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Staff Predictions: Arizona State vs. Notre Dame

Observer Football Beat Writers | Thursday, October 3, 2013


I’m 0-2 in the last two weeks, so you might as well skip over this spot. Nonetheless, I’m probably looking at 0-3 because this pick could easily go either way.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham is the latest to cling to the phrase “third time is the charm.” Meanwhile, a Notre Dame loss would put the Irish at .500 six games into the season while the chants of “overrated” get increasingly louder.

Ever since the Irish scheduled Arizona State, they have been the overwhelming favorite. Yet the week of the game that honor belongs to the streaking Sun Devils, who just put up 62 points against USC. But they also gave up 41 points to the Trojans.

I expect this gfame to be high-scoring, filled with mistakes and fast-paced. Yet somehow, I expect the Irish to pull out a close one.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Arizona State 31


Assistant Managing Editor

Notre Dame finally has found its running game. George Atkinson led the way Saturday with nearly 150 yards as the Irish rolled up a season-high 220 on the ground.

Now they go up against one of the best defensive fronts in the country but one that has allowed both Stanford and USC to top the 240-yard rushing mark. Will Sutton will anchor a defense that will clog the middle, but Atkinson and Co. may find space on the perimeter.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham has told the media that this game is not as important as its conference games and that may point to the Sun Devils coming out flat early, even in a venue like AT&T Stadium.

Tommy Rees finally gets back on track after two rough weeks against a defense that has given up at least 41 points in its last two games.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, Arizona State 35


Sports Editor

I agree with Brian Kelly; the Irish defense is good enough to win out the rest of the way, even against a fairly potent Arizona State offense. 

But Notre Dame’s offense leaves me searching for answers. I believe the running game will show up against a porous Sun Devil front seven, so, to me, it comes down to Tommy Rees.

And I think he will be efficient – not even excellent – and limit the turnovers that so infamously plagued him against Oklahoma, and Notre Dame should be fine.

Rees catches a lot of heat from fans, but I think he’s better than people give him credit for. Saturday aside, this isn’t the same turnover-prone sophomore from 2011. Rees will put his three interceptions behind him and help spur the Irish to a victory in a high-scoring game.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Arizona State 28


Associate Sports Editor

The team was overhyped, its coach is under fire for his Alma Mater misstep and the sky is generally falling. Given all the drama, it is fitting Notre Dame will play in the home of the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday. 

But this is the week the Irish get back on track. Having suffered two losses already, a lot of doors are shut to this team. There are still plenty of open doors, though. A win over the Sun Devils would send the Irish into their bye week on a good note, something they could ride past USC and all the way to Stanford. A loss, on the other hand, would be devastating. Notre Dame finds a way to win in the Shamrock Series.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Arizona State 24


Sports Writer

This Notre Dame team is doing some good things and played a very solid Oklahoma team evenly for 58 minutes last week. 

But Arizona State will stretch the field with its Pac-12 speed, and this game has all the makings of a Texas shootout – the type of game the Irish are least suited for. The Irish secondary has been shaky at best all year, and Tommy Rees completed just three passes in the second half as Notre Dame attempted to come back last week.

Call it a gut instinct, a mistrust of anything associated with the Dallas Cowboys, or whatever you want, but I think Notre Dame is a 3-3 football team come Sunday.

FINAL SCORE: Arizona State 34, Notre Dame 27