On to week two for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This weekend the Georgia Bulldogs visit Notre Dame for the first time ever. We’re hear to get you ready for the game with our weekly primer.
What you Need to Know
- Game Time: September 9th at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
- Matchup: Georgia leads the all-time series 1-0 (Last Meeting 1981 Sugar Bowl)
- Odds: ND -6.5
- Weekend Events: The Pep Rally will take place this Friday, September 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the Hesburgh Library Quad. For more information on game day events visit http://gameday.nd.edu/events/ .
Gameday Weather Forecast
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- Conference: SEC (East)
- Head Coach: Kirby Smart
- 2016 Record: 8-5
- 2015 Record: 10-3
The major storyline for Georgia is their inexperience at quarterback. Georgia’s starting QB Jacob Eason left the Georgia opener against Appalachian State with a knee injury and will be out for the Notre Dame game. True Freshman Jacob Fromm took over and went 10 of 15 with 143 yards of passing with 1 touchdown. Fromm has a lot of potential, last year he was listed as the #44 overall player and #3 QB in the country on 247 Sports. Fromm will face a big challenge in South Bend for his first road game.
In week 1, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel ran for 183 yards on 31 carries with three touchdowns total. Will they be able to run through the Irish defense in week 2? Without a doubt the major storyline for both teams will be trying to stop the run game. The run game is a strength for both teams. Look for Notre Dame and Georgia to try and load the box, forcing young quarterbacks to try and beat them.
Kirby Smart enters his second season at Georgia and the expectations are extremely high in Athens. He put together a top 3 recruiting class last season, and brings a defensive mindset from his days at Alabama. Georgia fans are expecting big things in year two. The Bulldogs are the favorites to win the SEC East and meet Alabama in the title game. Smart will be looking for a signature win in 2017, but he will be facing Brian Kelly who is desperate to get the Irish back to their winning ways.
Notre Dame Storylines
Are the Irish ready to pound the rock against the big boys in the SEC? Notre Dame controlled the trenches last week against Temple, but will they have same success against Georgia? No one is expecting Notre Dame to accumulate 606 total yards of offense by any means, but if the Irish can continue to run the ball with success against a legitimate SEC defense, they have a chance to pull off the victory.
Wimbush looked good against the Temple Owls, but still has a lot of room to develop. He was 17 of 30 in the passing game for a 56.7% completion percentage. There were several throws that he certainly missed throughout the game. Conversely, Wimbush was terrific on the ground with 106 rushing yards. He looked like the most dynamic quarterback of the Kelly Era. But he is going to have to step it up in the passing game to become an elite quarterback.
Brian Kelly said postgame that he was not concerned with Justin Yoon. I wasn’t sure if he truly meant this or was just saying the “right thing” so that his kicker still knew he had confidence in him. Yoon has been a quality kicker for the Irish and his two misses were at 44 yards and 47 yards. Anyone who knows the Roberto Aguayo story though, knows that kicking can be more mental than physical. The Irish are going into battle against an SEC juggernaut, they might not be able to afford missed field goals in this matchup.
Head to Head Matchups
Notre Dame Offense vs. Georgia Defense – Advantage Notre Dame- The Notre Dame Offense accumulated 422 rushing yards over Temple in Week 1. Although the Irish will face an SEC defense in week 2, they still have the advantage. Notre Dame is loaded on the left side of the offensive line, with 2 Potential First Round picks. The Irish have a mobile quarterback with Wimbush and an NFL receiver with St. Brown.
Georgia Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense – Advantage Georgia- Notre Dame’s Defense looked vastly improved in Week 1. The Irish still are far from where they need to be on defense and they will have an enormous test this week with Georgia. Nick Chubb and Sony Michal are two of the best running backs in the entire country. Georgia will be playing with a true freshman quarterback, but I will still give the edge to their offense with the talent they have. I need to see the Irish defense step up this week before they have my full seal of approval.
Special Teams – Tie- Neither Notre Dame nor Georgia scored a touchdown on special teams last week. As previously mentioned, Justin Yoon struggled in the kicking game going 0 for 2. His counterpart went 1 for 1, although his field goal was only a 23 yard attempt. The special teams matchup is even in this game. But I do expect CJ Sanders to give the Irish good field position, and he will likely break a touchdown or two this season.
Last week I thought I would be picking the Georgia Bulldogs to win. But now that a true freshman will be making his first career start in South Bend, along with other factors, I’ve change my mind.
The Notre Dame Offensive line overwhelmingly impressed me last weekend. Wimbush’s ability to create yards when no one is open was outstanding. Although he has a lot of room to grow, he is the best running quarterback Kelly has had in South Bend. Although the passing game still needs improvement, I admired his first game against Temple.
I believe the Irish defense will give up a lot more points this week against Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, but Notre Dame Offense will get their points as well. The Irish have the better quarterback, this game is in South Bend, and Brian Kelly desperately needs this win to turn “EVERYTHING” around, I’ve got the Irish pulling off the upset.
My Prediction: Notre Dame 38 Georgia 31