If you told any Notre Dame fan on the night of September 10 that all it would take for the Fighting Irish to be three games to regain their record above .500, they would all have signed for it on the point line right away.
Notre Dame was 0-2 with a loss to Marshall that day. Four weeks later, the Irish have a chance to improve to 3-2 with a win over No. 16 BYU (4-1). It would easily be the short’s best win. marcus freeman It was if it was going to manifest itself.
Will it happen? The BlueandGold.com staff makes selections below.
Tyler Horka: Notre Dame 31, BYU 23
Outside of a season-opening 314-yard rushing outburst against South Florida, BYU has struggled to run the ball after All-American Tyler Allgeier left for the NFL. Notre Dame has a front seven that should shake off some early concerns and be strong in the race to stop before Oct. 8.
The Irish offense has improved enough with the direction of the quarterback drew pyne, Meanwhile. The elephant in the room, of course, is whether his 289 passing yards and three touchdowns had more to do with the Irish’s offensive game plan and Pyne’s own prowess or how bad North Carolina’s defense is. Just a week earlier, Pyne could only put up 150 passing yards and two touchdowns against Cal. But it was still enough to win.
Pyne will live somewhere in the middle of the wide valley between 150 and 289 on Saturday. If he continues to take care of the football and Notre Dame can rush for 200-plus yards at BYU like Oregon and Utah State did, then the Irish should control the game the same way they did against UNC. Pyne makes enough plays, the Irish D makes enough stops and Freeman gets a big win early in his tenure.
Patrick Engel: Notre Dame 27, BYU 20
Notre Dame will have its hands full with BYU’s quarterback jaren’s hall, a talented passer who can make tough passes look easy and burn through defenses with his ability to spread plays. He is a good defense against a good quarterback. Force over force.
Where this will be decided, however, is a matchup that looks like a strength into a weakness, if the last six quarters are any indication of what Notre Dame’s run operation will go ahead. The Irish have controlled the line of scrimmage on offense and led the running game to victory. BYU’s rushing defense has given up at least 120 yards to every opponent this year, including 204 to a 1-4 Utah State team last time out.
If the Irish can run the ball at BYU, they’ll leave Las Vegas the winner.
Mike Singer: Notre Dame 34, BYU 26
BYU has had teams run wild against them this season, which is music to the ears of the Notre Dame fan base. The key to Notre Dame’s offense is controlling the line of scrimmage and asserting itself in the ground game. If they can do that against BYU, then they’ll win. Notre Dame’s defense should hold up against the Cougars, but it’s the offense that is more of a question mark. If the Irish have to rely on Pyne’s arm to win, it will be a tough proposition.
Todd Burlage: Notre Dame 21, BYU 20
Notre Dame takes a perfect 10-0 record in Shamrock Series games to Las Vegas on Saturday for a date against No. 16 BYU.
7th-year BYU head coach kalani sitake he quietly went 21-4 in 2020 and 2021 and finished in the top 20 of the final AP poll in both seasons.
With 16 returning starters, Sitake’s Cougars began this season 2-0 and rose to No. 12 in the AP Poll before slipping somewhat after a 41-20 loss to No. 15 Oregon on the 17th. of September.
BYU is a good, balanced football team, one of the best Notre Dame will play this season, that returned with almost all of its elite players, including Hall, who won many big games against Power 5 teams as a starter for two years.
Notre Dame is coming off a bye week but also after showing overall improvement in a 45-32 win on Sept. 24 at North Carolina.
This will be another fight, but the Irish and Pyne find a way to secure a third straight win.
Steve Downey: BYU 27, Notre Dame 20
This felt like a game of tossing a coin before the start of the season, but after watching their offense struggle for the first three weeks, it was hard to feel good about the Fighting Irish’s chances against a good team of BYU. The offensive performance against North Carolina on Sept. 24 definitely helps change that perception, but the Irish still need to show they can get the job done against a competent opponent.
The clear path to victory for the Irish against the Cougars is another great performance from their running backs. Against the Tar Heels, while fueling a rushing game that racked up 287 yards, junior Chris Tyree (104) and sophomores Audric’s estimate (134) and Logan Diggs (115) became the first trio of Irish running backs to record 100+ total scrimmage yards (running and receiving) in the same game since 1987. BYU ranks 91st in the country in rushing defense (159.8 yards allowed per game) and gave up 204 rushing yards against Group of Five foe Utah State in his last outing.
If Notre Dame can’t take advantage of that matchup, it means it will all come down to the two quarterbacks. The Irish were finally able to push the ball down the field in their passing game against UNC, but Pyne still ranks 76th nationally with 7.29 yards per pass attempt. The Cougars’ Hall, meanwhile, can beat you with the arm or the legs. After leading the Cougars to a 4-1 start, he ranked 18th nationally in passing yards (1,438) and touchdowns (12), and 25th in passing efficiency (162.8 rating). He also has the kind of mobility that can neutralize Notre Dame’s quick pass.
In the end, I think Hall makes more plays than Pyne en route to a BYU win.
All Season Direct Records
Tyler Hork: 2-2
Patrick Engel: 3-1
Mike Singer: 3-1
Todd Burlage: 2-2
Steve Downey: 3-1