Notre Dame vs. Miami prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Fighting Irish and Hurricanes on Saturday in South Bend, IN.
Notre Dame vs. Miami Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
TV Broadcast: NBC
The Fighting Irish (2-5) had a bye last weekend, which was a much-needed break from a nightmarish season. Brian Kelly’s squad dropped a 17-10 contest to Stanford in South Bend the last time out, and the momentum changed when cornerback Quenton Meeks intercepted a DeShone Kizer pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. It helped rally the Cardinal back from a 10-point deficit.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes (4-3, 1-3 ACC) are having their own problems, as they have dropped three games in a row following their 4-0 start. The latest defeat was at Virginia Tech, which scored a 37-16 win behind eight sacks of Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya, who threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. The ‘Canes did not get a great performance from the rushing duo of Joe Yearby and Mark Walton, as the pair combined for just 97 yards on 20 rushes, and 41 of those came on one Yearby run.
The last time these teams played was at Chicago’s Soldier Field in 2012, which was the season the Irish advanced to face Alabama in the BCS title game. Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III gave Notre Dame its first 100-yard rushing duo in a decade, and Everett Golson came off the bench to lead the team to a 41-3 victory in a game that certainly lacked the “Catholics vs. Convicts” luster.
What To Know About Notre Dame
Kelly replaced Kizer with Malik Zaire for three possessions against the Cardinal in an attempt to spark the offense and infuse some energy into the team, but the lefty could not get anything going. Kizer will start this week, but don’t be surprised if we see Zaire or even Brandon Wimbush see action. Kelly knows that this is a lost season in terms of the record, so the attention turns to the player development aspect of the program now. If there was a positive to come out of the loss to Stanford, it was the play of the defense. It had given up at least 30 points to the first four Power Five opponents it had faced this season, but it was able to hold such an opponent to 17 points or less for a second week in a row. Of course, Stanford was without Christian McCaffrey and the NC State game was played in the treacherous weather from Hurricane Matthew. Defensive baby steps, but the Irish will take them.
What to Know About Miami
The Hurricanes’ ACC Coastal division drought will continue, as they have never won the division since joining the league in 2004 and will not this year. The defense the ‘Canes fielded against Virginia Tech was without three starters and featured four freshmen getting significant snaps, so it’s a unit that is becoming a shell of its early season self. Offensively, the inability to run put the onus on Kaaya to carry the load. But the offensive line struggled against the Hokies defensive front, so the ‘Canes could do little on offense.
Offense: Even. This is about as even as a matchup can get. The Hurricanes are averaging 414.4 total yards per game compared to 413.9 for the Irish.
Defense: Miami. The ‘Canes are giving up 343.4 yards per game compared to 399.9 for the Irish. However, ND has looked better the last two weeks and the ‘Canes are hurting. So this may be more even than anything, but ‘Canes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has still done a nice job in his first season in Coral Gables.
Special Teams: Even. Both teams have their issues, although Hurricanes kicker Michael Badgley has missed three field goals from 40 yards and below.
Coaching: Even. Kelly has endured a rough season in South Bend, but he took the Irish to a BCS title game. Meanwhile, Richt has changed the culture at Miami, and the ‘Canes will be fine in the long run despite this three-game skid.
Intangibles: Notre Dame. The Irish are at home and know they are facing a beaten bunch.
Matchup To Watch
Equanimeous St. Brown vs. Miami secondary
St. Brown had a very strong start to the season, as he had at least 75 yards in his first five games to go along with six scores. But he has not found the end zone the last two weeks and has a combined six catches over that same span. Last week against the Hokies, Miami allowed 272 passing yards, and three Hokie receivers had at least 64 yards. There will be room to roam for St. Brown, so Kizer just needs to look his way.
Spread: Notre Dame -1
Over/Under: No Line (as of post)
Notre Dame vs. Miami Prediction
This certainly isn’t the sexiest Notre Dame-Miami game in series history, but it’s an important one. Both teams are desperate for wins, and both will field a lot of youth. The ‘Canes are still fighting for a bowl bid, while Kelly just needs a win. I think we’ll see a more complete ND effort than we’ve seen all season, and the youth and lack of depth on the Hurricanes defense will be exposed.
Notre Dame vs. Miami Score Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Miami 20