Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Army
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, November 11, 2016
Alex Carson, Assistant Managing Editor
Saturday might be Army’s last chance at securing bowl eligibility. With a second FCS opponent on the horizon, and the Army-Navy Game coming after bowl selections are typically made, the Black Knights could need a victory to play postseason football for just the second time this millennium.
Logic says that, after a one-point loss to Navy a week ago, that the Irish should be good enough to at least squeeze out a win over Army this week. But while the Black Knights still aren’t quite on par with their service academy brethren at Navy and Air Force, they’re still a better-than-normal unit. Their wins over Temple and Wake Forest are nothing to scoff at, and if the Irish continue to make things hard for themselves, they won’t win the game.
Remember that point about logic? It’s had little place, for better or worse, in Notre Dame’s season thus far.
FINAL SCORE: Army 35, Notre Dame 31
Zach Klonsinski, Assistant Managing Editor
Yes, Army runs a very similar triple-option attack to Navy, who used it to completely control the game against Notre Dame last week.
However, the Black Knights are not as efficient as their Midshipmen counterparts with the ball, and Notre Dame was (once again) one play away from coming away with the victory this week.
Expect another classic, grinding game against the triple option at the Alamo Dome, but Notre Dame should stay out of its way enough to get another victory. It shouldn’t be as ugly as Miami, but that’s not outside the realm of possibility with this year’s team.
Notre Dame’s defensive execution has been sloppy all year, but the talent it has on that side of the ball should be able to contain Army just enough to come away on top.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Army 24
Marek Mazurek, Sports Editor
The good news: Notre Dame scored on 83 percent of its possessions last Saturday in its game against Navy. The bad news: the Irish only had six possessions.
If Notre Dame has any chance to beat Army, it has to find a way to get the ball more than six times. That either means quicker scores on offense or better defense. Both options are open to the Irish.
Any time Equanimeous St. Brown and Kevin Stepherson step on the field, the deep ball is there for the Irish. And while Army also runs the triple option, they aren’t a top-25 team like Navy.
Ultimately, the Irish will perform better in their second week against the option and against a less-talented team. Notre Dame maintains an undefeated record in the Shamrock series.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Army 24
Ben Padanilam, Associate Sports Editor
While Notre Dame’s offense was efficient in the loss to Navy, the defense struggled to get off the field, particularly in the most crucial moments of last week’s first try at defending the triple option.
Now, after a second-straight week of preparation, the Irish get to face Army’s configuration of the option attack. Army is not a team to be underestimated, as it holds a winning record, averages more rushing yards per game than Navy and holds respectable wins over Temple and Wake Forest.
But the seeing the option the previous week will help. And while the Irish haven’t always played up to their talent level, the significant advantage they have over Army should give them the edge they need.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Army 21
Renee Griffin, Sports Writer
Army’s offense is just like Navy’s, except not quite as good. That bodes well for the Irish, who did a decent (albeit not sufficient) job of containing the Midshipmen despite having so many young players seeing the triple option for the first time.
The Black Knights arguably have a better defense than the Midshipmen, but DeShone Kizer and his receiving corps have had little trouble against defenses that are even stronger.
The Irish know that they have to take advantage of whatever possessions they get — probably more than six this time, as long as the defense gets off the field at least a couple times on fourth down.
That should be enough to get Notre Dame the win.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Army 21