Notre Dame Football
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+14.0)
December 28th, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Lead Editor, Andrew Hall: Rutgers 17-Notre Dame 45
Staff Writer, Nick Combs: Rutgers 10-Notre Dame 38
Podcast/Contributor, Brett Arney: Rutgers 7-Notre Dame 28
Staff Writer, Tim Colin: Rutgers 10-Notre Dame 42
From Staff Writer, Michael Farina:
For anyone predicting a blowout Irish victory, I question whether they have watched Notre Dame with Tommy Rees at the helm. In the 2011 and 2013 seasons, teams loaded the box to stuff the Irish run game and dared Rees to throw over their coverage. In long down situations defenses shifted to max coverage and waited for Rees to make a mistake (which he normally supplied with an aptly timed interception). Teams with physical front sevens executed this gameplan to near perfection against the Irish this season.
Enter Rutgers and their fourth ranked rushing defense. After 4 weeks, even without the three staff members he fired, Flood without a doubt has designed a scheme that will stack the box against Notre Dame and force Tommy Rees to throw the ball. If Rees fails to find the open receivers or adjust to the correct plays, the offense will struggle and the burden of victory will be placed on a defense that allows 176 rushing yards per game. Eventually, James and other Rutgers’ backs will find running lanes, and the effective running game will setup the play action pass and help Rutgers sustain long drives. Does any of this sound familiar?
But unlike previous Irish opponents, Rutgers does not have the players to effectively execute this gameplan. Throughout 2013 Rutgers’ Achilles Heel has been their depleted secondary. The Irish’s talented wide receiver corps should provide the Scarlet Knights’ defensive backs with more than they can handle. If Rees can deliver the ball, Notre Dame will score early and often, effectively forcing Rutgers to abandon the running game. With a big lead, Notre Dame’s defensive coaching staff will call a more aggressive game plan and Stephon Tuitt should have a big game (prompting him to return for his senior season). Notre Dame wins its first bowl game since 2010. Offseason here we come!
From Staff Writer, Tim Colin on Rutgers’ Defense:
The Irish receiving corps is dynamic and loaded with talent, look for Brian Kelly to stick to his tendencies and spread the Rutgers defense; using the passing game to setup the Irish runningbacks. When it’s all said and done, this is just a bad matchup for Rutgers. Their 6-6 record in a subpar conference and a schedule that isn’t even in the top 100 is a recipe for disaster. Look for the Irish to have their biggest offensive performance of the season.