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Staff Predictions: Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame

| Thursday, September 17, 2015

Greg Hadley, Editor-in-Chief

This is it for the Irish. A win here against a top-15 opponent means their playoff hopes extend beyond Malik Zaire. A loss at home once more to a triple-option offense ends the run before it begins and could foreshadow another 8-5 season for Brian Kelly.

Georgia Tech will score plenty Saturday. The Yellow Jackets won’t put up 60 points as they did in their first two games, but the Irish defense will tire at some point against one of the nation’s most challenging, explosive offenses.

What the game will come down to is DeShone Kizer and the Notre Dame offense. From the very first series, the Irish will need to put points of the board on practically every drive. Expect C.J. Prosise to take on an expanded role and keep Notre Dame alive through sheer force of will.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 30, Georgia Tech 28

Mary Green, Assistant Managing Editor

Brian Kelly indicated Notre Dame’s experience defending the triple option against Navy will help it against Georgia Tech, or at least he said some experience is better than none at all.

That might be true, but when the Irish play Navy, they aren’t lining up against a 366-lb. offensive lineman or receivers taken in the first rounds of the NFL Draft. Notre Dame also doesn’t normally bring a quarterback starting his first career game into the matchup. DeShone Kizer might have a week of practicing with the first team under his belt, but he will have to outscore a Georgia Tech offense that’s averaged 55.7 points over its last 10 games.

That will be too tough a task for both the Irish defense and their quarterback — you can’t throw bombs to Will Fuller on every play.

FINAL SCORE: Georgia Tech 31, Notre Dame 24

Zach Klonsinski, Sports Editor

It’s hard to believe how much of a U-turn this season’s expectations have already taken in the minds of many. DeShone Kizer isn’t quite Malik Zaire, but he does have tools of his own.

Of course, if the defense has another day like it did against the Cavaliers, it might not matter how well Kizer plays. The triple-option offense never ceases to impress when it’s well-executed.

However, the Irish defense will play insulted against the Yellow Jackets after its performance last week and the added pressure it will be under this week. Look for the rest of the team to come out extra determined, too.

In his first game as a starter, Kizer and the Irish reaffirm themselves as having at least an outside chance at a playoff spot.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 27, Georgia Tech 17

Alex Carson, Associate Sports Editor

We’ve seen the troubles Notre Dame has had stopping Navy’s triple-option offense over the last two years, and Georgia Tech runs the system better and more efficiently than the Midshipmen do. They suffocate time of possession and pose problem after problem for defenses with their unique scheme.

If the defense struggles, it means the game will be put on the shoulders of the offense, and most specifically the offensive line, a unit that struggled mightily on third down a week ago. DeShone Kizer will carry confidence into this affair after the game-winning drive at Virginia, but at the end of the day, this game comes down to Notre Dame’s ability to stop the triple option. And until I see it with my eyes, I can’t be convinced they’ll do it.

FINAL SCORE: Georgia Tech 45, Notre Dame 27

Brian Plamondon, Sports Writer

Last week, I wasn’t wrong about Notre Dame’s talent or Virginia’s mediocrity — I simply forgot to factor in how lousy the Irish are on the road lately, no matter who they are playing.

This week at home should be a different story. Even with a young quarterback, the Irish should still find a way to put points on the board. With weapons like Will Fuller and C.J. Prosise, it’s hard not to.

The defense will be a different story. Although I expect Notre Dame to play smarter than last week, their troubles against the run all stemmed from plays outside the tackles — a common feature of the spread option.

The Irish will hang tough at Notre Dame Stadium down four starters, but I don’t see Kizer with late heroics this time.

FINAL SCORE: Georgia Tech 27, Notre Dame 24

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