EDITORIAL BY GRAYDON FOX
On Saturday, September 15th, the (2-0) Vanderbilt Commodores will be on the road to take on the (2-0) Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The Crowd projects a final score of Notre Dame 33.2 – Vanderbilt 19.8 with an over/under of 53.0.
Lou Holtz and Mark May:
Lou is predicting a final score of Notre Dame 31 – Vanderbilt 10.
Mark is predicting a final score of Vanderbilt 23 – Notre Dame 21.
2018-19 Statistics (130 total teams):
Passing offense: Notre Dame 233.5 YPG > Vanderbilt 220.0 YPG
Rushing offense: Vanderbilt 187.0 YPG > Notre Dame 124.5 YPG
Scoring offense: Vanderbilt 38.0 PPG > Notre Dame 24.0 PPG
Scoring defense: Vanderbilt 8.5 PPG > Notre Dame 16.5 PPG
Passing defense: Vanderbilt 197.0 YPG > Notre Dame 214.5 YPG
Rushing defense: Vanderbilt 75.0 YPG > Notre Dame 113.5 YPG
Turnover Margin Per Game: Vanderbilt +2.0 > Notre Dame 0.0
Notre Dame’s stout defense has carried them in the early portion of the season especially their lockdown secondary. It was a bit shocking to see Ball State rush for nearly 170 yards against the Fighting Irish but I deem that an anomaly. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush has completed just 54% of his passes for 467 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions on the season. After losing star lineman Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey to the pros, the Fighting Irish have struggled to run the football this season. Wimbush, who rushed for over 800 yards a season ago, is averaging just 1.7 yards per carry. Notre Dame proved against Michigan they can turn up their level of play against the upper echelon teams.
Vanderbilt is turning some heads with their fast start to the season ranking 7th in the country in points allowed (7.5 PPG). The Commodores, on their home turf, dominated both Middle Tennessee and Nevada in their opening two games scoring 35+ points in each contest. The Vanderbilt secondary in particular looked strong shutting down two teams known for racking up high numbers in the passing game. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur has completed 67% of his passes for 428 yards with four touchdowns to zero interceptions. Vanderbilt features a stable of running backs who collectively are averaging nearly five yards per carry.
Notre Dame’s offensive line needs to step up so they can get back to that dominant rushing attack that made them so successful a season ago. Brandon Wimbush is not accurate enough as a passer to be relied upon to make plays when the running game is ineffective. Vanderbilt will keep it close, but if the Fighting Irish protect the football, they will win this one at home.
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