October 5th, 2013 at 7:30 P.M. ET
Last Meeting (1999): Arizona State 17-Notre Dame 49
Line: Arizona State (-6.0)
- Lead Editor Andrew Hall: Arizona State 31-Notre Dame 41
- Podcast Contributor Brett Arney: Arizona State 13-Notre Dame 27
- Staff Writer Nick Combs: Arizona State 24-Notre Dame 28
- Staff Writer Tim Colin: TBA
Michael James on Arizona State’s Offense:
Although most fans will blame Tommy Rees and the turnovers for the loss to Oklahoma, and don’t get me wrong he deserves a could portion of the blame, I simply cannot overlook the fact that Notre Dame’s defense relinquished 200 plus yards rushing and another 232 yards passing. The defense did make some key stops that the offense failed to capitalize on, but they still allowed two big plays in the passing game that led to touchdowns. The mistakes on those two plays (a misread by Jarrett Grace and a bad play by Bennett Jackson) emphasize the deficiencies in Notre Dame’s pass defense that Arizona State is perfectly equipped to exploit.
In the Sun Devils game against Wisconsin, a team that plays a 3-4 defense like Notre Dame and has similar speed, Graham used Foster and Grice in the spread, the pistol and the slot to isolate them on the edges with Wisconsin’s slower interior linebackers. Both players had a their way because Wisconsin lacked the speed and athleticism to stay with them. Given the similarities of Notre Dame’s defense to Wisconsin and the struggles of the trio of interior linebackers (Jarrett Grace, Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese) Notre Dame can expect a similar game plan from the Sun Devils.
If the Irish intend to slow down ASU’s offense the defensive front needs to shut down the running game and pressure Kelly without an overuse of blitzes. This will force Kelly to rely on his receiver corps and limit the effectiveness of the underneath passing game. Expect Diaco to play tight, bump-and-run coverage on ASU’s receivers in order to force them to the outside, but the secondary needs to keep their heads up as Kelly has an affinity for the back shoulder throws.
In the end, even with a great scheme from Bob Diaco, Notre Dame simply does not have the speed to contain all the weapons surrounding Kelly. Moreover, once ASU gains momentum they prove incredibly difficult to stop. Notre Dame may make some key plays, but the Sun Devils will still score a ton of points. I am sticking with my preseason prediction of an Arizona State victory.
Tim Colin on Arizona State’s Defense:
Arizona State’s rush defense in their Achilles heel; USC ran for 247 yards against the Sun Devils, and the Irish boasts a more talented stable of backs and a better offensive line, so look for the Irish to run wild. Brian Kelly made a point to establish a running game against the Sooners last weekend and I expect the same focus to be instituted this weekend. The running game will be the best defense for the Irish as the Sun Devil offense is quick hitting and explosive. With a solid effort on the ground eating up the clock, the Irish need to keep Taylor Kelly and company off the field as much as possible. If the Irish can’t establish a running game and fall behind early, this game could get ugly. The shoulders of Tommy Rees will not be enough to carry this team in a comeback effort.