Pick – Analysis
With multiple Top 25 matchups this weekend, this one may be the most interesting one, featuring non-Conference action. Georgia Tech once again looks like one of the best teams in the ACC, while Notre Dame will get to see exactly what new quarterback DeShone Kizer is made of. Because of that QB question, the Yellow Jackets are a -2.5 point road favorite (as of Monday at 5 Dimes).
Malik Zaire was set for a great season after starting off with an almost flawless opening Game against Texas in a 38-3 win. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle at Virginia on Saturday and will be out for the season. That puts a major damper on any kind of national title hopes the Fighting Irish fan base was hoping for. New quarterback DeShone Kizer is now the talk of the town and whether he can lead this team to the same amount of success that Zaire would have been able to, is up for debate.
Kizer is a redshirt freshman and even though he led the Irish to a road win against Virginia, he’s still a bit of a downgrade from Zaire. Because of Kizer, the Irish are now an underdog in this Game, as they more than likely would’ve been favored if Zaire was healthy.
The Irish looked great in their home opener, taking down Texas with ease, but Georgia Tech is going to be a bit different. While the Yellow Jackets haven’t had much competition (still easily covered their first two Games), this is still the same triple-option team of past years that carves through almost everyone they play. Through two Games, Tech has 915 rushing yards, 15 TDs, all with 8.5 yards per carry.
Notre Dame’s defense has been solid thus far, but facing a team like Georgia Tech isn’t the same as Texas or Virginia. against another triple-option team in 2014 — and a lesser version of GT — Notre Dame escaped 49-39 at Navy. While the Irish defense is a bit better this season, it can’t be ignored they allowed 336 rushing yards to Navy a year ago.
Georgia Tech has some new faces, but this is still a system and have plenty of talent in the backfield. Justin Thomas is back at quarterback and provides the experience on the offense, which should prove vital against a team like Notre Dame.
since the Irish will likely need to Scorea decent amount of points, a lot of pressure falls on Kizer in his first start. They’ll try and run the ball as much as possible with running back C.J. Prosise, who has looked solid in the first two Games (253 yards, 1 TD) with Tarean Folston out for the season.
It definitely wouldn’t be surprising to see a lot of points in this Game, but because of Kizer at quarterback, it’s also possible the Fighting Irish take a slower approach and slow the Game down. This is a tough task for the defense, but maybe even more so for the offense with Kizer leading the way. As a home underdog, can the Irish keep their playoff hopes alive?
Our Pick – Georgia Tech putting up 134 points in two Games (against cupcakes) and the season ending injury to Zaire actually create some nice value here on the Irish side. Last we checked, Zaire didn’t play defense and the Irish held Texas to just a field goal a couple of weeks ago at home. Would love to grab +3 or more but for now – Notre Dame +2.5