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Observer sports staff predicts Central Michigan vs. Notre Dame

| Friday, September 15, 2023

Ari Denning | The Observer
Irish graduate student linebacker Marist Liufau shoves NC State’s Brennan Armstrong during Notre Dame’s 45-24 win over the Wolfpack on Sept. 9 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

José Sánchez Córdova, Assistant Managing Editor

I expect the Irish to look fairly comfortable against the Chippewas this weekend. Central Michigan’s biggest weapon is quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr., but I believe Notre Dame will limit his mobility and force him to win from the pocket. I think this will lead to another big day for Irish turnovers, including their first fumble recovery of the year. Look for Steve Angeli to play some more snaps in the second half of this one. Notre Dame 56, Central Michigan 10

Andrew McGuinness, Sports Editor

Two things I’ll be watching for in this game: Notre Dame’s offensive line and how quickly it gets to 14 points. It took 14 minutes against Navy, 17 against Tennessee State and 29 against NC State. That’s not exactly an encouraging trend. Hartman having to scramble quite a bit early in that Tennessee State game and being sacked four times against the Wolfpack is certainly not ideal. The Irish will be underdogs against Ohio State, and their biggest position gap between the Buckeyes probably comes at wide receiver. That screams run-heavy attack. But the Irish running backs are only as good as the holes created for them.

The fact that I’m talking about things to look ahead for Ohio State already should give you a good idea about how much of a challenge Central Michigan should present the Irish. Let’s just say it should be less than the amount of difficulty the Chippewas had dispatching New Hampshire. Notre Dame 49, Central Michigan 7

J.J. Post, Associate Sports Editor

Beware the ides of … the Peacock game? Mid-September? That sounded more clever in my head. Regardless, every year Notre Dame has had a game streamed exclusively on Peacock Premium, that game has turned into a nail-biter for the Irish. Toledo in 2021 allowed a sigh of relief, Marshall in 2022 caused a recalibration of views on the entire season. 

But I suspect the Peacock curse will end this season. Sam Hartman keeps ticking. Deland McCullough’s running back room continues to make its case for Notre Dame’s deepest unit. The defense allows a touchdown, but no more. The Irish are comfortably rotating in second-team options on both sides of the ball by the second half. Notre Dame 52, Central Michigan 7

Madeline Ladd, Associate Sports Editor

Coming out of the MAC conference, Central Michigan plays tough football but lacks the talent to beat out the Irish. Quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. can make plays with his legs, but Al Golden’s defense has had plenty of success containing a mobile quarterback so far this season. As for the Chips’ defense, it is frankly just bad. I believe a shutout in Notre Dame Stadium is on the horizon.

I predict Sam Hartman will play an efficient first half with three touchdowns, but Steve Angeli will take the reins for the second half. The Irish defense will have some fun collecting five turnovers including three sacks and two interceptions. Notre Dame 52, Central Michigan 0

Matthew Crow, Associate Sports Editor

After a big road win at NC State, Notre Dame should not have much trouble handling Central Michigan at home. The Irish offense started slow against the Wolfpack, and against Tennessee State, to a lesser extent — but I expect it to dominate from start to finish on Saturday.

Central Michigan gave up 493 passing yards against New Hampshire last week, and Notre Dame should be throwing the ball downfield early and often, especially as they look to rejuvenate a wide receiver group that was quiet last weekend. Jayden Thomas and Jaden Greathouse will catch two touchdowns apiece, and the Irish defense will shut the Chippewas out through the first three quarters. Notre Dame 52, Central Michigan 10.

Tom Zwiller, Senior Sports Writer

After getting to travel to Raleigh and experience my first road game, Central Michigan certainly feels like a bit of a letdown. CMU needed a 47-yard field goal as time expired to beat the powerhouse that is New Hampshire. So I’m not expecting a lot from the Chippewas. 

The nice thing is that this serves as a soft bye in between the NC State road trip and Ohio State. So the Irish starters should get some rest later in the game, and more rotation players should get in on some of the action. The schedule from now until their next break? Ohio State, Duke, Louisville and USC.

It’s good the game is here, but give me Ohio State already. Notre Dame 45, Central Michigan 7

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