Staff Predictions: Texas vs. Notre Dame
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, September 4, 2015
Greg Hadley, Editor-in-Chief
Notre Dame is favored by more than a touchdown against Texas, and most of the pregame conversation concerns the history of the two programs, not on how competitive this matchup might be.
But Notre Dame’s track record under Brian Kelly in home openers is less than stellar, last year’s blowout of Rice notwithstanding, and Texas head coach Charlie Strong has a talented squad. The Longhorns are, by consensus, a few years away from actually contending, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of surprising the Irish.
Expect Texas to scare Notre Dame early, only for the Irish to get into the swing of things in the second half and stave the Longhorns off.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 20, Texas 14
Mary Green, Assistant Managing Editor
Hot take: Brian Kelly said the atmosphere at Notre Dame Stadium will be “electric” Saturday night.
The Irish defense should be as ready to go as the crowd, fired up by the returns of KeiVarae Russell and Joe Schmidt and with a year of experience in Brian VanGorder’s defense under its belts, and it will pester Tyrone Swoopes throughout the night.
The offense, despite its strong corps of receivers, will be challenged by the Longhorns’ 3-3-5 defense, but Notre Dame’s D should be able to make enough stops to ensure the Irish don’t drop their home opener.
Justin Yoon will also get at least the first of what is sure to be many field goals for the Irish over the next four years.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 30, Texas 17
Zach Klonsinski, Sports Editor
There are so many unknowns with the Texas offense. Logic tells me this is a battle with two defenses that are probably better overall than either offense.
However, my gut tells me neither team will be sharp to begin the season and the offenses have a better chance of exploiting that. I see a few turnovers for each team but also a couple big plays, and that’s an edge I give to the Irish offense. In an at times ugly, at others exciting, start to the season, Notre Dame escapes with a win over the visiting Longhorns. Look for C.J. Prosise to make a name for himself in the Irish backfield.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 31, Texas 21
Alex Carson, Associate Sports Editor
Texas is the type of team that’s fully capable of causing some problems on the opening day of the season. They’re not as bad as their 6-7 mark last year would suggest, and the new-look offense will throw the Irish defense a couple of looks they’re not ready for.
The Longhorns will be the best team a Brian Kelly-coached Irish squad has faced in its opener, which should provide pause for Notre Dame.
But at the end of the day, a lot of Texas’ high-end potential is young, and this Notre Dame squad is most certainly not. It’ll be a close game, but I’m not sure Irish fans will ever think their team is headed for the loss column — a fourth-quarter scoring drive should seal this game.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Texas 21
Brian Plamondon, Sports Writer
This week, Brian Kelly talked about the immense talent that is Tarean Folston. Part of the discussion, however, centered on how Folston has been slow out of the gates the last two seasons. That cannot be the case this week with the Irish breaking in a new quarterback; Notre Dame should rely on Folston to carry the load early and often against a solid Longhorn defensive line. If the Irish running game sputters, we’ll truly see what Zaire is made of.
On the other side of the ball, look for quarterback Tyrone Swoopes to struggle agains Brian VanGorder’s blitz packages.
At the end of the day, this is Notre Dame’s game to lose — as always, though, the outcome won’t be decided until the fourth quarter.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 24, Texas 14