Notre Dame vs. Army prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Fighting Irish and Black Knights on Saturday in San Antonio, TX.
Notre Dame vs. Army Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
TV Broadcast: NBC
The Fighting Irish (3-6) will be playing their second consecutive service academy a week after an agonizing 28-27 loss to Navy in Jacksonville. Ken Niumatalolo’s squad received a strong effort from Will Worth, who found the end zone in his eighth consecutive game, and the Midshipmen broke a five-game losing streak in the series against the Fighting Irish. Just another loss in the nightmare season for the South Bend program.
Meanwhile, the Black Knights (5-4) had their own troubles with another service academy their last time out, as Air Force quarterback Arion Worthman made his first career start in a 31-12 win at Michie Stadium, which clinched the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the Falcons. Army needs to win two more games to become eligible for the postseason for only the second time in 20 years.
The Notre Dame-Army football rivalry dates back to 1913, and the first contest between the teams, a 35-13 Notre Dame victory, is often heralded as the one that established the Fighting Irish as a national football brand in a 35-13 win. The last time these teams met was in 2010, when the Irish took home a 27-3 win in the first football game at the new Yankee Stadium. Tyler Eifert caught a touchdown pass, and Darrin Walls returned an interception 42 yards for a score. It was ND’s first appearance in the Bronx in 41 years. The triple-option gave the Irish problems when they faced Navy earlier that season, but Army was able to muster just 135 yards on the ground against the Irish.
What To Know About Notre Dame
The Irish have won 14 in a row in this series, but this year has obviously been a struggle for Brian Kelly’s squad, and the Black Knights are looking to hand the Irish their second straight loss to a service academy. One bright spot for ND last week was the play of DeShone Kizer, who completed 19 of 27 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns. He added 52 yards on the ground and did not have a turnover. However, he was unable to get back onto the field after the Irish scored their final points of the game midway through the fourth quarter. Trailing 28-24 with just over seven minutes left, Kelly had his Fighting Irish attempt a 31-yard field goal on a fourth-and-4 from Navy’s 14-yard line. While the kick was good, the Irish never were able to get the ball back. Navy’s triple-option offense converted two fourth-down tries on the final drive, killing the rest of the time on the clock to give the Middies their fourth win over the Irish since 1963.
What to Know About Army
The Black Knights have no specific bowl tie-in this year and probably needs to win their next two games against Notre Dame and Morgan State before their season finale against Navy on Dec. 10 to have a chance to play in the postseason. The postseason slate is supposed to be finalized on the first Sunday of December, but the Black Knights don’t play the Midshipmen until the following Saturday. Throw in the fact that Army has two FCS squads on its schedule, and nothing is guaranteed. However, the time may be right to take advantage of an Irish team that has underwhelmed all year. The fact that ND will have seen an option team just seven days prior could be an advantage for the Irish, but they did allow Navy to rush for 320 yards on 56 carries for a 5.7 yards per carry average. So it’s up to the Irish to stay disciplined for an entire game and not allow big gallops by the Army backs.
Offense: Even. The Irish are potent when Kizer is playing well, while the Army option attack is a beautiful thing to watch when it’s clicking.
Defense: Army. The Black Knights are holding opposing offenses to just 286.4 yards per contest.
Special Teams: Even. Neither team has had strong special teams throughout the season.
Coaching: Even. Jeff Monken’s squad has suffered some tough losses this season that would have made bowl eligibility a bit easier, while Kelly is having his worst season as ND’s head man.
Intangibles: Army. The Irish need to win out against Army, Virginia Tech and USC to become bowl eligible, but that seems to be a long shot as Kelly is enduring his worst season in seven years in South Bend.
Matchup To Watch
Army option attack vs. ND defensive front
Air Force held Navy to 57 yards on the ground, 259 yards below its average. Last week, the Falcons limited Army to 144 yards on 40 rushes despite the Black Knights entering the game ranked second in the nation in rushing with a 342-yard average. The Falcons are better-equipped to stop option teams, while the Irish were just run over by Navy. No amount of offense will carry the Irish this week if they cannot stop the Army ground game.
Spread: Notre Dame -11
Notre Dame vs. Army Prediction
Going strictly off of a hunch, I think the fact that Notre Dame just saw Navy ‘s option attack will help the Irish defense. Army will get its share of yards, but Kizer will be able to find Equanimeous St. Brown and Torii Hunter Jr. on a fairly consistent basis as the Irish take control in the latter part of the contest to get a win over the Black Knights.
Notre Dame vs. Army Score Prediction: Notre Dame 34, Army 23