Notre Dame at Boston College
Time: 2:30 PM (CT)
Spread: ND -13.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won its week 1 matchup 49-16 over the Temple Owls, but week 2 proved to be a bit more than it could handle as it fell to then-No. 15 Georgia 20-19. Notre Dame lost on a late field goal and fumble recovery as Georgia overcame a three-point halftime deficit to knock off the Irish. Week 3 the Irish travel to face Boston College as 13.5-point favorites according to NCAA football oddsmakers. College football odds show the game with an over/under of 48.5 points, a reflection of the strength of the Irish’s defense which held its first two opponents to an average of 18 points per game.
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Notre Dame’s focus will be on going deep and long most plays, and Brandon Wimbush has the arm and receivers to make it a smashing success, along with offensive coordinator Chip Long drawing the plays for it to thrive. Wimbush will have four starters returning on the line in front of him and a couple of them could be 2018 first round picks in the NFL draft. Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson are the most talented of that four.
The skill positions, too, have talent returning. Notre Dame operated with plenty of three-wide formations during the spring, sporting receivers all above 6’4” in height. Equanimeous St. Brown is the leading WR of that group, but junior TE Alize Mack will also be one to keep an eye on as a player who can breakout and have a huge season. Wimbush should be more than enough to replace the departed and talented Deshone Kizer, but the story will be how well he adapts to Kelly’s playcalling. If he makes smart decisions, he has the talent available at receiver to guide a very effective offense. Last year, the Irish averaged 30.9 points per game and ranked No. 53 in the nation, and improving that is imperative if the team is to trudge through its schedule, which features Michigan State (Sept 23), North Carolina (Oct 7), and Miami (FL) on Nov 11.
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Thus far, Wimbrush has thrown 36 of 69 for completion (52 percent) while racking up 395 passing yards through two games. His yards per completion linger low at just 5.73 yards per attempt and he has thrown just two TD passes with one interception. His passer rating could bear some major improvements at just 106.9, but Notre Dame has been productive with its backfield. The team has six rushing TDs on the year and is averaging 5.9 yards per rush attempt.
The team has six rushing TDs on the year and is averaging 5.9 yards per rush attempt. Wimbrush has been better on the ground, too, with 107 yards on 28 carries and is tied for the team-lead in TDs with two. Josh Adams has 214 yards on 38 carries (5.6 yards per), including a long-rush of 60-yards and also has two TDs. The Irish will need to balance its attack better as the weeks progress but should be able to get by against BC this week even if the team is still trying to achieve that balance.
Boston College is 1-1 with a win in Week 1 over Northern Illinois and a week 2 loss to Wake Forest. The Eagles fell 34-10 last week as the Demon Deacons forced four BC turnovers and John Wolford threw two TD passes and rushed for another TD. Anthony Brown struggled for BC at quarterback, throwing just 11 of 29 for 119 yards with three interceptions. His backup Darius Wade went 7 of 12 but had just 44 yards.
The rush attack was moderately more successful in picking up 142 yards on 41 carries, but BC failed to reach the end zone via the rush, with Brown throwing the lone TD in the game for the Eagles. That lack of offense and big games from Wake using both the pass and rush does not bode well for the Eagles this week against a much tougher team. Expect Notre Dame to cover the spread and win by two touchdowns or more.