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Staff predictions: Notre Dame vs. Virginia

| Friday, September 11, 2015

Greg Hadley, Editor-in-Chief

The strongest part of Virginia’s defense is supposed to be its secondary, and UCLA’s true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen torched the Cavaliers last week. Malik Zaire should have no problem doing the same, especially if he remains as accurate as he was against Texas.

With the loss of Tarean Folston, the run game is obviously an area of concern for the Irish, but under C.J. Prosise, it should be enough this week to set up the passing game.

Notre Dame’s defense will clean up against Virginia, whose offense is only marginally more competent than Texas’s. With the rust of injuries and layoffs busted, players like Joe Schmidt and Jarrett Grace will be all over the place. The Cavs won’t make it into the red zone or onto the scoreboard until this game is well in hand for the Irish.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Virginia 7

Mary Green, Assistant Managing Editor

The Irish will take their first trip to the Commonwealth of Virginia this weekend, and they won’t leave Charlottesville with a loss.

Malik Zaire may not be able to keep up the production and consistency he showcased against Texas last week, but he and his talented receiving corps shouldn’t struggle too much this week against a Virginia defense that allowed over 350 passing yards to UCLA on Saturday, even with a defensive backs unit anchored by Quin Blanding.

There’s no doubt Texas brought a struggling offense to South Bend last week, but credit also goes to the overall front-to-back strength of the Irish defense, which should have a similarly lockdown performance against a Cavaliers offense that generated just one score against the Bruins.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 37, Virginia 10

Zach Klonsinski, Sports Editor

So I was sort of right about last week: The game wasn’t that sloppy, there were big plays made (even Texas had one bomb to set up its only score of the game), and C.J. Prosise made a name for himself in the backfield, albeit for unforeseen reasons.

I just abominably underestimated Notre Dame’s defense.

Now that we have a sample size, though, expect more of the same against the Cavaliers this weekend: Prosise and Josh Adams following the big boys up front and opening up the play-action game for Zaire again. The Cavaliers’ offense isn’t quite the catastophe of the Longhorns’, but it’s not exactly high-powered either.

My hesitation this time around is it’s the season’s first road test, but I owe the team a little more faith this week.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Virginia 17

Alex Carson, Associate Sports Editor

At the end of the day, there’s probably not too much of a talent difference between Virginia and Texas — both are at a far inferior spot to Notre Dame at this point in time. Of course, going on the road is always more difficult than playing at home, but that’s really the only thing that should give Irish fans cause for concern heading into this one.

UCLA true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen burned the Cavaliers defense for 351 yards and three scores last week, and I’m not sure Virginia will do a much better job against Malik Zaire and the Irish offense this week. Another strong defensive performance from Notre Dame should help see this game sealed up by the end of the third quarter.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Virginia 10

Brian Plamondon, Sports Writer

In what may turn out to be a surprise to all who follow Notre Dame football, Virginia might end up being a superior opponent to Texas — but still not enough to make this a close game. The Cavaliers will be playing hard for hot-seat candidate Mike London, but the talent gap between the two teams is just too immense.

If UCLA’s true freshman quarterback can pick apart a supposed above-average Virginia secondary, Malik Zaire should have no trouble replicating his Texas performance. Still, look for Notre Dame to run the ball early to see what it truly has at the position before Georgia Tech comes to town.

Notre Dame has never been a team to put up 50 points, but look for another convincing win nonetheless.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Virginia 13

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