Notre Dame continues the annual Shamrock Series on Saturday with this year’s opponent being No. 16 BYU and the game taking place in Las Vegas. While the Irish may have fallen from the AP Top 25 after beginning the year within the top five, but this is still one of the marquee games to keep an eye on this weekend.
Notre Dame had a week off to try to regroup after a shaky 2-2 start to the season. The Fighting Irish needed 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come from behind against Cal, but found some offensive momentum in a 45-32 win over North Carolina. BYU has a quality win over Baylor, but allowed a combined 50 points in inconsistent performances against Wyoming and Utah State.
BYU and Notre Dame have played eight times in history, with every matchup coming since 1992. The Fighting Irish hold a 6-2 all-time advantage, including a 23-13 win over the Cougars in 2013 behind 235 yards passing from now-offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. However, BYU and Notre Dame have never played at a neutral site.
Notre Dame vs. BYU: Need to know
Inconsistent start: Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman became the first coach in program history to lose his first three games. Wins over Cal and North Carolina are encouraging, but it’s unclear what’s sustainable. Every game has looked slightly different, especially after QB Drew Pyne replaced the injured Ty Buchner in the starting lineup. With such inconsistency, Notre Dame still hasn’t found a program identity.
Disappointing middle: BYU moved all the way up to No. 12 after outlasting Baylor in double-overtime, but the Cougars haven’t been themselves since that game. After losing 41-20 to Oregon, BYU needed late heroics to pull away from Wyoming and Utah State. Quarterback Jaren Hall has been consistently excellent with 1,438 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and only one interception, but the running game has dried up with receivers falling in and out of the lineup. Playing Notre Dame is a major opportunity to get right on a national stage.
Defensive slugfest: Notre Dame and BYU feature two of the most physical defenses in the country. Even as the offense has struggled, Notre Dame has stayed consistent defensively behind the leadership of star defensive end Isaiah Foskey, a future NFL player. On BYU’s side, 15 players have at least one tackle for loss. Linebacker Ben Bywater has been incredibly disruptive with two tackles for loss, two pick sixes and a pass defended. Points will come at a premium, and both teams might have to try and go over the top to generate offense.
How to watch Notre Dame vs. BYU live
Date: Saturday, Oct. 8 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium — Las Vegas
TV: NBC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Notre Dame vs. BYU prediction, picks
Featured Game | Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. BYU Cougars
Notre Dame still hasn’t found its rhythm after four games. Scoring 45 points against North Carolina was a nice step, but it’s hard to take too much from moving the ball against one of the nation’s worst defenses. BYU, conversely, has showed both boom and bust potential. Expect this matchup to be more of a boom — the game has unquestionably been circled on Jaren Hall’s calendar for months. Prediction: BYU +3.5
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