Sitting at 8-1 last season and in the College Football Playoff hunt, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were about to face a stiff road test against the Miami Hurricanes. It was a chance for Notre Dame to show that they could win in tough environments.
However, their running game went stagnant early on and as a result, their passing game did not get going either. With an offense and defense that struggled all night to find their rhythm, Notre Dame fell to the Hurricanes 41-8.
Moving ahead to this season, this past Saturday night the Fighting Irish went into Blacksburg with an unblemished record to face the Virginia Tech Hokies in their first true road test of the season.
With Ian Book running the show offensively as well as having a stout defense, Irish fans hoped that last season’s blunder at Miami was a thing of the past. For the most part, Notre Dame looked very impressive.
After a shaky first half for the offense that included an Ian Book interception and a few overthrown passes, he and the rest of the offensive unit settled down very nicely in the second half and helped the Irish come away with a 45-23 victory.
Although this was not their best performance, Irish fans have to be pleased with how the team ended the first half as well as took control of the game in the second half. Not only did this game show that the Irish have matured and are able to win tough games away from home, but it was the last big hurdle they faced in their quest for an undefeated season.
Prediction for Notre Dame versus Pittsburgh
Looking ahead to next weekend, the 3-3 Pittsburgh Panthers from the Atlantic Coast Conference come to town after a 44-37 overtime victory over Syracuse. Even though the Panthers never make it easy for Notre Dame to come away victorious, Notre Dame is a more mature team than in years past and will not overlook this game. I believe that Notre Dame will win by a score of 41-13.
In previous years, I would have predicted this game to be much closer, but this year’s Notre Dame team is different. When I watch them play they look cool, calm, and collected at most times during the game.
Also, having the killer mentality to put their opponent’s away has been there against Wake Forest, Stanford, and Virginia Tech thus far. As we near the halfway point of the season, Notre Dame looks like a team that will continue to be talked about in playoff contention as the year winds down.
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