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Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Connecticut

| Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bill Brink, Managing Editor

I don’t believe determination, senior day excitement or the hope of hearing the Victory Clog one last time will factor into Saturday’s result. Notre Dame needs preparation and execution, two things it hasn’t had in recent weeks. Preparation to utilize its weapons and execution to slow a talented UConn run game. Notre Dame has shown itself to be a team that wins ugly. The Irish will win this one ugly too. They’ll get run on, the offense will splutter and the run game will be under-utilized, but the Irish have too much talent not to click. Golden’s a known commodity. Michael Floyd, Armando Allen and Theo Riddick make the difference in this game and the seniors chow down on leftover marshmallows as they celebrate one last win (barely).

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 16, Connecticut 13

Michael Bryan, Associate Sports Editor

I think it’s going to take another fourth-quarter comeback for the Irish to beat Connecticut, but I think this week they pull it off. Notre Dame hasn’t looked prepared and had a strong first quarter in weeks, and there’s no reason to think it will happen again this week. This game should be a lot like the Boston College game, with the defense selling out against the run and forcing Zach Frazer to beat them in his return to Notre Dame. The Irish defense will give up some big plays, but Clausen and Tate will come up with some highlights of their own at the end. It will be another ugly game, but the Irish are too talented to play to play two bad halves against the Huskies.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 28, Connecticut 24

Matt Gamber, Sports Editor

In two weeks, it’s gone from hard to predict a blowout Irish victory to hard to predict any Irish victory. It was no secret all year that Notre Dame was a flawed team, but since the Navy loss, it seems like those flaws have been exposed at an incredible rate. That being said, I think the last two weeks serve as a wake-up call for a tightly-knit Irish team that wants to send its seniors out on a high note. Notre Dame won’t play a perfect game, and chances are both defenses will look clueless against opposing offenses with big-time playmakers. It probably won’t be pretty, but for a group of seniors that has had a rough go of it over the last three years, that victory lap around Notre Dame Stadium will be sweet nonetheless.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Connecticut 27

Sam Werner, Associate Sports Editor

Given the recent history of both these teams, this game should be a high-scoring one. Notre Dame will be challenged to stop Connecticut’s two-headed rushing attack of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon. Fortunately, Notre Dame should be able to sell out and stop the run, daring former Irish quarterback Zach Frazer to beat them with his arm. Even though the Notre Dame secondary has struggled this season, Frazer has thrown seven interceptions to only four touchdowns. To win, the Irish will have to get up early and prevent the Huskies from running the ball down their throats. I’m not very confident, but Notre Dame just has too much talent to let this one get away, especially on senior day.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Connecticut 30