After a fantastic victory over Louisville last weekend, the Deacs now head to South Bend to take on a really tough Notre Dame team. The Irish are currently 7-1 overall, and sit at #3 in the CFB Playoff Rankings and #5 in the AP Top 25. Their only loss this season is a 1 point game against 8-0 Georgia, who ranks #1 and #2 respectively in the aforementioned polls. It should be pretty clear that Notre Dame is one of the best teams in the nation this year, and beating them in South Bend will be a very difficult task for the Deacs. With that in mind let’s take a look at a couple guys that will likely have a big impact in Saturday’s game.
Offense: Josh Adams | Junior RB | #33
Josh Adams is having a stellar year for the Fighting Irish. So far this season, he has run the ball 132 times for 1169 yards (8.9 avg) and 9 TDs. Those number have him in 5th place at 10/1 odds to win the Heisman trophy in Vegas. Notre Dame has even started the “33 Trucking” campaign for his Heisman push; Upon clicking on Josh Adams from the Notre Dame roster page, one will immediately be redirected to 33Trucking.com, which lists all of Adams’ stats and accolades from this season. Some of the more impressive numbers include: 7 runs of over 60 yards, 146.1 yards per game, 5.6 yards per carry after contact, and 92 yards per game after contact. On top of those impressive numbers, Adams has also gone for over 200 yards twice this season and is coming off a 27 carry, 202 yard, 1 TD performance against an NC State defense that hadn’t allowed a 100 yard rusher all season. The Deacs didn’t do a great job stopping Adams the last time they took on the Irish; As a Freshman in 2015, Adams ran the ball 17 times for 141 yards and a TD in a 28-7 win over Wake Forest. Hopefully the Deacon defense can keep Adams from adding some more incredible numbers to his Heisman resume this Saturday.
Defense: Julian Love | Sophomore DB | #27
Julian Love is having a solid second year on a defense that is now being led by ex-Deacon Mike Elko. Through 8 games, Love has recorded 30 total tackles, 2 interceptions (both for TDs) and 11 passes defended. He is currently tied for 4th in the nation in passes defended per game at 1.6. The Fighting Irish rush defense is very solid; Notre Dame gives up just 116 yards per game on the ground, good for the 16th best rush defense in the nation. If the Deacs are unable to consistently run the ball on Saturday, they will obviously be forced into passing situations. Combine a great coverage corner like Love with the loss of freshman phenom Greg Dortch, and the Wake Forest passing attack could struggle this weekend. If Love can shut down his man in 1 on 1 coverage, the Irish will be able to move more guys into the box to stop the run or blitz, which would seriously hinder the Deacs from moving the ball.