Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, November 18, 2016
Alex Carson, Assistant Managing Editor
Since the bye week, Notre Dame has looked like a completely different team. The defense has been one of the better units in the nation, the offense has bounced back and against Army and the special teams unit even managed to stay out of trouble. It would not surprise me to see another complete performance from the Irish this week.
But while Army is a fine opponent, Virginia Tech will be the best team Notre Dame has seen this season. The Hokies didn’t look their best the last time out, but they’re still a win over Virginia next week away from the ACC Coastal title and a likely date with Clemson — a team they can beat to win the conference title. If this were any of the 10 teams Notre Dame’s faced so far, I’d like the Irish. The Hokies, however, are simply the better team.
FINAL SCORE: Virginia Tech 31, Notre Dame 21
Zach Klonsinski, Assistant Managing Editor
It took 10 games for it to happen, but Notre Dame actually played 60 minutes of football last week. The result: a game where we actually saw the team that was capable of making a run at the College Football Playoff.
As fans have known all year, this Irish team has the talent and ability to play with just about anyone in the country. With the win over Miami, a solid game against Navy two weeks ago despite the loss and last week’s rout of the Black Knights, Notre Dame is trending up. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, is moving in the other direction after being embarrassed by Georgia Tech last week.
Look for the Irish to keep momentum rolling Saturday and come away with a Senior Day victory.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Virginia Tech 34
Marek Mazurek, Sports Editor
In weeks past, I’ve picked against Notre Dame because I didn’t believe in its ability to play a complete game on all three phases. This week, however, I’m picking against the Irish because Virginia Tech is simply better.
Notre Dame has solved many of its past troubles and has a promising freshman class that can make waves in the coming years. But for the present, a Jerod Evans-led Hokie squad will be too much for the Irish. Evans is Maxwell Award semifinalist and Bud Foster defenses are always to be feared. The Hokies are coming off their third loss of the season, but in both of their previous games following a defeat, they have utterly dominated their opponent.
That doesn’t bode well for the Irish.
FINAL SCORE: Virginia Tech 35, Notre Dame 24
Ben Padanliam, Associate Sports Editor
Last week’s “complete performance,” as head coach Brian Kelly called it, against Army has done a lot to relieve many of the concerns people had for this Irish team. But will that translate to another victory this week?
Sure, Virginia Tech has been trending downward while Notre Dame has been on the up and up, but the Hokies are still a top-level team competing for an ACC championship game berth. And quarterback Jerod Evans and receiver Isaiah Ford will be the best duo this secondary has seen so far this season.
Notre Dame is continuing to make strides, and Senior Day will give the Irish a boost. But the Hokies have proven far more consistent this season, which leads me to give them the nod in this one.
FINAL SCORE: Virginia Tech 35, Notre Dame 34
Renee Griffin, Sports Writer
Though the rout of Army was as convincing as any Irish fan could have hoped, it would be an over reaction to expect this Notre Dame team — which has yet to win two games back-to-back this season — to perform that well on a consistent basis.
With that said, Virginia Tech has shown itself to be beatable, with a loss to Georgia Tech last week and a loss to Syracuse earlier this year. The Hokies’ offensive production has decreased significantly in the past two games; the Irish don’t need to play a perfect game to snag a victory.
With confidence powering both the offense and the defense, and Senior Day and the pursuit of .500 adding extra motivation, Notre Dame will squeak out a win.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Virginia Tech 27