Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Fighting Irish and Hokies on Saturday in South Bend, IN.
Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
TV Broadcast: NBC
The Fighting Irish (4-6) had an easy time last week against Army in San Antonio, as quarterback DeShone Kizer threw for three touchdowns and collected 72 of Notre Dame’s season-high 261 rushing yards in a 44-6 win. The fun began when C.J. Sanders returned the opening kickoff for a score, and it was smooth sailing for a team that was coming off of a 28-27 loss to Navy.
Meanwhile, the Hokies (7-3, 5-2 ACC) are coming off of a brutal performance at home in a loss to Georgia Tech, which won with backup quarterback Matthew Jordan, who rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 30-20 win. GT sacked Jerod Evans five times, as the Hokies offense could not muster much against the Yellow Jackets.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs. In three games against common foes, both Notre Dame and Virginia Tech beat Miami; the Hokies defeated Duke and lost to Syracuse; and ND beat Syracuse and lost to Duke. ND is seeking back-to-back wins for the first time since enjoying a six-game streak in 2015, while VT is seeking to avoid consecutive losses for the first time under Justin Fuente.
What To Know About Notre Dame
In the win over Army, Kizer was 17 of 28 through the air for 209 yards with an interception before Malik Zaire took over for the fourth quarter. Tarean Folston and Josh Adams each rushed for a score, as Folston had 84 yards on 13 carries and Adams had 15 carries for 70 yards. Brian Kelly takes an 18-6 mark with the Irish against ACC foes, including a 2-2 record this season. When the Irish have played well, they have played very well. Notre Dame has a 40.8-19.0 scoring advantage in its four wins, but the Irish have been outscored 29.8-25.0 points per game in their six losses. The Black Knights were strong in a lot of defensive statistical categories entering last week’s game, but ND was in control from the start. It was a very balanced offensive effort, one that Kelly would have liked to see more of this year.
What to Know About Virginia Tech
The Hokies’ defense was gashed by Jordan, who made his first career start for the Yellow Jackets last week. He had 32 rushes and scored on runs of 53 and 3 yards. Offensively, Virginia Tech needs to find its groove once again. The Hokies hadn’t turned the ball over in their previous three games but had four giveaways against the Yellow Jackets. The week prior VT had just a field goal in the second half against Duke, it failed to score in the first half last week against the Jackets and gained a big chunk of their yards on their final two drives when trailing 30-7 in the eventual loss to the Jackets.
Offense: Even. Virginia Tech has slightly better offensive numbers, but it’s a unit that has been in a funk. The Hokies will look to get back into offensive sync this week.
Defense: Virginia Tech. The Irish are improving, but Virginia Tech’s unit has been a little more consistent. However, the Hokies struggled last week against Georgia Tech.
Special Teams: Notre Dame. Sanders is an X-Factor every game because of his big-play return ability.
Coaching: Even. It has been a rough year for Kelly, but he can still salvage it with a bowl game. Meanwhile, Fuente was a fantastic hire for the Hokies.
Intangibles: Notre Dame. The Irish are coming off of a very good performance, and they will be playing at home.
Matchup To Watch
Sanders vs. Virginia Tech kickoff coverage team
The Sanders 92-yard kickoff return for a score definitely seemed to ignite the entire Irish team last week, and that explosiveness is what he can offer whenever he is on the field. Expect this to be a close contest, so one Sanders return could be the difference.
Spread: Notre Dame -1
Over/Under: No Line (as of post)
Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech Prediction
This matchup is difficult to project. Will the Irish go back to their old ways, giving up big plays on defense and stalling on their offensive drives? And will the Hokies finally get back in sync on offense and bounce back from a tough defensive performance? I think both offenses will light up the scoreboard, but the Hokies defense makes one big stand at the end to prevent an Irish win and knock them out of bowl contention.
Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech Score Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, Notre Dame 30