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Staff Predictions: Louisville Cardinals

| Friday, October 16, 2020

Hayden Adams — Sports Editor

Soooo… Louisville. That defense, huh? Or should I say those 11 cardboard cutouts you stole from an MLB Playoff game, put out on the field and called your defense?

How can a Power 5 team be this bad at something? Honestly, I need to know the answer to this great mystery. In fairness, Louisville’s offense has playmakers; from Micale Cunningham to Tutu Atwell to Hassan Hall to Javian Hawkins, they will be a threat to Notre Dame. However, the offensive line continues to struggle mightily, so much so that Georgia Tech’s defensive front has now been key in victories over both Louisville and Florida State. Who thought that sentence would ever be uttered at any point in human history?

Notre Dame’s defense looked a little rough in the win over the Seminoles, but chalk it up at least in part to two turnovers in the red zone and a three-week COVID layoff. They’ll have to worry more about the connection between Cunningham and his cohorts than they did Jordan Travis and FSU, but the offense should do more than enough against a defense that continues to awe and astound, just not in the way they would like to.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 48, Louisville 21

 

Jimmy Ward — Associate Sports Editor

I remember hearing this Louisville team hyped up so much over the offseason. I wouldn’t be able to tell you where they went wrong. Micale Cunnigham looks great on paper and has no lack of weapons to spread the field. They just haven’t been able to win games.

Notre Dame has WD-40’d whatever rust they might have built up over the strange three-week break, and I’m expecting them to come out faster than they did against FSU. They won’t give up silly turnovers and will play their brand of football. That brand however can be accustomed to slow starts, but the moment they get hot they are hard to stop. There are no question marks on the offensive line. Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree are both carrying hot hands into this week as well.

I expect the Irish to jump to an early lead as they showed little rust last week and probably aren’t all too intimidated about this Louisville defense. The Notre Dame defense on the other hand needs to shut down this offense. Pitt held this team to 20; I think Clark Lea’s defense can do a little better.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Louisville 13

 

Charlotte Edmonds — Senior Sports Writer

There was something in the air last Saturday. Things felt different in Notre Dame stadium, and by different, I mean the same. There was an energy that hadn’t been felt since last season. I’m not sure if it was playing under the lights or if it was Florida State (Yes, I know they’re in a slump, but it’s still Florida State.), but there was a certain normalcy about the night. In that same vein, Notre Dame showed some of its same tendencies. While the game was really never in question, the Irish kept things a bit too close for comfort, once again playing down to the level of their competition. Now on to Louisville.

This Cardinals team is very different than the team we saw in last year’s season opener. With Malik Cunningham at the helm, they have a whole new set of weapons at their disposal and the Notre Dame secondary will need to come prepared. This also gives the defensive line a chance to fill those gaps from last weekend. All they have to do is contain Tutu Atwell and this should chalk up as an easy Irish win on the defense. Meanwhile, Ian Book has played enough games in his career against mid-range opponents like the Cardinals to know how to handle things. It’ll be easy to look ahead to Nov. 7 but Louisville should not be underestimated. They surprised people last season when they bounced back from a 2-10 season to win eight games. Take care of business, be disciplined and pick up the fourth win of the season.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 42, Louisville 26

 

Ellen Geyer — Senior Sports Writer

Clearly, Brian Kelly has been reading what I’ve been writing for the past two seasons, and honestly, Coach, I’m flattered. Finally, Ian Book is letting the backs do the running, he himself giving the legs a rest as Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree shoulder the offensive load on the ground. The receiving game still isn’t perfect, but things are much more settled in the air as Book has gotten more comfortable sharing the wealth across the inside and outside — seven different guys had catches against Florida State.
The Irish looked a little sloppy in last week’s first half, but that was to be expected after a three week break from the action. This week, with another seven days of practice under their belts, hopefully, the USF-game-esque offensive rhythm will have returned. To put it nicely, Louisville is horrible, so Notre Dame needs to take care of business early and often. The Irish can’t look too far into the future, but it is important to use these games to continue to craft a game plan for a certain ACC matchup in early November.
TLDR; get the starters out after the first series of the third quarter. Is it ambitious to ask for another shutout?

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Louisville 24

 

Aidan Thomas — Sports Writer

I came away from the Florida State game absolutely thrilled despite some of the early sloppiness. I wanted Notre Dame to pound the rock, and they did that to the tune of over 350 yards on the ground, establishing a crazy athletic one, two running back punch in Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree. In the passing game, Ian Book looked far more comfortable, and Javon McKinley proved to be a reliable target. On a weekend where Irish fans could have been wistfully watching Chase Claypool rack up four touchdowns with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they were instead treated to the emergence of a new No. 1 receiver.

I expect some of the defensive rust to have been due to the layoff, and I won’t have any real concerns if Notre Dame comes out strong this weekend. Louisville’s offense is the strength of their 1-3 team, as the Cardinals have any abysmal defense that is giving up over 34 points a game. I expect Notre Dame’s rapidly improving offense to put up 40+, and I’ll be looking for a much-improved performance from the defense, albeit against a stronger Louisville team. The Cardinals have some offensive talent, and I think a good benchmark for the Irish is holding them under 20 points, which is the least Louisville has scored at any point this season. I don’t anticipate this being close much past halftime and look for Notre Dame to put up some big numbers on the scoreboard.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, Louisville 20
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