football Primer: Irish travel to Undefeated Louisville

After a season-saving victory last weekend, the Irish must face another undefeated, top-25 opponent this Saturday Night.

Notre Dame is back in the AP Top Ten and will face the #25 Louisville Cardinals on the road in primetime. Jeff Brohm’s team enters Saturday’s showdown undefeated in front of their first sellout crowd since 2019, while Marcus Freeman looks to get several key receivers back for this matchup and move to 6-1 in a vital stretch against four ranked teams in a row.

Essential Game Info:

  • Game Time: Saturday, October 7th at 7:30 PM on ABC
  • Location: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Matchup History: Notre Dame is 2-1 all-time against the Louisville Cardinals (Last Meeting 2020: Irish won 12 to 7)
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -7.0

Louisville Details

  • Conference: ACC
  • Head Coach: Jeff Brohm
  • 2023 Record: 5-0 (3-0)
  • 2022 Record: 8-5 (4-4)

Weather Forecast

The current GameDay forecast shows a 2% chance of rain, with a high of 66 degrees and a low of 44.

Louisville Storylines:

Jeff Brohm is back at his alma mater. After taking the Purdue Boilermakers to the Big Ten Championship game, Coach Brohm returned home to the Louisville Cardinals. Fans have wanted him to return to the bluegrass state for years, and in his first season back, the Cardinals are 5-0.

Louisville knocked off Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana, Boston College, and NC State (13 to 10) last week.

Quarterback Jack Plummer leads the Cardinals’ Offense. In a strange sequence of events, this will be Plummer’s third time facing the Fighting Irish. He was the quarterback at Purdue in 2021, California in 2022, and now under center for the Cardinals this fall. This season, Plummer is 86 for 132 (65%) with 1,406 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and 9 sacks. On the ground, he has 36 attempts for 79 yards (2.2 yards per carry) with 1 rushing score.

The Cardinals rushing attack is led by running back Jawhar Jordan, who has 66 carries for 510 yards (7.7 yards per carry) with 6 rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, the top receiving targets are Jamari Thrash and Ahmari Huggins-Bruce. Thrash has 22 receptions for 44 yards with 5 touchdowns this fall, while Huggins-Bruce has 13 catches for 191 yards and 2 scores.

Notre Dame Storylines:

The Fighting Irish Offense struggled at Duke. In the absence of Jayden Thomas, Deion Colzie, and Jaden Greathouse, the Irish Offense struggled to move the football on the Blue Devils. Fortunately, Sam Hartman was able to do just enough to win on the final drive.

Audric Estime led all rushers with 18 carries on 81 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns. Mitchell Evans was the only receiver with more than 2 catches on the night. The Irish Tight End tallied 6 receptions for 134 yards and was the MVP of the offense at Duke.

The ACC Officials will be back on Saturday. First and foremost, I do not like to blame anything on the officials. I would give them the benefit of the doubt and blame Notre Dame for making mistakes most of the time. That said, it seemed that none of the officials wanted to watch the Fighting Irish win their 30th consecutive regular season game against ACC opponents.

Marcus Freeman’s team had 12 penalties for 70 yards, while Mike Elko’s team had 2 penalties for 28 yards. There were countless missed holding calls on the Duke offensive line (0 were called), a punt downed at the 1-yard line that was reversed by the booth (not reviewable), and a shoulder-to-thigh tackle by Jordan Botelho called for targeting.

In a world where Notre Dame haters say the Irish get all the calls, in fact, it is quite the opposite during ACC action.

The Notre Dame Defense has stepped up all season. For all the criticisms that I have had for Al Golden, the Irish Defense has played phenomenally this year. Coach Golden still calls some unnecessary secondary blitzes, but the Notre Dame Defense kept the team in the game the past two weeks.

Head-to-Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. Louisville Defense: The Fighting Irish Offense is averaging 37 points per game, while the Cardinals Defense is allowing 17 points per matchup. Gerard Parker’s offense has struggled the past two weeks. However, Ohio State and Duke had two of the better defenses in the country.

The Cardinals have not played anyone all year besides a 3-point victory over the NC State Wolfpack, who the Irish destroyed.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Louisville Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The Louisville Cardinals Offense is scoring 37 points per contest, while the Irish Defense allows 13 points per game. Al Golden has one of the best defenses in the nation, and last week, they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.

If the defensive line can build off last week’s performance alongside one of the best Irish secondaries this century, it will be a tough Saturday Night for the Cardinals.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Special Teams: Notre Dame’s Spencer Shrader is 5 for 10 on the season, with his longest conversion at 54 yards. Louisville’s kicker Brock Travelstead is 6 for 8 with his longest conversion at 53 yards.

Watching Coach Brohm for years, I would fully expect some trick plays on offense and special teams this weekend.

Advantage: Louisville

My Prediction:

Notre Dame Football has poured everything they have into the last two matchups. The Louisville Cardinals will be just as fired up this weekend as the Duke Blue Devils a week ago.

But, I believe the Fighting Irish are more prepared for this matchup at this point in the season. Louisville struggled against an NC State team that the Irish dominated a few weeks ago.

Notre Dame is ready for the primetime stage on Saturday. Sam Hartman had an all-time gusty performance at Duke last weekend. This week, he will get several of his targets back, and I do not expect the Irish rushing attack to struggle for a third straight week.

I have the Fighting Irish winning by two touchdowns.

Prediction: Notre Dame 34, Louisville 20

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  1. @Jeff, i do not think the Cardinals are overhyped in the slightest. Kudos to them for starting 5-0. The QB is not good enough to win this game, but the rest of the team is good enough to win it anyway. They can pile on TDs in a hurry, and I’m sure Coach Brohm has a number a tricks up his sleeve for this game. Sold-out crowd in primetime, plus ND has to be somewhat drained after Ohio State > Duke.

    Not saying I’d bet on Louisville this weekend, but I think you’re underestimating them quite a bit.

  2. Notre Dame will not have any problems with Louisville provided they fix the pre-snap penalty issue. Louisville is over hyped and will get pummeled by ND.

    1. Predictions of ND “pummeling” opponents have a pretty convincing history of falling short.
      For starters, define what a “pummeling” margin for a road victory is…..21 points ?
      Unless Parker gets seriously inspired with his playcalling, I wouldn’t make that bet.

      1. Yeah your probably right especially if Hartman decides to avoid contact at all cost in an effort to protect his clip board carrying career in the NFL. His tip toeing out of bounds early in 1st qtr of OSU game before picking up 1st down played a significant roll in the loss. Even coach Freeman has reiterated several times that was a learning moment for Hartman.

      2. If Ian Book s draft-worthy, Hartman should make the pro bowl.
        Freeman is the genius who hires guys who can’t count to 11.
        And almost every American worker is someone’s clipboard carrier, dude….you just don’t watch them on TV.

      3. Ian Book getting drafted is a perfect example of NFL GMs getting caught up in the hype and being wrong most of the time. Hartman will be more successful in the NFL than Book even though it’s most likely as a back up. But hey being a backup worked out pretty well for Gale Gilbert and his son.

      4. You are impossible to debate with because you’re schizophrenic and have the memory of a house fly.
        I can see why Rhonda likes you.

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