Staff Predictions: Bowling Green
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, October 4, 2019
Charlotte Edmonds — Managing Editor
Anyone looking for a good game this Saturday should steer clear of South Bend. This is a mismatch if there ever was one. Former Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has yet to show much gusto from his defense that allowed 62 points from Kent State this past weekend. While the Irish offense has struggled at times, this is the perfect opportunity for Ian Book and Tony Jones Jr. to have breakout performances and get their mojo back. The Notre Dame defense will take care of business — that’s a given. Expect a New Mexico 2.0 — flashy offense, lock-down defense and few notable takeaways.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 52, Bowling Green 7
Connor Mulvena — Sports Editor
I don’t think much changed for the worse after Notre Dame’s solid win over Virginia. The defense is still one of the best in the nation, and they just reminded everyone of that fact over the weekend. Book did not look fantastic in the first half, but I think it’s a stretch to say he’s regressing. The problems we saw with him were the same we’ve seen and expected all season. But those won’t be a factor this weekend, and Book will have a chance to really work on staying in the pocket and looking for second options. He’ll also probably have the chance to take a few shots downfield and see what happens.
Ohio State has been obliterating borderline high school football teams, and the national media has seemed to take that as a reason to laud the Buckeyes. So I hope Notre Dame takes note and puts a similar beating on Bowling Green, and I’m confident that they will. I see the Irish looking for an Ohio State-esque win this weekend, and they’ll find it on account of defensive dominance and some newfound offensive flair.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 65, Bowling Green 3
Hayden Adams — Associate Sports Editor
To be honest, I’m scared about this one. Not that Notre Dame would lose; if they did, Paul Finebaum would be justified in saying the Irish should get a 5-year playoff ban, and then some. I’m scared that this will be an absolutely merciless beatdown. Bowling Green is horrendously and hilariously overmatched here, and this will be a long afternoon for everyone involved. It’s the kind of game the Irish probably won’t be hyped up during, even when they make a big play — and there should be a lot of big plays.
Part of me feels like Notre Dame should just sit Book, Claypool and anybody else of any importance or who’s feeling banged up and let Phil Jurkovec and Brandon Clarke run the show, because then the Irish might only win by 50. The Irish shouldn’t give up more than one touchdown, and only in garbage time at that, and given that Bowling Green’s kicker is only 8-10 on extra point attempts this season, their ability to put points up is abysmal. Say a prayer for the Falcons in this one.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 77, Bowling Green 7
Ellen Geyer — Sports Writer
Where to begin with this one. I extend a formal and preemptive apology to my high school math teacher, who is a proud Bowling Green alumnus. Sorry, Mr. Marchi, but I really can’t fathom a way that this one ends in your favor.
If the Falcons were even marginally competitive through the first five weeks, I might have a different perspective. Considering the fact that they’ve been outscored 149-27 in their past three games (including a whopping 52-0 shutout at the hands of Kansas State), it shouldn’t be too hard for the Irish to bring this one home. Don’t believe my expert opinion? I’ve got ESPN and Vegas behind me, with a 99.6% to 0.4% matchup predictor and a 45.5 point spread.
I’d like to see Notre Dame put up some style points in this one, but also be generous in their use of role players. Clemson took Trevor Lawrence out roughly halfway through the second quarter two weeks ago — let’s give Book a break and let Jurkovec have some reps. I’d also like to see the run game continue to find its groove, and the offense continue to readjust to the return of Mike Young and even Cole Kmet.
Score early, score often, stay healthy.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 56, Bowling Green 3
Jack Concannon — Sports Writer
Coming off back-to-back emotional ranked matchups games against Georgia and Virginia, conventional wisdom would say the Irish are vulnerable to a letdown game. Bowling Green is going to come to South Bend hungry and ready to throw everything they have at the Irish just like Ball State did last year.
Yet, no matter how hungry the Falcons are, they are not going to be hungry enough. Bowling Green has given up almost 50 points on average against Kansas State, Louisiana Tech and Kent State in their last three games. During that same time, they managed to score multiple times in a game they lost by 42 to Kent State. The Irish have the edge in every imaginable facet of this game. It will be a good opportunity to get Tony Jones Jr. some much-needed rest after two weeks of shouldering the load, and for Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara to get to the quarterback the way they did against Virginia.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 59, Bowling Green 3