In a matchup of giants - Notre Dame and its 46th ranked offense play host to the Pitt Panthers and their 54th ranked defense this Saturday. All kidding aside, this should be an even matchup that will end up produce a 2nd win in a row for coach Kelly.
When talking about Pittsburgh during his weekly press conference, Brian Kelly did emphasize that the things to look for was Hynoski, the fullback that could be tricky to control as they use him and his size in a number of ways in their offense(watch for the 260lbs bulldozer to test the defense early). Having Graham at running back and seeing Dion Lewis returning from injury should mean that this will be another challenge with the run defense. However, when asked about the farthest to go on the progress chart, Brian Kelly only said that protecting the ball and consistency in performance were the "two things he didn`t feel they had made enough progress on" . That last statement makes me uneasy - going against a team that has the weapons to run the ball, with a team that believes is now doing a good job defending the run. After one game. Sure, against BC - and I can now say that I was there and I did see it - the Irish did a great job stopping the run. Let's face it - Boston College's Montel Harris is no Dion Lewis. If the Irish want to win, they will have to prove once again, that they can protect the ball, stop the run and show some of the sparks that put the game away in the first quarter against the Eagles last week.
However, it is also true that the momentum is clearly not on Dave Wannstedt side. Pitt's only 2 wins came against New Hampshire and Florida International. Miami, really took it to them with Jacory Harris burning them for 250 yards through the air en route to a 31-3 win. Can Dayne Crist do the same? No doubt. Has he shown that with Riddick, Floyd and Rudolph he can spread the ball at will. Absolutely. He has 10 TDs to 4 interceptions after 5 games. For , the challenge will be on facing a 3-4 defensive scheme. ???It is different. Utah was a little bit of an under scheme, they ran a little bit of 3-4. But really, the last few weeks have all been 4-3 teams, so there will be a little more required of our players from the standpoint of focusing in, and making sure we get our hats, our blocks on the right people. Anytime you???re seeing different schemes you have to make sure that you???re not doing a little too much, then what you???re doing is enough to go out and execute.???
If ND can stop the run in the first quarter and put some points on the board, they will win this game. I believe they will and it should be in line with the oddsmakers that put the Irish favored by 6. I will go and call 34-28 for the Irish. Thought welcome as always.