Coming off a convincing win against Pittsburgh, the Irish are back on the road to take on the 2-4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this Saturday. Will this mark Notre Dame’s sixth win on the season? I sure hope so. But when it comes to the score predictions, I’m about ready to give up. Last week’s performance against the Panthers was back up to what we as Irish fans wanted, so can we get a similar output this week as well? That is something that time will soon tell. With the game taking place on Halloween, let’s hope that it’s not a scare fest. It’s time for the Irish to keep the momentum rolling.
Notre Dame fans can expect to see the Yellow Jacket’s offense being led by dual-threat Freshman quarterback, Jeff Sims. Sims will be joined in the backfield with another Freshman, running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Both Sims and Gibbs are going to be two of the more explosive and athletic players that the Irish defense will face this year and could have the capability of causing some problems for Notre Dame’s defense. Although both of these Yellow Jackets are extremely talented, the Georgia Tech offensive line has been less than stellar throughout this year. When it comes to the Irish defense taking on this task on Saturday, I’m confident in Clark Lea’s leadership on that side of the ball. Notre Dame’s defense has been the backbone of this year’s team and I don’t expect that to change very much. Both Sims and Gibbs can definitely be threats if they are given the space; their open field speed is that of some of the most elite players. Gibbs was actually ranked very closely to Notre Dame’s Chris Tyree coming out of high school so it will be imperative for the Irish to contain him.
On the offensive side of the ball, some unfortunate news came out of last week’s win against Pittsburgh. Both Braden Lenzy and Kevin Austin sustained injuries – each to different extents. Lenzy has been ruled out for at least the next two weeks with a nagging hamstring injury while Austin re-broke his foot and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season. In a receiving corps that has already been riddled with injuries, these are two playmakers that we really do not want to see out. The positive for this weekend is that Georgia Tech’s defense has not proven to be the greatest either. This Yellow Jacket’s defense is giving up an average of just over 41 points per game and got gashed by Clemson two weeks ago for 73 points. Yes, 73 points in a football game, yikes. What worries me about that is the comparisons that will inevitably be made after this game. I can hear the critics now saying “Clemson put up 73 on Georgia Tech and Notre Dame only scored (fill in the blank)”. I simply don’t think that’s a valid comparison and as long as the Irish offense can build on their performance from last week, we will be ready for the most anticipated game of the season when Clemson comes to town the following week.
Offensively, I expect a big week for the Irish ground game. Behind the dominance of the offensive line, I think that Kyren Williams and the rest of the Irish back will see some good space on the field and be able to find their way to the end zone multiple times. If last week was any indicator of Notre Dame’s passing game progress, then the Irish need to continue to utilize the space, speed, and talent at the receiver and tight end positions to stretch the field. Ian Book was able to put up over 300 yards in the air against Pittsburgh and being able to keep up that production will not only allow for the Irish to put points on the board, but will also open up many other facets of the offense. A measure of success this week will be Book continuing to dial in the downfield passing game. If the Irish can put together two weeks in a row of efficient passing games, I think that will put them into a good state of mind before entering the Clemson game. I know, I’ve mentioned the following week’s match up multiple times already and I apologize; I don’t want to be the one that’s caught looking ahead. The Irish need to take care of business this week and not do the same. The Yellow Jacket’s record may not be eye-catching but overlooking any opponent can be detrimental to the season’s end goal.
With all that being said, I still have zero confidence in my score predicting ability. Do I try and predict something accurate or do I go with the complete opposite so that the Irish out perform my expectations? I honestly don’t know….I’m going to predict what I think is “accurate” and we will see how that turns out. I would love to see a 38-13 Notre Dame victory. I think the game will be closer throughout the first half but Notre Dame’s overall talent will prevail in the end. It’s not time to overlook this opponent. The Irish need to rack up their sixth win of the season and carry that momentum into the following weeks. Go Irish. Beat Yellow Jackets.