Through all of its struggles this season, Notre Dame still has a chance for a bowl Game, although that seems like a long shot given the Schedule. The Fighting Irish host a Virginia Tech team that could’ve already locked up the ACC Coastal division if it weren’t for some upsets. The Irish were seen as -1 point favorites early in the week.
Virginia Tech is still the favorite to make the ACC title Game, but the Hokies haven’t made it easy on themselves, losing to Syracuse and most recently at home against Georgia Tech. Still, through a favorable Schedule and an upset at UNC, they’ll be in the title Game if they can beat Virginia in the final week.
While Va. Tech has been inconsistent, Notre Dame has just been bad. Losses to Navy, Duke and NC State stick out on the Schedule, but a win over Miami shows that the Irish still have it in them. In fact, every one of their six losses this season has come by eight points or less, so that’s at least a positive.
In the first meeting ever between these teams, the Irish defense is the biggest unknown. They’ve picked it up in recent Games, but haven’t exactly played the best offenses. The Hokies can have a good offense as seen in wins over Pitt and Miami, but then they also only scored 20 points against Georgia Tech. Which one will show up in this Game?
There’s no denying quarterback Jerod Evans has been great for the Hokies this season, a step up from previous QBs. He’s completing 71.1% of his passes for 22 TDs and Four INTs in the air, but also leads the team in rushing with 608 yards and six more touchdowns. But against the Yellow Jackets, he threw two costly interceptions. It’d be ideal for Tech to get more out of running back Travon McMillian, but his success has been too inconsistent to count on.
Evans will need to rebound or VT could be headed for another last-minute loss. Of course, the same could be said for the Irish.
Notre Dame is kind of in the same boat, with a solid, dual-threat quarterback that can win Games by himself. DeShone Kizer has been good and is still highly rated with 22 TDs and eight INTs, but he doesn’t look improved from a year ago. Whether it’s having lesser skill players around him or a weaker offensive line, Kizer hasn’t been able to pull out wins consistently for his team.
Part of the problem is in the run Game that continues to struggle, whether it’s Josh Adams or Tarean Folston. If neither one of those guys can move the chains, everything will be on Kizer.
The line is nearing a pick ’em for a good reason. These teams are similar in a lot of aspects with Virginia Tech’s defense rated slightly higher than Notre Dame’s.
The Hokies are 1-4 ATS in their last five road Games and haven’t covered in their last seven road Games vs. a team with a losing home record. The Fighting Irish aren’t much better, failing to cover in their last six following an ATS win. However, they have covered in Four straight home Games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Our Pick – Notre Dame -1