Tomorrow’s Notre Dame football game in Blacksburg has some of our writers a little nervous.
Everything has gone about as well as it could have for Notre Dame football in 2018 — outside of some injuries here and there. Anxiety levels are even high with the College Football Playoff talk ramping up thanks to a successful September for the Irish.
Games like the one going down Saturday night at Virginia Tech don’t do much to alleviate the anxiety. Lane Stadium alone is probably worth a touchdown for the Hokies. Then you factor in an agressive defense with some talented athletes on both sides of the ball, and things can get dicey real quick.
Here’s how our writers see the game shaking out.
At the beginning of the season I predicted the Irish to finish 11-1 with that lone loss coming to Virginia Tech on the road. I hate to go back on my predictions, but after the injury to starting Virgina Tech Quarterback Josh Jackson and the fact that Notre Dame is a completely different team with Ian Book at the helm, I just can’t see the Irish getting beat Saturday if they play like they’ve been the past few weeks.
My main concern playing inside one of the most hostile stadiums in college football. I have to think that after the beatdown last year in South Beach to Miami, I truly can’t envision the Irish going into another night road game and having a let down like that. I actually think last year will benefit the Irish in this game.
Once again, the defensive line gets after it and dominates Virginia Tech up front. I think Julian Okwara will have a huge game along with one of the safeties getting a turnover on the back end of the defense.
Offensively, they’ll have their ups and downs with the crazy environment. the Irish will be trying to find some chemistry early with the loss of captain offensive lineman Alex Bars to a season-ending knee injury, but they’ll still have enough success against a Virgina Tech young defense. Irish get a massive road game victory, 34-20.
Notre Dame comes out hot and passes all over the Virginia Tech defense. The Irish defense holds Virginia Tech to field goals early and runs away with this game. Notre Dame 42, Virginia Tech 20.
I’m not buying into the hype that Virginia Tech isn’t a good team because of the Old Dominion game. If this was at Notre Dame, I would say the Irish have a comfortable sized lead when it’s all said and done. But, since this is at Virginia Tech and the Hokies have a solid front line, I see this being a close one. Book has a big day against a not-so-solid secondary as Notre Dame goes on to win 33-27.
This was one of the games I predicted the Irish to lose in our preseason predictions. This game had the potential to be a Top-12 matchup until VT dropped the ball vs. Old Dominion. They’re still a good team and the atmosphere of Blacksburg will be one unlike anything the Irish have played in. If Notre Dame can take advantage of the Hokies weak pass defense early and get the crowd out of the game, it will be a great night. Virginia Tech has one of the best run defenses in the country and Notre Dame is down All-American guard Alex Bars, but I’m not doubting this offense anymore with Book leading the way. Irish win 37-20.
Notre Dame faces their first legitimate road test this week as they travel to Blacksburg. The Virginia Tech defense took some hits since the end of last season, but, with Bud Foster at the helm, they are still formidable. The Hokies have been up and down this year. I expect them to play well in what is their first home night game of the season. As they have done in four of the last five games, the Irish defense should be able to limit the Virginia Tech offense to less than 20 points. I think we will see some struggles from Ian Book in this game, but he should overcome those with the help of the playmakers around. I get the feeling this one will end with a weird score. Notre Dame 30, Virginia Tech 19.
When all said it done, the better team takes care of business in an intimidating atmosphere. That team is Notre Dame. Virginia Tech’s offense can move the ball, but they haven’t seen a front seven like Notre Dame’s. Book continues his stellar, no turnover play, and the Irish put this game away early in the fourth. Notre Dame 31, Virginia Tech 18
The Irish offense stayed hot last week against Stanford. The defense continued to impress as well. After a blowout win against a top-ten ranked rival, I don’t see Notre Dame having a let down game. Conversely, I see them riding that momentum into another solid victory. Ian Book leads the Irish down the field for an early score. The defense forces a few three and outs and the offense continues to take advantage throughout the game, making “Lane Stadium factor” no factor at all. Notre Dame 42-14
Virginia Tech is an absolute mess right now. Their defense has been decimated with injuries and suspensions, and quarterback Josh Jackson is out as well. With the power the Notre Dame offense has shown the last few weeks, that’s not a good combo for the fans in Blacksburg. I see Notre Dame winning this one, 41-20.
I think Notre Dame struggles a bit in the first quarter, but start to get it together in the 2nd and silence the crowd. The Irish will rely on its defense to keep them in this game and hopefully the offense continues to run on all cylinders. Notre Dame stays undefeated and knocks off a 3rd top-25 team.
I do see a hangover coming from Notre Dame, coupled with what will be a lit crowd. That leads to a slow start, perhaps even with Notre Dame trailing at halftime. In the second half, turnovers and the Irish depth turn the tide and Notre Dame sneaks out of Appalachia with a win. Irish 27-24.