Navy at Notre Dame
Time: 2:30 CT (NBC)
Spread: ND -18
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish suffered just its second loss of the 2017 season last week when it fell 41-8 to a tough Miami Hurricanes team. Notre Dame is still 8-2 and will host Navy this week as 18-point favorites and possessors of a No. 8 AP Ranking. The betting total is 59 points according to college football oddsmakers, for the game which will air at 2:30 (CT) on NBC.
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Navy last defeated Notre Dame 28-27 in the 2016 season, but it is 18-point underdogs today as Notre Dame hosts them. The Irish have not lost at home this season, and quarterback Brandon Wimbrush has been very solid. Wimbrush has thrown for 1,405 yards with 12 TDs and four interceptions, while he is getting a strong contribution from Josh Adams in the backfield. Notre Dame’s top rusher, Adams, has rushed for 1,231 yards while averaging eight yards per carry and having totaled nine rushing TDs. Wimbrush functions as an effective rusher in his own right, with the second-most rushing yards at 663 on 112 attempts.
WImbrush also leads the team in rushing TDs (13), and Notre Dame has scored 34 rushing TDs on the year while maintaining the nation’s sixth-best rushing attack with 303.2 yards per game. Its pass offense averages just 168.5, but Notre Dame is built upon the rush, and the strength of its No. 30 ranked defense that allows just 20.7 points per game while the Irish average 38 points itself, good for nearly an 18-point differential. Wimbrush struggled badly against Miami last week, though, with 10 of 21 passing and two interceptions to just one TD.
Adams even struggled with just 40 yards on his 16 carries, with no rushes longer than 12-yards. The Irish managed just 261 total yards last week, while Miami was able to get 237 just via the rush. The Hurricanes defense is so unfathomably quick, and it wrecked havoc on Wimbrush and the backfield with nine tackles for loss and five sacks. Miami surely presents many more problems than this week’s opponent, though, and Notre Dame should be able to handle things against the Midshipmen with relative ease.
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Navy is 6-3 and defeated SMU 43-40 last week to snap a three-game skid that had seen it fall to Memphis, UCF, and Temple. Quarterback Zach Abey has stepped into the do-everything offense that benefitted many Navy QBs of the past. He has thrown for 717 yards and rushed for 1,202 yards, with 13 rushing TDs. It offsets his ineffective or inaccurate pass game, as he has thrown six INTs to his six TD passes, but Navy is typically built upon a rushing QB with an assemblage of helpers in the backfield.
Malcolm Perry has rushed for 736 yards, Chris High for 478 and Anthony Gargiulo for another 225 yards. Navy has rushed for 3,328 yards on the season with a 5.9 yards-per-carry average. It is just that its offense is so predictable and its pass game so mediocre, that it is only an effective M.O. against middling schools, Notre Dame should have no problem dismantling the simplicity of it and thwarting Abey’s rush attack from the QB position.