The Notre Dame football team takes on UNLV in Week 8, and here are some keys to victory if they hope to come away with the victory.
It was a stunning loss for the Notre Dame football team in Week 7, as they went into the game against Stanford as big-time favorites, only to fall 16-14. During that matchup, it was pretty clear early on that the 17.5-point spread was not going to hold up, as Stanford kept fighting, and would go into halftime with a 10-0 lead.
This Saturday, against an opponent where the Irish will be big-time favorites again, Notre Dame football has to figure out a way to get the job done. Falling below .500 at this point in the season would be a disaster for Marcus Freeman in his first season as a head coach, and would lead to even more rumblings about the program moving on from him.
To keep the naysayers quiet, the Irish need to go out and put together a business-like approach, showing why they are big favorites in this matchup.
Notre Dame football: Keys to victory against UNLV in Week 8
Establish the run early
We start on offense, as the Irish have a very good opportunity to run the football Saturday, and to run it in a big way. The three-headed monster of Logan Diggs, Audric Estime, and Chris Tyree is one of the best trios in the country, and against this UNLV run defense, they should have their way.
In a perfect world, Notre Dame football will come out on their first offensive drive and punch the Rebels in the mouth, picking up big chunks on the ground. If they can establish the run in the first quarter, you can expect a more efficient Drew Pyne passing the ball than the one we saw on Saturday night.
Get pressure on Doug Brumfield, or his backup
As of Wednesday, it is unsure whether or not the Rebels will have star quarterback Doug Brumfield at the helm of their offense. Brumfield is still dealing with a concussion, and if he is not available, it swings the game even more in Notre Dame’s favor.
Assuming Brumfield is active, or even when it comes to his backup, the Irish have to get pressure on him consistently. The Notre Dame defensive line should be able to have their way with the UNLV front on offense, and for Brumfield, this could be a nightmare matchup while returning from his significant injury.
Get out to a sizeable, early lead
Unlike the Stanford game, the Irish have to get out to an early, and sizeable lead against UNLV, putting them away in the first half. Too many times this season we have seen this Notre Dame football team allow teams to hang in, especially at home, as the losses to Stanford and Marshall inside Notre Dame Stadium are inexplicable.
The Notre Dame football program landed a big-time commitment on Saturday night, as running back Jeremiyah Love will bring his talents to South Bend.
UNLV is coming off two bad losses where they managed to score only seven points in each game, so the Irish defense have to continue that trend. If the offense gets rolling, especially on the ground, I could see the Irish being up by four scores before the teams head to the locker room for halftime.