Notre Dame-No. 16 BYU: Staff game predicitons

Sometimes you look up, see you’re a week into October and all of a sudden that disastrous start to the 2022 season for Notre Dame feels like it was a lifetime ago.  

That’s almost certainly how things will feel for the Irish if they’re able to take care of business in the Shamrock Series game Saturday night in Las Vegas against a solid BYU team.

But just as easily, if things go south in this one it would feel like a massive step back after a strong showing in North Carolina to close September 2-2 ahead of last week’s bye.

So what happens Saturday night in Sin City and is it the first step in a favorable October that could see Notre Dame go unbeaten for the month?

Here is what the Fighting Irish Wire staff sees happening Saturday night:

Geoffrey Clark (2-2): This feels to me like a carbon copy of the North Carolina game, at least going in. The Cougars have a quarterback who matches up well with just about any of them, but the defense leaves a little to be desired. 

Geoffrey Clark (2-2): What’s more, the Irish tend to show up big during these Shamrock Series games, and this is a team that will do whatever it takes to shine on the big stage. 

Geoffrey Clark (2-2): If that means the Irish have to slow the game down and make it ugly enough to just pull off the win, so be it, and they can do it if both units are good enough in a given contest. Notre Dame 24, BYU 21

Michael Chen (2-2): This game confuses me, for multiple reasons. Notre Dame is the favorite, away from their home stadium, against a top 25 team. It doesn’t make much sense but the hometown oddsmakers know something. 

Michael Chen (2-2): Between the two teams, the Cougars boast the best win of the season, a double-overtime win against a very solid Baylor team. Since that win, BYU has lost to Oregon and defeated two barely above average teams. 

Michael Chen (2-2): The Irish finally started to play some solid football, then a bye week. Which Notre Dame team shows up? If it’s the Marshall version, it might be a long night. I’d be willing to bet the North Carolina version and the winning streak hits three games but it won’t be easy. Notre Dame 31 BYU 28

John Kennedy (3-1): The Sin City Shamrock Showdown between provides Notre Dame a prime opportunity to start the “Salvage the Season” tour by knocking off a top 20 team and maintaining the momentum gained from the North Carolina win. 

John Kennedy (3-1): I think this is a favorable matchup for Notre Dame and they pick up where they left off in Chapel Hill. Yes, BYU QB Jaren Hall will make some big plays, but ultimately Notre Dame will win the day up front on both sides of the ball and eventually suffocate and wear down BYU.

John Kennedy (3-1): I expect the Irish to rack up gaudy rushing numbers and also hold BYU’s rush number low. This will force Hall into too many dangerous 3rd and long passing situations the Irish will eventually feast on. 

John Kennedy (3-1): I feel this matchup favors Notre Dame handedly up front, an area rapidly improving on both sides of the ball and this fact will dictate the evening’s result. Notre Dame 35, BYU 27

Jeff Feyerer (3-1): BYU is definitely a scary squad coming in. Quarterback Jaren Hall is one of the best in the country, is completing over 70 percent of his passes and possesses the requisite mobility to make life more difficult for the Notre dame pass rush. 

Jeff Feyerer (3-1): The Cougars skill position athletes are talented. The Cougars defense, independent of level of competition, is only giving up 4.9 yards per play. They also have two playmakers at linebacker in Max Tooley and Ben Bywater that I can already guarantee I will be annoyed with by the end of Saturday’s game. 

Jeff Feyerer (3-1): But for my pick for the game, despite the Top 25 ranking and the talent BYU obviously possesses, I’m going to lean on the comment from Notre Dame’s young running back Audric Estime. 

Jeff Feyerer (3-1): The players they have don’t match the players Notre Dame has. We’re a few weeks removed from the stench of Marshall and the sting of Tyler Buchner’s injury. A few wins are under their belt. 

Jeff Feyerer (3-1): They’re headed to a neutral site with momentum. Coming off a bye, I like this even more. I expect Estime to back up his words with a 100 yard effort on the ground and I hope upon hope that the force-feeding the ball to Michael Mayer is done. BYU will key on him. Get Chris Tyree out in space. Hit lorenzo styles on some crossers. Thrive. The Irish move to 3-2. Notre Dame 35, BYU 23

Nick Shepkowski (3-1): When I look at this game I look at the biggest offensive strength of both squads and try to determine who has the better chance of stopping or at least slowing down the other’s.  

Nick Shepkowski (3-1): The Cougars have given up over 200 yards on the ground in two of their last three games and Notre Dame will be chomping at the bit to attack that in hopes of opening some passing lanes and making life easier for Drew Pyne.  

Nick Shepkowski (3-1): On defense I keep going back to what Notre Dame did to Ohio State’s defense.  Keep plays in front of you and make BYU patiently work their way down field instead of allowing some huge plays like was done at North Carolina and the Irish should be in business. Notre Dame 27, BYU 23

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