Predictions: Northwestern vs. Notre Dame
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, November 13, 2014
Senior Sports Writer
A week after the so-called “debacle in the desert,” Notre Dame has a chance to spit out the bitter taste left in its mouth from the loss to Arizona State.
Expect Everett Golson to bounce back with a clean — if not necessarily spectacular — performance. The Irish will move the ball without much trouble against the Northwestern defense.
On the other side, the Wildcats must find a way to sustain drives against Brian VanGorder’s defense. Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian found success in the Wildcats’ last two drives Saturday against Michigan, but Siemian won’t strike much fear in the eyes of the Irish defense, even with freshman middle linebacker Nyles Morgan.
The Irish will get back on track in a big way.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, Northwestern 17
After last Saturday’s barrage of turnovers, a game against Northwestern might be the remedy Notre Dame needs.
Well, partially, at least.
Despite its 3-6 record, Northwestern’s defense hasn’t been too bad overall — the Wildcats actually rank 30th nationally in scoring defense.
On the other hand, Northwestern’s offense has been dreadful, particularly recently. The Wildcats haven’t scored more than 20 points since September.
That statistic spells good news for the Notre Dame defense, which has been under siege recently. The Irish should be able to push through Northwestern’s offensive line and get to Trevor Siemian often.
That should give Notre Dame enough of a cushion to come out with a comfortable win, even if Everett Golson makes a mistake or two.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Northwestern 14
Assistant Managing Editor
Turnovers, whoever’s fault they may be, have dogged the Irish this season, and they did again last Saturday.
Northwestern doesn’t have the pass rush or powerful defense line to create a frenzy like Arizona State did, so Notre Dame should have a better chance to hang onto the ball.
Northwestern will be aggressive, as head coach Pat Fitzgerald proved last week with his adventurous two-point conversion call, but the Wildcats’ offense has been largely anemic. Look for Notre Dame’s defense to shut down Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian.
Everett Golson and the Irish should be able to outscore Northwestern by a large margin.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 42, Northwestern 10
Assistant Managing Editor
The Irish may not have a shot at the playoffs, but they still have a lot to improve upon, beginning with Northwestern.
The Wildcats are in the top 20 for takeaways in college football with 17 total, which means Everett Golson cannot think his job of taking care of the ball will be any easier. Yes, Golson will move the ball against a porous Northwestern defense; however, as seen last week, total yardage does not matter at the end of the game.
The Irish offensive line will need to drastically improve, defense will need to tighten up and special teams will need to be more consistent. Although the Wildcats are struggling, Notre Dame needs to prove it that it will not play to its opponent’s level in order to start to regain its credibility.
The Irish will do just that.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 48, Northwestern 20
Notre Dame’s hopes for a national championship may have been dashed after last week’s loss, but the team will still look to finish the season on a high note, which begins with the Irish collecting a win over Northwestern on Saturday.
Everett Golson took much of the blame for last Saturday’s performance, which included five turnovers. With that mentality, Golson will rebound this week and let it fly against the nation’s 43rd-ranked passing defense.
The Wildcats won’t have any better luck stopping a surging Tarean Folston, whose 99.7 yards over the past three games stack up well against the 164 rushing yards Northwestern gives up each week on average.
The Irish defense — which did a solid job Saturday despite Arizona State’s 55 points — won’t yield enough points this week for Northwestern to overcome Notre Dame’s offensive firepower.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Northwestern 17