Keys to Victory: Nevada at Notre Dame

It’s taken a few days, but the sour taste is (mostly) out of my mouth from Sunday night. Next up for the Irish is the Wolf Pack of Nevada. This 1-0 Nevada team should not be an issue for the Fighting Irish, but as we saw last week, there are a lot of holes in this Irish team that need to be plugged and a lot of questions that need to be answered fast. These are my thoughts about the tilt tomorrow:

  • Nevada’s offense is basically all James Butler. This makes me a bit nervous, strictly because Butler is one of the better backs in the country statistically speaking. He’s obviously not in the Fournette/McCaffrey/Cook conversation, but he’s a guy who totally carries Nevada (pun intended). Their senior quarterback, Tyler Stewart, looked solid last week, completing 17 of 23 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. Keep in mind, that was against Cal Poly. I’m not sold on the Irish secondary against most quarterbacks/receiving corps, but I’d play aggressive, with lots of blitz packaging and trusting the corners to play one-on-one.
  • I can make this trust because I’m confident that DeShone Kizer will be able to match any score Nevada puts up. He’s finally been named the starting guy, he finally doesn’t have Malik Zaire breathing down his neck, and he’s ready to go. I think a lot of his Heisman-darkhorse praise is a bit premature, but if he plays like he did last week against Texas, it would be hard to argue with that. With or without Torii Hunter Jr., who is a game time decision (and a guy I’d rather not see play this week in the interest of having Michigan State next week). However, I’d still rather see Josh Adams and Tarean Folston set the tone from the ground before going after Nevada with an ariel attack.
  • The special teams last week did really well in all aspects, from punt and kickoff coverages, to punt and kickoff returns, to blocking an extra point. Hopefully that keeps up this week simply because special teams are an aspect of the game that can steal you a win or two.

They made me sad last week, but that’s nothing new to me. However, since I only picked the Irish to win by 21 over a Nevada team that blew a lead and needed overtime to win last week against Cal Poly, you should be able to see my confidence is shaken a bit. Here’s to hoping the Irish do not ruin my life.


Cover photo from ND Insider.


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