Preview and Prediction: BYU vs Notre Dame

Credit: BYUtv Sports Blog
Credit: BYUtv Sports Blog

Week 13: BYU vs Notre Dame

The Matchup:

I view the BYU vs Notre Dame game this Saturday as the conference championship of sorts for the “independent conference”. All-time BYU is 2-5 against Notre Dame and hasn’t won since 2004. Both teams come in to the game at a respectable 7-3 this season. We should be in for a good contest with a real possibility of BYU coming away with a victory. I wish these two teams could get together and have a game every year. The matchup makes sense: both independent, both religious institutions, both quality college football programs. It was Notre Dame’s success as an independent that gave BYU confidence that it, too, could take on the independent route. So let’s get to it.

W2W4- The Offense:

BYU will get their rushing yards but the difference will be if Hill can keep plays and drives alive with his legs and arm. BYU is 98th on 3rd down at 35% which means BYU must be successful on 1st and 2nd down. BYU seems to have the most success when they complete a short 5-6 yard pass on 1st down and I am hoping that they come out throwing.  If BYU is faced with a lot of 3rd downs then the game could get away from BYU. I do expect Hill to be sharp and more careful with the ball. He knew he could get a way with mistakes against ISU and it wouldn’t come back to bite him. He will be smart with the ball and I think the offense actually finds a lot of success in a game that was a defensive battle last season.

W2W4- The Defense:

Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees is a quality but not great quarterback. Essentially he is the backup quarterback but when Everett Golson was kicked out of Notre Dame, Rees regained the starting job. Playing against Rees can be a good thing or a bad thing for BYU, depending on how you look at it. On the positive side, Rees is not known for his mobility. He actually comes into the game with a rushing total of -61 yards. BYU will have a little more freedom with their coverage since they won’t have to account for the serious threat of a running quarterback. Rees however has shown to be an effective passer. He has passed for over 2,500 yards this season and according to ESPN’s adjusted QBR he is #32 in college football. For comparison Hill has 2,379 passing yards and comes in at #41 in adjusted QBR. We know that BYU is susceptible in the pass game so the key to the game on Saturday is to get pressure on Rees. BYU has the linebackers to get the job done and it could be the last time for us (and scouts) to see KVN on a meaningful national stage. The sack line however will not tell the story of the game. Rees has only been sacked 8 times this season (28 for Hill) so he knows when to get rid of the football. BYU just needs to put the pressure on and they should be in good shape.

The Game:

I think this will be the game of the year for BYU. Not much better for a BYU fan than watching BYU take on Notre Dame in South Bend (maybe the Texas beat down in Provo). Both teams still have the chance to get to 10 wins on the season if they win out-including bowl games. I expect a close game throughout but higher scoring than the previous meeting.

Prediction: BYU 38, ND 28

— What is your prediction for the game? Comment below…—

About the author

Justin Burr

I am an avid sports fan, especially BYU football and Yankee baseball. I watch basically any and every game I can. Currently living in NYC for school and work mean I get my Cougar fix with ESPN and the KSL 1160 app. Hit me up @jburr21.