Notre Dame football travels to Blacksburg, Virginia. The Irish have a chance to redeem themselves following some of their road woes a season ago.
Under Brian Kelly, the Notre Dame football program has struggled in primetime games against ranked opponents, especially on the road. Games at Clemson in 2015, at Texas in 2016, and at Miami and 2017 are just a few examples of Notre Dame teams coming up short when the lights come on away from Notre Dame Stadium.
While wins against Michigan and Stanford seem to show that this year’s Irish team is built to compete with the nation’s best teams, Saturday’s matchup with Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium will certainly be a measure of how far the program has come after a 4-8 season just two years ago.
And as the Irish have found ways to navigate their early-season schedule, Brian Kelly and his team have their eyes set on the College Football Playoff. To get there, the Irish will have to avoid the road woes they’ve experienced in prime time matchups.
While the Virginia Tech hasn’t had the same success as a program that they have in recent years, Lane Stadium still provides one of the most atmospheres in college football. And while this year’s Hokie team isn’t as good as the Miami team that throttled Notre Dame in a similar circumstance last year, Notre Dame fans likely still a certain degree of anxiety ahead of Saturday’s game.
The Irish are set up well to buck the trend of coming up short in these type of big games.
Notre Dame’s defense has lived up to its billing so far this season and the offense under the direction of Ian Book has reached its stride at the right time. In short, Notre Dame has hit its stride at the right time.
For more on how Notre Dame will hope to translate their early-season success to a primetime road test, listen to the latest episode of the Under the Dome Podcast: