Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Miami
Observer Sports Writers | Thursday, October 4, 2012
The venue is pretty cool. The uniforms are very much not. The Irish offense is somewhere in between, but no one is sure quite where. If the running backs can get out to a fast start against an athletic but sloppy Miami defense, Everett Golson will have some breathing room and might just be able to find his stride. If that happens – and with the bye week, it should – Notre Dame will have a decisive upper hand.
On the other side of the ball, the Irish defense will have another test on its hands, but after it shut down both Le’Veon Bell and Denard Robinson, it’s hard to imagine it won’t be another masterful performance from Te’o, Nix and Co.
Notre Dame will pull out a solid victory for a fourth straight Shamrock Series victory. The helmets might be a disaster, but the results of the series certainly are not.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 30, Miami 20
Assistant Managing Editor
These aren’t your father’s Miami Hurricanes, but that hardly means the Irish are in for a cakewalk this weekend.
Largely considered one of the weakest teams on Notre Dame’s 2012 slate – Miami (4-1) was picked fifth in its six-team ACC division in the preseason – the Canes are 3-0 in conference play. Their only loss is a 52-13 drubbing at Kansas State in week two.
Even with last year’s flat 31-17 home loss to USC, Brian Kelly is 12-2 as a head coach after a bye week. Whether that impressive mark improves will largely hinge on the right arm of Everett Golson. The combination of a bye week and facing Miami’s defense – the Canes have surrendered over 39 points per game against teams that aren’t Bethune-Cookman – might be just what the sophomore needs to ignite the offense.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 26, Miami 21
After a two-week hiatus, it is finally time to see how Notre Dame reacts to a top-10 rating. Three straight games against Big Ten opponents saw the Irish defense shine, but that section of the schedule is over.
If the offensive unit does not figure out a formula to put points on the board, there’s no game in which the Irish are not at least somewhat vulnerable. This week, Miami’s speedy offense and a quarterback coming into his own in Stephen Morris will put the Notre Dame secondary to the test. I don’t think Notre Dame can hold the Hurricanes to single digits.
It’ll be up to Golson and the Irish running backs to have at least an average offensive game. If they can, the Irish will win. I see Riddick having a big day in a one-score Irish triumph.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 24, Miami 16
Associate Sports Editor
There are a few things that should worry the Irish this week. The biggest thing is the September momentum may be lost due to the bye week. It is a completely new month with another set of tough teams, and Miami is no exception.
Miami boasts a strong passing attack that has been relentless in recent weeks led by Stephen Morris. If the Irish defense has a weakness, it is the young secondary that has yet to face a real passing attack yet. Miami’s offense brings a balanced attack to Chicago, something that the Irish definitely don’t have.
It’s hard to say the Irish will score more than 20 points based on their recent performance, and honestly this score could be the other way around if Notre Dame looks ahead to Stanford next week.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 20, Miami 12
Associate Sports Editor
Let’s get this out there. Miami is not as good as its 4-1 record indicates. They have beat their three FBS opponents by an average of seven points while allowing more than 500 yards in each conference win.
A team that was originally slated to finish fifth in its six-team division has overachieved on its way to the top of the Coastal Division. The ‘Canes have relied on the big play and Notre Dame has stopped chunk plays in wins over Michigan and Michigan State.
Everett Golson should find his stride against the very subpar Miami defense and the Hurricanes will struggle against the stringent Irish defense that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown in 2012.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Miami 13