Notre Dame running backs vs Northwestern linebackers
Here’s where things get interesting.
We all know just how good the Irish running backs are. Between Dexter Williams and Jafar Armstrong, these backs are lethal at best and very good at worst.
The Northwestern linebackers are a great group. Last season’s breakout star, Paddy Fisher, is currently second on the team in tackles with 61. He’s only a sophomore, but he already has 172 tackles in his career. Long story short: Paddy Fisher is all over the field. The best comparison I can come up with for Fisher is Drue Tranquil.
As good as Fisher is, he’s a distant second in tackles. Fellow sophomore Blake Gallagher is easily the breakout player of 2018 on the Wildcats. He’s turned into a solid All Big 10 candidate, possibly even an All American candidate. Gallagher leads the team in tackles with 78. He has yet to sack a quarterback and doesn’t have a forced fumble or interception, but he’s great at zeroing in on his man.
Someone who does have a forced fumble and interception is Nate Hall, the third starter at linebacker. He carries an injury risk with him, as he tore his ACL prior to Northwestern’s bowl game and missed some time this year as well.
Reserve linebacker Chris Bergin actually has seven more tackles than Hall, mostly because of the playing time he’s received in Hall’s absence. Bergin is more than capable and someone to watch for.
This is as close of a competition as you’ll see. I could see why a lot of people would give Notre Dame a clear advantage, just like most Northwestern fans would give the Wildcats the advantage. Overall, I think the depth of the running backs is what gives Notre Dame a very slim advantage.