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Will BYU be able to slow Notre Dame’s rushing attack?

No. 16 BYU has a great opportunity to climb up the rankings with a win over the Fighting Irish in an NFL stadium

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Notre Dame running back Chris Tyree runs against California in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

Notre Dame running back Chris Tyree runs against California in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. The BYU defense could have its hands full containing the Irish run game on Saturday in Vegas.

Michael Conroy, Associated Press

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BYU will take its No. 16 ranking to Las Vegas and an NFL stadium to play the storied Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday. To win will take a far better effort than the Cougars have showed in the past three games, two of them wins over Wyoming and USU. As an independent program, this is what the Cougars have had to pin their hopes and goals upon and this game represents a great opportunity.

Cougar Insiders Predictions

Predict the score of BYU-Notre Dame in Las Vegas and explain your reasoning.

Jay Drew: The Cougars get a do-over, of sorts, to win a big game on the national stage Saturday when they meet the Fighting Irish in Las Vegas. They crapped out — that’s a gambling term — three weeks ago at Oregon, playing flatly in a 41-20 loss. I expect a better performance from the Cougars this time at Allegiant Stadium, but I am picking the Irish to win for two reasons. One, Notre Dame is coming off a bye week, and coach Marcus Freeman readily admitted they used a lot of their bye week to make preparations for the Cougars.

Two, Notre Dame is playing better football right now. The Irish looked dominant in that big win over North Carolina on Sept. 24, while the Cougars have looked vulnerable in wins over Wyoming and Utah State. BYU has the advantage at quarterback and should — should — have a better offensive line, but ND is better almost everywhere else. Bottom line is I just don’t see BYU being able to slow Notre Dame’s rushing attack.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, BYU 28

Dick Harmon: If you give me the BYU team that defeated Baylor, played extremely clean, didn’t miss tackles and stopped the run in both overtimes that night, I’d like the Cougars in Las Vegas to defeat Notre Dame. But we haven’t see that team the past three weeks. The question becomes, can BYU just flip a switch on and off and play error-free and get off to fast starts? There is doubt.

Baylor and Oregon had significant advantages in past recruiting class rankings and that’s the case with Notre Dame this week only the differential is much greater. In past years dating back to 2018, the Irish recruiting classes ranked by 247Sports were 10th, 15th, 17th, 9th and 7th for a five-year average of 10. BYU’s is 78th, 81st, 78th, 72nd and 55th for a five-year average of 66. That’s a lot of overachieving, almost a call for perfect play to overcome the talent gap. 

BYU can do that, we’ve seen it against Baylor, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, ASU and Utah. I agree with Aaron Roderick that his offense can move the ball on anybody in the country. But based on the past three games, sloppiness is a worry and so too is a slow start. If BYU’s defense can’t stop Notre Dame’s run game, Roderick’s offense will just watch from the sideline. This is how Boise State, Coastal Carolina, Oregon and Alabama-Birmingham beat BYU. I’ll give Sitake the benefit of the doubt on this one because I’ve seen him get it done before.

BYU 31, Notre Dame 28.

Cougar Tales

Jaren Hall and his merry gang of receivers exploded for huge plays in leading BYU past Utah State in LaVell Edwards Stadium last Saturday. Here are headlines from our coverage of that contest:

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

Extra Points

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers

Maybe Fesi should be coaching the defense. They are undisciplined and tackle like my grandmother.

— Kent DeForest

Pass blocking also has been pretty good or at least good enough to give Hall time to deliver the ball to these guys, that have been much better than anticipated in relief.

The offensive line is terrible at run blocking even against far smaller lines. Both lines would be much better if they played with a little more enthusiasm and purpose. They seem like they are just going through the motions. Unless the lines play better, look for a 7-5 season.

— Periloustimes

I’m not predicting nor expecting a BYU win against ND or Arkansas. For 3 weeks Kalani has said it’s his fault his team isn’t playing well and nothing changes. They keep getting outplayed by some seriously inferior teams, considering BYUs age, depth, and experience. Kalani’s teams play down to their competition and never keep the pedal down, but do often manage to play up to big time teams. It’s impressive he has beaten teams like Wisconsin, USC, and Tennessee on the road, in their house. That alone makes me think that’s the reason this team will be very ready for this game. It appears all the receivers are available and healthy, and they will need that to keep up with the Irish who just scored so many points on the road in their last game.

— RR

Up next

Oct. 5 | 7 p.m. | Soccer | vs. San Francisco | @Provo

Oct. 6 | 7 p.m. | Women’s volleyball | vs. Santa Clara | @Provo

Oct. 7-8 | TBA | Men’s tennis | Santa Barbara Classic

Oct. 8 | 5:30 p.m. | Football | vs. Notre Dame | @Las Vegas