Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Arizona State
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, November 6, 2014
Senior Sports Writer
Tempe looks perfectly primed for a Notre Dame slip-up.
With Joe Schmidt lost for the season and an improved Arizona State season, the Sun Devils could be favored at home in front a crowd looking to prove ESPN wrong for bypassing the spot for “College GameDay.”
But ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly hasn’t looked like himself in the last two games since returning from a broken foot while Everett Golson continues to roll. There will be offensive playmakers aplenty in the desert coupled with young, aggressive defenses.
It will be close, just like last year.
But Golson will carry the Irish to a marquee victory, an 8-1 record and, most importantly, a rise in the College Football Playoff rankings.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Arizona State 27
One thing is for sure about this Saturday’s game — there will be a lot of points.
Both teams possess high-powered offenses led by dual-threat quarterbacks and quick receivers. And they both have aggressive defenses that at times have struggled to match such potent offenses.
Although the two teams look pretty close on paper, I have to give a slight edge to Notre Dame. Simply put, the Irish offense has been rolling the last few weeks, and the emergence of Tarean Folston is not what Arizona State’s sub-par rush defense would like to see.
The Irish do lose quite a bit with Joe Schmidt out, but Nyles Morgan should make up for his lack of experience with his athleticism.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Arizona State 34
Assistant Managing Editor
Notre Dame and Arizona State have a lot to lose or gain.
The Sun Devils leaped over the Irish this week to No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings with Notre Dame remaining at No. 10. Both teams have 7-1 records and cling to the fringes of the top four and a playoff berth.
On Saturday, both teams will be scrapping to keep those playoff hopes alive.
The Sun Devils have beaten Utah — No. 17 in the playoff rankings — but were clubbed by No. 18 UCLA, 62-27.
Notre Dame has yet to defeat a team still in the rankings. But the loss to Florida State proved the Irish could hang with anyone, and they will do so against Arizona State.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 28, Arizona State 24
Assistant Managing Editor
The matchup against Arizona State is the biggest game remaining for the Irish. It is their last opportunity to prove they should be put in the mix for the College Football Playoff, especially after the playoff committee selected ASU to jump Notre Dame as the No. 9 team.
Both defenses are quick and aggressive, and dynamic quarterbacks lead both offenses. But Taylor Kelly has not put up his usual numbers, especially in the rushing category, since he returned from a three-game hiatus with a broken foot. Notre Dame looks to have the slight edge with Golson controlling things.
Ultimately, Notre Dame will triumph over the Sun Devils.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, ASU 34
Three weeks ago, Notre Dame nearly upset the No. 2 team in the country.
One week ago, the Irish lost a second-half lead to Navy in what should have been a blowout.
If one thing’s for certain, it’s that Notre Dame has played to the level of its opponents since its Oct. 4 matchup against Stanford.
Fortunately for the Irish, they face the nation’s No. 9 team this week.
Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong creates a matchup nightmare for opponents with his 6-foot-3 frame, and the Sun Devils boast an above-average rushing game, led by D.J. Foster.
However, Notre Dame stepped up to go toe-to-toe with Florida State until the very end. Arizona State will be a challenge but not one big enough to stop the Irish.
Notre Dame 34, Arizona State 28