The Notre Dame football team takes on a high-powered offense on Saturday night, and here are some things to keep an eye on defense.
The Notre Dame football team will battle it out against a ranked opponent this Saturday night, as they head to Las Vegas to take on BYU. The Cougars have gotten out to a 4-1 start this season thanks to strong quarterback play and a diverse offense that can score at any time.
Notre Dame football can make a real statement in terms of the national ranking with a win on Saturday night, but to do so, they have some things on the defensive side of the ball they must accomplish.
Notre Dame football vs BYU: Things to watch for on Defense
Stopping Jaren Hall
They key to what the Cougars like to do on offense runs through one man, and that man is quarterback Jaren Hall. Someone who is rishing up NFL draft boards thanks to his strong play in 2022, Hall has the ability to strike quick and often, and stopping him is the only way the Irish can pull off the victory on Saturday night.
To date, Hall has terrorized college football defenses, tossing 12 touchdowns against only one interception in 2022. Hall is also adept at spreading the wealth, with four of his teammates already at 15-or-more catches this season, so keying in on one of his targets is not going to slow him down inside Allegiant Stadium.
BYU should be healthy at WR
The BYU Cougars have had some health issues at wide receiver this season, but this is the game many expect them to be back to full strength. With changes coming in the Notre Dame secondary, including Benjamin Morrison being listed as a starter in the latest depth chart, this is an area of concern going into this one.
Safety Brandon Joseph is an All-American candidate, and Cam Hart has the potential to be at least a Day 2 draft pick next year, so the talent is there for this Irish defensive backfield. However, there are a lot of weapons on this BYU team that Hall can take advantage of, so the game plan must be solid for Al Golden and his staff against the pass.
Avoid the big play from Christopher Brooks
Christopher Brooks came to BYU via Cal, and through his first five games with the team, he has shown the ability to make plays happen on the ground. Brooks looks the way he did back in 2019 with Cal, when he rushed for nearly 1,000 yards, as he is averaging six yards per carry and already has found the end zone four times.
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Brooks is benefiting from having Hall as his quarterback, but when the Cougars run the ball, they have been more than effective. On Saturday night, the Irish will have to combat an offense that can beat you in so many ways, and winning the battle up front and controlling the run game will be paramount.