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Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Georgia

| Friday, September 8, 2017

Irish junior running back Dexter Williams eludes a defender and looks upfield during Notre Dame’s 49-16 win over Temple at Notre Dame Stadium. Williams had 124 yards on just six carries and one touchdown.Monica Villagomez Mendez | The Observer

Irish junior running back Dexter Williams eludes a defender and looks upfield during Notre Dame’s 49-16 win over Temple at Notre Dame Stadium. Williams had 124 yards on just six carries and one touchdown.

Ben Padanilam — Editor-in-Chief

Notre Dame looked good against Temple on Saturday. The offense ran for 422 yards en route to a 49-point outburst, and the defense didn’t break too much, holding the Owls to 16 points.

But some of that has to be attributed to how poor the Owls looked as well. The secondary had its fair share of hiccups the Owls couldn’t capitalize on, and Justin Yoon’s inability to put a field goal through the uprights was concerning.

Georgia, meanwhile, returns its entire front seven from last year and perhaps the best backfield tandem in college football. The Irish offense against the Bulldogs defense will be a true test of strength against strength.

With all things being equal, it will come down to coaching. Brian Kelly’s record against top-15 squads in the last five seasons? 4-10.

FINAL SCORE: Georgia 28, Notre Dame 24

Marek Mazurek — Assistant Managing Editor

As the famous saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

That definition applies to Brian Kelly in games against ranked opponents. Kelly is 4-10 against top-15 opponents in the past five seasons. If Notre Dame wants to get back to the glory days of 1988, its performance in big matchups is the most glaring overall issue it must rectify.

Seeing is believing, and Kelly has to prove he can win big matchups before fans should get their hopes up.

Watch for Georgia to dominate the time of possession with an excellent backfield and grind out a close win.

FINAL SCORE: Georgia 31, Notre Dame 24

Elizabeth Greason — Sports Editor

Notre Dame will ride the momentum from last week’s win into the Georgia matchup without issue. Sure, Georgia is one of the strongest teams the Irish will face this season — it has two of the best running backs in the country and one of the top, most experienced front sevens you’ll ever see.

But the Irish have one of the best, if not the best, offensive lines in the NCAA, and their running game was stellar against the Owls.

Granted, Temple was not a good team, and the Bulldogs might be a great one. But this is Notre Dame’s chance to prove it has left last year in the past — and it will do so. It will be a close one, with inexperienced, but talented, quarterbacks on either side of the ball — and the Irish will come out on top.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 24, Georgia 20

Tobias Hoonhout — Associate Sports Editor

Yes, Georgia has two incredible running backs. Yes, its defense is deep and talented. But there are still cracks in the Bulldog’s facade. Georgia will field a relatively inexperienced offensive line and a quarterback making his first career start in arguably the biggest game at Notre Dame Stadium in the last year-and-a -half.

This is the perfect chance for the Irish to prove they’ve finally escaped their demons. A loss, however, and suddenly the subsequent two-game road trip looks a lot more treacherous. While I have no doubt this one will be a nail-biter, I just have a feeling that Team 129 is itching to prove that Notre Dame is back.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Georgia 30

Daniel O’Boyle — Sports Writer

Against Temple, the Irish proved that they were far from last year’s disaster.

The Irish offense looked great in junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush’s first start, and the defense was vastly improved from 2016.

But Georgia is a great team, too, with the best tandem of running backs in the country, a vastly experienced front seven and a quarterback who looked very impressive in his first game. A return to form for the Irish doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better than the Bulldogs, even with home-field advantage on their side.

While both teams bring strong run games, Georgia’s looks just a little more reliable for consistent first-down pickups than Notre Dame’s big-play-threatening attack. That might just make the difference.

FINAL SCORE: Georgia 31, Notre Dame 28

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