Our writers chime in on how they think the Notre Dame football game against Pitt will shake out.
Your Notre Dame football team is 6-0 in 2018 and currently ranked No. 5 in both major polls. As they stare down a bye week next weekend, everything seems to be going right for the Irish as they prepare to make a final push for the College Football Playoff.
Before then, however, they’ll host the feisty Pitt Panthers. Here’s how the Slap the Sign staff has that game playing out.
Mid-term week and a big road win last Saturday normally aren’t a great combo for the Irish, especially when the Irish are huge favorites the following Saturday. They are a 21-point favorite as it stands right now.
The dreaded “let down” game could be on the horizon. Take a breath.
That won’t be happening this weekend against the Panthers. I have tons of confidence in the Irish defense for obvious reasons and I just don’t see Pitt scoring more than 20 points. I hope to see some young linebackers in the second half getting some playing time against a run-first Pittsburgh team.
Offensively, Ian Book will struggle mentally a little early on — which I shouldn’t have to explain the reasoning why — but he pushes through and gets back to what he does best: gets the ball to his playmakers. Irish win 38-16 heading into the bye week at 7-0.
This team is clicking right now and riding the momentum of back-to-back huge primetime wins. Some might see this as a trap game, and it has the setup to be one. Playing a mediocre team at 2:30 in the afternoon before your bye week doesn’t have the same feel of a 8:00 matchup vs. VT in Blacksburg. Fortunately this team understands the opportunity that’s in front of them and will be ready to roll vs a struggling Pittsburgh team. Maybe they hang around for the first quarter, but not much longer after that. Irish win big 48-21.
I understand why some may be hesitant approaching this game, given where it falls on the schedule and Pittsburgh’s track record of upsetting or scaring top-10 opponents. However, this Pittsburgh team is not very good. I can see the game being close due to some Notre Dame struggles early on, but the Irish should be able to pull away and win comfortably in the second half of this game. Notre Dame 45, Pittsburgh 13.
Call this bold. Call this homerism. Call it a great, reasonable prediction. Call it whatever you want. The fact of the matter is, this Pitt team is not very good, and this Notre Dame team is one of the nation’s best. With Book under center and Williams behind him, this offense has a different feel. The Irish run up the score and finally give outside fans what they want — continued dominance and winning decisively in a game that screams “letdown.” I would say Book will account for six touchdowns, but he will be in a ball cap by the middle of the third quarter. Notre Dame 52, Pitt 17.
It was not long ago in 2012 that the Panthers gave an undefeated Notre Dame team quite the scare in South Bend. Knowing this, the Irish won’t take anything for granted on Saturday. They will get out to big lead early and keep it for the duration of the game. Ian Book and Dexter Williams stay hot, and the defense plays well again. The Pitt running backs will break out for a few big plays, but nothing Notre Dame can’t handle. Irish win 49-17
Aside from defensive lineman Rashad Weaver, there is literally nothing about this Pitt defense that scares me.
Kenny Pickett was talked about as the reason Pitt could upset Penn State, and we saw how that ended. His touchdown-to-interception ratio of 6-to-5 isn’t great. Qadree Ollison is a good player; but against the Notre Dame defensive line, I don’t see how he has very much success.
The Pitt defense isn’t great, they give up a ton of points and this game should be no different. I’ll boldly predict that Ian Book has a career game with his first 400 yard passing day. I see a huge Notre Dame win: 48-13.
I think we’re getting the game we were expecting to get in the second week of the season against Ball State. This should be an opportunity to Notre Dame to work with the younger players and get valuable reps where needed. Pitt simply is catching Notre Dame at the wrong time. 56-17, Notre Dame.
This game will resemble the Wake Forest game from a few weeks back. Notre Dame scores early and often and beats Pittsburgh 49-14.
There is no reason this game should be close. It should be over by halftime, thanks to dominant performances by both the Irish offense and defense. If it’s anything but a blowout win for Notre Dame, that comes down to mental and schematic preparation, and you point all fingers at the coaching staff. Notre Dame wins 48-20.