Predictions: Notre Dame at Texas
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, September 2, 2016
Alex Carson, Assistant Managing Editor
Is Notre Dame’s defense good enough to keep the Irish comfortably ahead, or will Texas put up enough points to keep chase with the Irish offense? For me, that’s the question that determines this game.
Like last year, when the Irish defensive line racked up four sacks against the Longhorns, I think they’ll do this job. At the core of it, though, Texas still isn’t a particularly great football team, and the Irish will have more talent than the Longhorns at most positions.
College football, and especially season-opening college football, can always produce weird results. Remember South Carolina beating North Carolina last year?
But Sunday won’t be one of those results. It won’t be 38-3 again, but the Irish really won’t struggle in their first true road-game opener in 10 years.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Texas 13
Zach Klonsinski, Assistant Managing Editor
A lot of points surrounding this game seem to favor Texas: It’s a Sunday night season-opener in Austin with the Longhorns out for revenge after the embarrassment in South Bend to start last season, and the Irish are distracted.
Once the teams are actually on the field, though, Sunday night belongs to the Irish.
Notre Dame fans may gripe about Brian Kelly’s decision with the quarterback situation, but any combination of DeShone Kizer-Malik Zaire handily trumps Texas’ Tyrone Swoopes-Shane Buechele duo. While Texas has young talent and is on its way back to prominence, Notre Dame is a more complete team at this point, and it’ll show.
The score will be closer than the game will feel, but the Irish will be 1-0 charging onto the Notre Dame Stadium turf next weekend against Nevada.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Texas 27
Marek Mazurek, Sports Editor
With the recent slew of off-the-field issues, the Irish are itching to get back on the field. And when they do, they’ll be ready.
The arrests turned focus away from the odd quarterback situation, and now the team isn’t thinking about who’s under center: They’re thinking about how to show the world they can move on from the events of the last two weeks. Texas will be better than last year — there’s no denying that — but Charlie Strong’s team has quarterback uncertainties of its own, and both Kizer and Zaire can put on a show offensively. With Tarean Folston back, Texas is in for a rough night defensively.
Look for the young Irish secondary to give up some big plays, but Notre Dame will return from Austin with a win.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 27, Texas 20
Ben Padanilam, Associate Sports Editor
Notre Dame went into the offseason with a lot of question marks on both sides of the field. Yet, as Sunday night in Austin approaches, it seems as though this talent-laden Irish squad has created more questions than answers the last few weeks. There’s no clear answer at quarterback, and now there are leadership concerns following the six recent arrests.
That’s not to say Texas doesn’t have questions of its own. But don’t let last year’s score fool you; the Longhorns are a much better team this time around.
There are a lot of reasons to pick the home team in this one. Yet, I still think the more talented Irish squeak this one out.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Texas 31
Renee Griffin, Sports Writer
A loss at Texas would be a catastrophic start to the season. The Longhorns do have the talent and the coaching to engineer an upset over the Irish, who despite high expectations are as unstable as ever with no clear leader under center and a shallow secondary further depleted by the arrest of its top safety.
Yet Texas has its issues as well. The first game of the year is too soon to expect the Longhorns to master a new offensive system, especially considering their own lack of certainty at quarterback. Ultimately, Notre Dame’s offense, however headless it may be, will score enough to overcome the deficiencies of its defense and carry the team to 1-0.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Texas 24