Notre Dame football: Irish must take advantage of two-game home set

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 07: Running back Kyren Williams #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after his first quarter touchdown against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 7, 2020 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 07: Running back Kyren Williams #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after his first quarter touchdown against the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 7, 2020 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images) /
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The Notre Dame football team will play their next two games at home, taking on Toledo and Purdue in back-to-back weeks before the Wisconsin game.

On Sunday night, the Notre Dame football team was in a dogfight against the Florida State Seminoles, needing overtime to come away with the 41-38 road victory. The game was a roller coaster ride for the Irish, as they only held a three-point lead at the half, but looked to be in control in the third quarter, getting out to an 18-point lead.

Florida State just would not go away, and when all was said and done, it took a Jonathan Doerer field goal in OT to move the Irish to a 1-0 record. Now, the Irish play two straight home games, taking on the Toledo Rockets and Purdue Boilermakers in a stretch that they must take advantage of.

Toledo and Purdue are both 1-0 to start the season, but they are not in the same class as the opponents that are on the horizon after these two home games. Dominating, and getting right on both sides of the ball inside Notre Dame Stadium across the next two weeks will go a long way in this being a successful 2021 campaign.

Notre Dame football has a tough road ahead

After the two-game stretch at home, the Irish will have some tough games ahead, going to Soldier Field to take on Wisconsin, before two straight games against ranked teams before the bye week. First, they will host No. 7 Cincinnati, who looked outstanding in their season-opening win, thanks to strong play from quarterback Desmond Ridder.

After Cincinnati, the Irish will take on a Virginia Tech team that dominated the UNC Tar Heels at home in Week 1, as Lane Stadium proved to be a tough place to play for potential No. 1 overall pick, Sam Howell. If the Hokies play the way they did against UNC against Notre Dame, this is going to be another dogfight for the Irish.

This is a crucial two-game stretch for the Irish, who did look good against Florida State but had some issues that must be cleaned up if they hope to continue to be a top-10 team. These are the two games the Irish need to take advantage of, getting right on defense, and ready to make a legitimate run towards the College Football Playoff.