Georgia – Notre Dame
Time 6:30 PM CT
Spread: ND -4.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Georgia Bulldogs began its season with a schedule win, notching a 31-10 victory over lowly Appalachian State. This week, things get a bit more challenging for Georgia to say the least, as it travels to face Independent Notre Dame as 4.5 point underdogs at 6:30 (CT) PM on NBC Saturday.
The over/under for the affair is set at 53.5 points, which is a reflection of two rather strong defenses that will fight for supremacy early on in a telling game for both schools’ seasons.
Georgia suffered the loss of starting quarterback Jacob Eason last week, but freshman Jake Fromm was able to step in, in his stead, and help the No. 15 Bulldogs take out the Mountaineers. Fromm threw 10 of 15 for 143 yards and a TD, but Eason’s knee injury is disconcerting, thought to possibly be a knee sprain immediately following the injury. Of course, the Bulldogs having Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in the backfield had plenty to do with its success last week, too.
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The pair combined for 183 yards between them, and the Bulldogs had 221 yards on the game rushing. Javon Wims was the star receiver with 81 yards on his three receptions and a TD. Georgia’s defense did its job in holding App State to 274 total yards, and Trenton Thompson was a beast for Georgia defensively, with six tackles (3 solo), including two for loss and a sack. The Bulldogs had seven total tackles for loss and just that one sack, but it was an effective regime in slowing both facets of Appalachian State’s attack. Notre Dame, needless to say, presents a plethora more challenges this week, but the Bulldogs should be well-abled on the defensive end of the ball, even if the Fighting Irish have the weapons to take it to good defensive teams.
No. 24 ranked Notre Dame won huge in Week 1, taking out Temple 49-16. The Owls are known to be a poor defensive team, but Notre Dame sure exploited it to the full. The Irish started out the game with three opening quarter touchdowns, and Brandon Wimbush did well in his first start at quarterback. Thought to be a possible weakness for the Irish, the QB position could be in just fine hands.
Wimbush threw 17 of 30 for 184 yards and had two TDs with just one interception. The Irish backfield certainly made his life easy. Not only did Wimbrush rush for 106 yards inches won right, but Josh Adams had 161 and Dexter Williams had 124, as the trio amassed four rushing TDs between them. Notre Dame had five rushing TDs on the game and 422 total rushing yards, with a 9.6 yard per carry average. The Temple defensive line and tackles simply had no answer for Notre Dame’s assault, and Wimbush could still improve his passing efficiency more so with the dominance already shown by his backs.
Wimbrush is a 6’1 228-pound junior who should be a better QB than was initially anticipated. He had a 123.5 passer rating and a 83.7 Raw quarterback rating in Week 1.
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 break out 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 play calling. 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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The defense has a new coordinator in Mike Elko. Elko comes from Wake Forest, and Kelly will not be patient in expecting Elko to revamp the defense. Notre Dame gave up 27.8 points per game last season, ranking No. 62, while its rush defense was ineffective in allowing 182.4 yards per game and ranking No. 72 in the nation. Elko’s strongest position is linebacker, where the Irish return three captains in Nyles Morgan, Drue Tranquill and Greer Martini. Morgan shined last year as the defense’s best player, and Tranquill moves from safety to linebacker, where he should be more of a difference maker, still. At OLB the Irish will need major improvement, as the team struggled in making tackles for loss last season.
The defensive line and secondary are areas of concern, however. Up front the team will look at Daelin Hayes and Jerry Tillery. There is a lack of depth and experience on the line, and the team is not loaded with pass rushers. At back, the Irish will start three sophomores, and only one starter returns in the secondary (Julian Love). Notre Dame is expecting improvement from its defense, but does it have the necessary components to even ensure that is possible, or it simply hoping that Elko works magic? It is unclear.What is clear, is that this should be a good matchup between two top-25 teams with a chance at a 2-0 start. The Irish are just 4.5 point favorites, and Georgia will have a chance to
What is clear, is that this should be a good matchup between two top-25 teams with a chance at a 2-0 start. The Irish are just 4.5 point favorites, and Georgia will have a chance to ear its road stripes early on in week 2.