Coming off of back-to-back prime time games, the Irish defense’s mental makeup on Saturday afternoon against a down Pitt squad will be key to another Notre Dame football win.
The Irish are back home after last week’s tilt in Blacksburg, Virginia. With arguably the toughest games behind them and a bye next week, it would make sense to overlook a bad Pitt team. However, if 2012 is any indication, we know that Pitt will play Notre Dame football tough, and the Irish need to kill their spirits early. A good Syracuse team just fell victim to the Panthers this past weekend.
Pittsburgh is currently 3-3 with wins over Albany in their opener, Georgia Tech and Syracuse — all home games. They have lost their two roads games against North Carolina and UCF, as well as a home loss to Penn State.
They are ranked 89th in the country in scoring offense and 118th in passing offense. On the positive side of things, they rush for just over 200 yards per game — good for 39th in the country. Overall, they rank 67th in the FBS in offensive efficiency.
Here are the key matchups to look for when the Irish are on defense this Saturday.