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Staff Predictions: Miami (FL)

| Friday, November 10, 2017

Chris Collins | The Observer
Irish junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush escapes pressure during Notre Dame’s 35-14 win over North Carolina State on Oct. 28 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Ben Padanilam — Editor-in-Chief

A top-10 matchup between two historic programs with Playoff implications and College GameDay on site. It has all the makings of a great game.

But I’m not quite sure it will live up to that expectation.

Everyone can be as concerned as they want about Notre Dame’s 37 points allowed last week, but the reality is the Irish led 41-16 with two minutes left in the third quarter — a comfortable lead which only dwindled because the Irish took their foot off the pedal.

And yes, the Hurricanes played their best game of the season last week, but their inconsistencies throughout this year — narrow 24-20 and 24-19 wins over Florida State and North Carolina, respectively, serving as evidence of that — lead me to believe they won’t have the mental toughness to carry that play forward.

The Irish, meanwhile, proved they can dominate on a weekly basis with their consecutive wins over USC and North Carolina State. So I expect them to win this one more comfortably than some would expect.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Miami (FL) 23


Marek Mazurek — Assistant Managing Editor

No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Miami. It doesn’t get much better than that for college football.

For the first time in a long time, both teams have very real Playoff hopes and a lot of NFL talent.

Ultimately, this game will be decided by turnovers. Notre Dame’s offensive line should be good enough to bully Miami’s athletic, but smaller, defensive front, and Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush seems to have taken a step forward in his passing accuracy. But if Wimbush doesn’t secure the ball when he runs, or if he throws an interception or two, Notre Dame will be in trouble.

Similarly, if the Irish defense — which is looking to reassert itself after last week’s Wake Forest game — turns the Hurricanes over, it will be a long night for Miami.

Notre Dame gets the victory in that turnover battle and, thus, the game.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, Miami (FL) 31


Elizabeth Greason — Sports Editor

In a Catholics vs. Convicts matchup of old, this Saturday’s nighttime showdown should live up to the College GameDay-worthy hype.

With a pair of offenses that rely on big plays to score quickly and duo of turnover-minded defenses — the Hurricanes have come up with 20 turnovers so far this season, with the Irish only one behind them at 19 — the teams’ strengths are similarly matched. However, slowing the Notre Dame run game — whether that comes through Josh Adams or one of the three running backs ready to go behind him — poses a task few have even come close to doing yet. And Brandon Wimbush’s ability to protect the football in the passing game should prevent that gaudy Miami turnover chain from moving around too much.

The squads’ defensive strengths will prevent a shootout, but Notre Dame should be able to limit the Hurricanes’ time of possession to take home the win, assuming it can stave off the signature big Miami scoring play.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 35, Miami (FL) 21


Tobias Hoonhout — Associate Sports Editor

Catholics vs. Convicts is back.

Notre Dame and Miami are set to play in a top-10 matchup for the first time since 1990, and this has all the makings of the games of old.

Both Brian Kelly and Mark Richt have turned their programs around after disappointing seasons last year, and with the Playoff implications in this game, it could be the defining regular season win for both programs this year.

On paper, the Irish match up decently well against the talented Hurricanes and will definitely not be as sloppy defensively as they were against Wake Forest last weekend. But South Beach won’t be as friendly as South Bend. Miami arguably has just as much, if not more, to play for as Notre Dame, and I just have a bad feeling about this one.

FINAL SCORE: Miami (FL) 30, Notre Dame 27


Daniel O’Boyle — Sports Writer

This game has drawn comparisons to 1988’s legendary matchup for good reason.

It’s not just that both the Irish and the Hurricanes are ranked in the top 10 with College Football Playoff hopes on the line for both teams. Notre Dame has found incredible success with its commitment to an option-heavy run game, while Miami brings not only athleticism on defense, but also a swagger reminiscent of the heyday of “The U,” embodied by its “Turnover Chain.”

Both teams have enough talent to ensure this game could go any number of ways, and this may be a call rooted more in emotion than in logic, but for a historic matchup like this one, there’s only one score it feels right to predict.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Miami (FL) 30
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