Predictions: Notre Dame at NC State
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, October 7, 2016
Alex Carson, Assistant Managing Editor
Contrary to what many might think, Notre Dame played its best game of the season — on both sides of the ball — a week ago against Syracuse. Facing a difficult task, a young Irish defense did more than enough for the win. Though schemes may continue to evolve given the opposition, that result provides a blueprint moving forward as Notre Dame heads to Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend.
Whether or not the weather plays a part remains to be seen, but there’s no use predicting its impact — no team is built with inclement weather in mind.
I expect continued improvement from the Irish defense this week, and that’ll be enough to get things done against a prototypical N.C. State team — solid, but not great.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, N.C. State 21
Zach Klonsinski, Assistant Managing Editor
Will weather be a factor this weekend? Absolutely.
Has DeShone Kizer proven he can play through it? Yes.
In Notre Dame’s run-in with a hurricane last year, Kizer threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s loss to Clemson in Death Valley. It should have been more too, because the Irish receiving corps accounted for well over 100 yards in dropped passes.
There is plenty of reason for concern about Notre Dame’s questionable production running the ball and the ever-present questions about the defense this year, but the bottomline is if Kizer can play well, Notre Dame is going to put up points. It’s been a simple formula so far.
N.C. State’s balanced offense will score too, but if the Irish defense can recapture the energy it played with in the second half against Syracuse, the game is winnable.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, N.C. State 34
Marek Mazurek, Sports Editor
Well, I’m not sure what we learned from last Saturday’s game.
Equanimeous St. Brown can catch and Kizer can throw but we knew that already. The young Irish defense got even younger as Kelly reached even deeper into his depth chart in the secondary.
If Kizer and Co. put up 50 points again N.C. State will be no problem. But Hurricane Matthew has other plans. The Irish, last year in Death Valley, proved they couldn’t handle the rain and that was with upperclassmen at the skill positions. With young receivers and running backs abound look for fumbles.
In the end, the Wolfpack’s power running game is too strong to overcome. The Irish will lose yet another close game this season.
FINAL SCORE: N.C. State 35, Notre Dame 28
Ben Padanilam, Associate Sports Editor
Last Saturday was a tale of two halves for the Irish defense. In the first half, it allowed 27 points and 319 yards, but held Syracuse to just six points and 170 yards in the second half.
Which defense will come to play against N.C. State?
Notre Dame’s offense showed both its ability to be explosive and methodical Saturday, and I expect more of the same this Saturday.
And N.C. State has been good, but not overly impressive during its 3-1 start given it’s played just one game against a Power-5 team.
Weather will be a factor, but it will ultimately have a neutral effect. And the Irish defense will show up just enough to secure a win for Notre Dame.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, N.C. State 24
Renee Griffin, Sports Writer
Taking its production in the first four games at face value, N.C. State’s offense, and run game in particular, should be perfectly able to exploit the holes that had been gaping in the Irish defense until the second half at MetLife Stadium last week.
However, Notre Dame at its worst this season is probably still better than any opponent the Wolfpack has faced so far.
Yes, weather will be a factor, but most likely, it will simply make the game’s score lower overall rather than preventing Notre Dame specifically from scoring.
This game might get sloppy, but if the defense is able to build on anything from last week, Notre Dame will at last be able to reach .500.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, N.C. State 27