This is my in-depth preview and prediction of the Notre Dame-Georgia Tech football game on September 1st.
Table of Content
- Team Information
- Series Background
- Impact Players
- Key Matchups
- Score Prediction
- Stats Prediction
1) Team Information
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
National Championships (1936-present)-8
Stadium-Notre Dame Stadium
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Stadium-Bobby Dodd Stadium
2) Series Background
Notre Dame leads series 27-5-1. The Irish won the first game they played 13-3. The last meeting was last year. Notre Dame won 14-10. The famous Rudy game was also against Georgia Tech.
QB-Demetrius Jones/Jimmy Clausen/Evan Sharpley
4) Impact Players
Notre Dame Impact Players
The Starting QB-This is going to be his first start. He will have to do well. This game relies on him. The question is who is he? This will not be known until the game gets closer. Will it be Demetrius Jones, the mobile Vince Young-like QB? Will it be Evan Sharpley, the game manager? Or will it be Jimmy Clausen, the California golden boy? My educated guess is Demetrius Jones. Remember. The Ramblin' Wreck lost to Pat White and West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. Jones plays very similar to White. I think that will decide this uber-close QB race.
Tom Zbikowski-Zibby did not perform as well as expected last year. That hasn't affected the hype this year. He is still being predicted to be an All-American by many experts. He has had nine touchdowns in his career. 3 punt, 3 interception, 3 fumble returns. He is a big play safety who makes a big impact.
Maurice Crum-Crum is in his first year as a captain. He is expected to be the field general on defense. He is a great player, but he needs to be more. He is a middle linebacker. He is the quarterback of the defense. The defense will need him to make a difference.
Georgia Tech Impact Players
Phillip Wheeler-Wheeler is the best linebacker in the ACC. He is a good pass rusher and run stopper. He has to provide pressure on the new quarterback. The QB will be talented enough that if you give him time, he will destroy you. If he applies pressure, they will force turnovers.
Taylor Bennett-Bennett is about as experienced as the new Fighting Irish QB. Sure he started the Gator Bowl, but he didn't get the win. Also, he isn't going to have Calvin Johnson to throw to as he did in the Gator Bowl. He will have to allow Tashard Choice to control the beginning of the game while he gets adjusted.
Demaryius Thomas-Thomas has to fill HUGE shoes. Calvin Johnson is the best player in recent Jackets history. Thomas isn't going to be as good as Johnson. Anyone who thinks this is deceiving themselves. But he has the talent to do great and win this game for the Jackets. He will also have to play well so Bennett will adjust.
5) Key Matchups
Notre Dame's Starting QB versus Phillip Wheeler-This is the most important matchup. While the hype will surround the starting quarterback, Wheeler will control the matchup. If he is able to stop the run, all of the pressure will be on the quarterback to perform. If he can blitz well, he will force turnovers. For this reason, I think Demetrius Jones will start the game. That means that Notre Dame will have a more agile quarterback to avoid the heavy Ramblin' Wreck blitz.
Taylor Bennett versus Tom Zbikowski-Zibby is a great safety. He can hit hard and make big tackles, but he is also very good in coverage. If he can force a turnover early, he will hurt Bennett's confidence. This will affect the entire game. The team with the quarterback who is most composed will win.
6) Notre Dame 21, Georgia Tech 17-Notre Dame just has a more talented team. Even after the losses of personnel, they still have strong leadership from Travis Thomas and Tom Zbikowski. The Irish also have more depth at wide receiver, cornerbacks, and linebacker. That will give them the win.
Passing: Demetrius Jones-10 for 18, 162 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception.
Rushing: Travis Thomas-13 rushes, 52 yards; James Aldridge-21 rushes, 81 carries, two touchdowns; Armando Allen-6 rushes, 21 yards; Junior Jabbie-2 rushes, 12 yards.
Receiving: David Grimes-3 catches, 71 yards, one touchdown (53 yard touchdown catch); DJ Hord-2 catches, 17 yards; George West-2 catches, 22 yards; John Carlson-3 catches, 52 yards.
Passing: Taylor Bennett-23 for 44, 201 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
Rushing: Tashard Choice-28 carries, 113 yards, Mike Cox-3 carries, 13 yards
Receiving: Demaryius Thomas-7 catches, 41 yards, one touchdown; Tashard Choice-5 catches, 31 yards; Colin Peek-3 catches, 29 yards; James Johnson-4 catches, 65 yards, one touchdown; Greg Smith-4 catches, 35 yards.
GAME MVP-David Grimes, Notre Dame
Notre Dame (1-0)
Georgia Tech (0-1)