The game circled on many Irish fans calendars is the Notre Dame vs Georgia. That game is now on the verge of being played. There is so much on the line in this game. It will be difficult for either team to qualify for the College Football Playoffs. So winning this game is essential to the Irish as they do not have a conference championship. Many are calling the game against the Bulldogs a true test of this football team. Some folks say that the Irish will need trick plays to beat Georgia. Some also say that there is no way that this team can beat Georgia no matter what they do. What it comes down to is that Irish fans need to have faith.
Having seen this team a little more than did last year, this team truly has a chip on it’s shoulder. Ever since the Cotton Bowl, Ian Book says that this team has unfinished business. I saw that in the fall practices opened to the media. There was determination in their eyes. Righting the wrong of the Clemson game is on all of the players minds. Spending extra time in the weight room, extra time studying film, and extra concentration in the dress rehearsal pays dividends in the game.
Three Key Factors
Offensive Line Protection
The offensive line must, must protect Book. The defensive line weight is 338 pounds. That is a lot weight lining up an offensive line. The key for Book to be successful will be to get the ball out quick. Ian is not going to want to feel the contact of one of those defensive linemen. Executing on third on short continues to be a concern. Execution will have to be more crisp than the past two previous games. The Dawgs will not be that forgiving.
The addition of Cole Kmet to the line is going to allow many opportunities for Book to deal with. Spreading the defense and setting up a triple threat package will leave the Dawgs defense wondering, where is the ball going to go? Opening up the pass game will hopefully open the run game for the Irish. The running game can be an extra special treat as Avery Davis is listed in the depth chart. His run (post pass reception) last week brought the stadium to life after his speedy scamper to the end zone.
The defense must continue the mental discipline. Getting to the Quarterback and getting in Fromm’s head is a must. The Irish had no sacks last week against the Lobos. Though they had six QB hurry-ups. Last week the three interceptions by the Irish defense matched the same number against Syracuse last season at Yankee Stadium. The pick-six to open the scoring for the Irish marked the first time since 2002 (Gerome Sapp in 24-17 win vs. Purdue) that the first Notre Dame score of the year at home was a defensive touchdown.
Keeping their assignments and not letting to many big plays get into the secondary will allow the Irish to dictate the pace while on defense. The Dawgs are going to have to plan for Kyle Hamilton. As a Freshman that is a true sense of flattery. They will have to figure a way to not have him around the ball, good luck with that.
Continued Good Play On Special Teams
Jay Bramblett had a fantastic week for a Freshman. Four punts totaling 163 yards, two punts with in the 20 yard line,a long of 46. His first punt set up the “Pick 6” by Kyle Hamilton.
During Sunday’s press teleconference I got to ask Coach about Bramblett and his performance. “I want to talk about Jay Bramblett really quick. Yesterday he really turned the field around for you guys.”
Coach Kelly’s response ” He’s really handled himself very well. One of the area where he’s come in ahead of the curve is pinning the opponent down inside their 10-yard line. He has an art there that not many kickers as freshmen have – the ability to put some spin on the football and he’s done a really good job in that regard. He’s handled all the duties – getting the ball off quick, rugby kicking, handling the PAT/FG duties. He’s been a great asset as a true freshman coming in after losing a great player in Tyler Newsome who was a steadying influence in the kicking game. Jay has been outstanding for us.” Those a strong words of praise for a true Freshman.
The Jafar Armstrong reference in my pick was prior to his injury. I did not want to alter what I wrote back before the season started. Unfortunately you don’t know when injuries are going to happen.
Until ND can close out a big road game, it’s hard to pick’em. Some examples, Miami, Cotton Bowl against Clemson, I (Jimmy) feel they under-performed. The loss to Texas in 2016, they just didn’t finish. The Bulldogs have a new Offensive and Defensive Coordinator If Georgia wants to keep their playoff hopes alive the need to beat ND. I (Jimmy) would be glad to be proven wrong on this one.
Jimmy chooses GA 31-20
As Lee Corso would say on the set of College GameDay on ESPN, “Not So Fast“, Jimmy, I love ya like a brotha but “No”. After the horrible loss to the Bulldogs a couple of seasons ago at home, It’s time for some unfinished business. The 2019 team is not the 2017 team. The Irish bring back the “Fightin” against the Bulldogs in a legitimate win over an SEC team.
With Book, the super tandem of Tony Jones Jr and Jafar Armstrong, the offensive effort will overcome the Bulldogs defensive line. The other key is that the Irish defense must stymie the Bulldogs offensive weapons. The Irish can win a close one against the Bulldogs and definitely have the attention of the CFP committee.
George chooses ND 35-31
The game will be nationally televised on CBS. Kick-off is slated for 8:11 PM EST. The game can also be heard on XM Radio Channel 129.
Cheers and Go Irish! ☘🏈⚡