Notre Dame (7-0) at Oklahoma (5-1, 3-1)
Saturday, October 27th
7:00 pm (CST)
Opponent Blog: One Foot Down
Irish Scouting Report
This game was huge from the moment it was scheduled but now it has become epic. All eyes in the nation will be on Oklahoma and Notre Dame as they play on national television in prime time. ESPN's College Gameday will be in town which just about guarantees that the hype machine will be in full effect for the winner.
The Irish have reached their seven wins by playing stingy defense and running the football. Notre Dame is 77th in the nation in scoring offense (25.9 ppg) and accomplishes the majority of their offense on the ground. Led by senior running back Theo Riddick (143 yards on 15 carries last week against BYU) Notre Dame is averaging 193.9 rushing yards per game, which ranks them 38th nationally.
Passing is a bit of a different story. The Irish have used both sophomore Everett Golson and junior Tommy Rees at the quarterback position. Golson sat out last week's BYU game with a concussion and the Cougars held Rees to just a 43.8% completion percentage with a touchdown and an interception. Notre Dame averages 194 passing yards per game, which ranks them 100th nationally. That said, you won't want to fall asleep on tight end Tyler Eifert who is averaging 16.8 yards per reception.
The defensive side of the ball is where the Irish are making waves and proving to be dominant. Notre Dame hasn't given up a rushing touchdown this season and they rank second nationally in scoring defense by holding their opponents to an average of just 9.4 points per game.
Linebacker Manti Te'o is a huge part of Notre Dame's defensive success. He leads the team with 69 total tackles, has 2.5 sacks and is tied for the most interceptions at four. If there was a definition of a one-man wrecking crew on the football field, it would be Te'o.
Notre Dame isn't sloppy on pass defense either. They have allowed five passing touchdowns this season but have also nabbed twelve interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 54.7% of their passes against the Irish for an average of 174 yards per game. Corner back Jackson Bennett has four interceptions on the season to go along with his 30 tackles.
Ben Turk is averaging 40.9 yards per punt, with six kicks of fifty yards or more, and has pinned opponents inside their own twenty eight times this season. Place kicker Kyle Brindza has connected on 73.3% of his field goal attempts this season but is 1-3 beyond 40 yards. He's perfect on extra points this season. In the return game, George Atkinson III is averaging 19.4 yards per kickoff return and Davonte' Neal a paltry 2.8 yards per punt return.