Notre Dame Football returns to the field this weekend, hosting the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
The #14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are back in action this weekend as they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish (6-2) were off last week after trouncing the USC Trojans. Pitt (2-5) fell to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. If styles make fights, this match-up favors Notre Dame.
While Pitt has been solid defensively, they haven’t faced a roster as talented as what Notre Dame football has. This is the best offensive line the Panthers have faced, and there should be opportunities to throw the football. Conversely, Pitt has its struggles offensively. Notre Dame’s depth upfront and talent in the secondary should limit the Panther’s offense.
Analyzing the Odds
Notre Dame football is 3-1 against the spread at home and has covered the spread in six of eight games this season. The defense has been stout, allowing 20 points or fewer in four of its last five games. Pitt is 1-5-1 against the spread this season; their only cover was a 38-21 win over Louisville, who defeated Notre Dame.
Odds: Notre Dame +20.5
Team Total: o/u 45.5
Money Line: Pitt +800 Notre Dame -1400
Notre Dame is 6-2 on the money line, while Pitt is 2-5. Notre Dame is 4-4 on the team total, and Pitt is 5-2.
Players to Watch
Chrisitan Vellieux, QB: The Penn State transfer gives the Panthers some juice in the passing game and running. He’s been solid since taking the job from Notre Dame and Boston College transfer Phil Jurkovec, who’s taking snaps at tight end.
C’Bo Flemister, RB: Another player making a homecoming of sorts is Flemister, also a Notre Dame transfer. He leads Pitt in rushing and posted his first 100-yard game against Wake Forest.
Shayne Simon, MLB: Simon is fourth in tackles and tied for the lead in sacks. He needs to have a big game if they want to slow the Notre Dame running attack.
Audric Estime, RB: Estime has not had a 100-yard rushing game since they defeated Central Michigan in September. It’s time for the nation’s 10th-leading rusher to let loose.
Notre Dame’s offensive line: For that to happen, the Irish front must open lanes for him. The Irish have the size advantage on the line of scrimmage and should bully Pitt’s defensive line.
Javontae Jean-Baptiste, DE: Notre Dame ranks 54th in sack percentage this season. Jean-Baptiste is the perfect microcosm of that. He’s active and pressures the quarterback often but doesn’t get home. The Ohio State transfer has 1/2 sack this year. He needs to get more.
Notre Dame Football: Keys to Victory
The mathematics are simple in this game. Notre Dame football is the more talented team with the better roster. They’ve gotten the clunker out of their system with their loss to Louisville. They must take shots down the field and blow this game open early. Don’t let Pitt make this a back alley brawl.
Pitt wants to muck this game up, play slow, and play ugly. Coach Freeman and his staff have to take advantage of the talent advantage early and often, so the Panthers won’t think they have a chance in this game against the Notre Dame football squad.