So now for part two of the 2020 season preview. The preview left off with Ben and George having a 5-0 record at the half. Remember this preview was written prior to the team shutting down for two weeks So the Irish are 4-0 going in against Pitt. As mentioned before, there is still plenty of football to play. Teams that can play spoiler are still on the calendar and that includes Clemson. Part two will have a tremendous finish for the Irish that will make all happy.
Week 7/Game 6-10/24: Notre Dame vs Pitt
Pitt is historically been a team that has had Notre Dame’s number. For whatever reason, Pitt always plays Notre Dame tough. They are a team that makes me nervous year in and year out. Last year they played every game tough. Games the were supposed to lose they did. They played down to a couple of them. The whole non-crowd factor there will not play to Pitt’s benefit. What will be interesting to see is what Pitt does in their very first game of the season. What happens against Austin Peay will tell very much tell me what to expect when they play ND.
Score 42-10 ND
Pitt’s defense kept them in it last season. The number three defense in the ACC, while the offense was number ten. Pitt was 8-5 overall last season. The stadium is anticipated to be empty so crowd noise will not be a factor. Kyle Hamilton will emerge as a leader on the defense prior to this game. Though Pitt is that tough nosed, bring your lunch box and go to work team, the Irish are just too much for the Panthers. No disrespect to Pitt, but ND is on a mission.
Pitt will stay in this game only if ND let’s them hang around. Jonathan Doerer will get challenged on field goal attempts and extra points as Heinz Stadium is difficult for NFL kickers to do their job. Swirling winds in the stadium is not kind to most.
Score 42-10 ND
Week 8/Game 7-10/31: Notre Dame vs Georgia Tech
“Georgia Tech has upgraded from the triple option to playing a regular offense. First actual big city game, going South. Weather is going to be better than it is up North. GT is not to be taken lightly. They make me nervous because historically ND plays down to their opponents. This a big away game. GT gets dominated by the offense. Because ND needs to take care of business. This can go one of two ways, ND dominates and wins or GT beats ND by a field goal late in the game.”
Score 24-10 ND
Halloween in Georgia. GT was number 14 in offense and the number 10 defense. It was Coach Collins first season and you kinda give a pass to going under a new coach and changing things up. With that said, improvement should come in year two. ND cannot overlook GT because Clemson is next on the schedule. This is can be a trap game for ND if they are caught looking ahead to Clemson. Discipline is a must in this game and I am sure Coach Kelly will emphasize that the entire week of prep for GT.
Score 35-6 ND
Week 9/Game 8-11/7: Clemson vs Notre Dame
There are three very interesting things to bring up for this match up. This is Clemson’s first legit game. They are on the road playing in South Bend, all season Clemson has been playing in the South. Coming before ND, they play Miami the week before. There is going to be chippy play during that game. There could be potential ejections that can impact the game. Clemson goes into South Bend the first week in November, you are not playing in a warm climate. It’s going to be cold for that game. Clemson will deal with cold for the first time this season. This will be that big win that ND has been waiting for a longtime. It’s a must win. This is the preview of the ACC Championship game. This is the prove it game for ND.
Score 35-28 ND
Undisputed number one team in the ACC last year. ND simply needs to keep their mind on the prize. No smack talk and leave it all on the field. ND will need to protect their house that night. Clemson got decimated in the draft and only return five starters to the defense and five players on the offense. They understand the next man up. Dabo Sweeney will have them ready to play.
This game will go back and forth between the two teams. No domination it will be a hard fought game. If there is an injury to a key player in that game it changes things tremendously. I remember the emotion of that locker room in Dallas, I am sure the Grad students, Seniors and Juniors didn’t forget about that game either. This an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past.
Score 42-40 ND
Week 10/Game 9-11/14: Notre Dame vs Boston College
It’s The Holy War! Phil Jurkovec will be the quarterback! He was the chosen one and it never worked out. He will rally Boston College. Regardless this game comes after Clemson. ND either lost in a close game or ND is riding a high off of the win. BC has always given ND fights. BC is going to want to get behind Jurkovec and beat ND.
BC has a new Head Coach, Jeff Hafley. Hafley comes from OSU. BC is a young team. BC always gives ND trouble, another blue collar team that just plays ND tough. Could be a trap game depending on the outcome of the Clemson game. The offense and the defense will not allow for BC and Jurkovec to win this game despite being on the road.
Week 11 Bye-11/21
Week 12 Game 10-11/27: Notre Dame vs North Carolina
Coaching match-up of the year, other than Saban versus Smart. UNC is a special match up for Ben. He got married the weekend of the ND UNC game in 2017. The bridal was comprised of various fans. They were all trying to enjoy the game. But UNC was giving ND fits at certain points of the game. UNC will play ND tough. They have a very respectable offense and defense and only getting better. Kids want to play for Mack Brown. Ben is calling a trap game. They are touted for as an ACC contender. The winner of this game plays Clemson.
Score 28-14 ND
Coming off the bye week, it’s a Friday night game the day after Thanksgiving. UNC had the number two offense behind Clemson season and the number six defense in the ACC. A basketball school is turning into a football school. At this point the Fightin’ Irish are playing an all-in game. UNC does not play Clemson so this is very important game for tiebreakers if it comes down to that. Need to be focused on getting to the ACC Championship. This game needs to be crisp all the way around.
Score 34-10 ND
Week 13 Game 11-12/5: Syracuse vs Notre Dame
The ‘Cuse come into ND with Coach Dino Babers. We beat them up in the Shamrock Series game in 2018. Syracuse plays spoiler a lot. They have beat Clemson in the past. The play the role of underdog very well. Syracuse will not be bothered by the weather. It will be a snowy day in “The Bend” that Saturday afternoon.
Score 49-7 ND
It will be great to see if there is snowballs in the stands instead of marshmallows. The weather won’t bother Syracuse other than they play in a temperature controlled dome. They are a young offensive and defensive team It will also be Senior Night. There will be emotions in this game. But, it’s all about taking care of business at home. Need to keep the eye on the prize.
The Wrap Up
At the time this was initially written, Duke was supposed to be Game three and now they will play on December 12th as the last regular game of the season. The Fightin’ Irish will need to take destiny into their own hands and win out and play in the ACC Championship.