CFB Week 4 Preview – Notre Dame @ Wisconsin 17:00 UK Time (12:00 EST). Week 4 of College Football, much like last week, boasts some real mouth-watering match-ups. You’ve got Texas Tech @ Texas, Texas A&M @ Arkansas, Rutgers @ Michigan and Nebraska @ Michigan State. In this article I will be focusing on the clash between the Fighting Irish and the Badgers.
With many people haven already tipped this game to be an immensely important one at the start of the season, it sure looks like it will be. ESPN certainly believe its the biggest game of the day and have chose it for their ‘College Gameday’. With Wisconsin losing a closely contested game with Penn State in the 1st game of the season and Notre Dame having a less than pretty 3-0 start to the season, the loser of this game will surely forfeit all Playoff aspirations. The last time these two teams faced each other was in 1964, when the Irish emerged victorious.
The Fighting Irish
As a self-professed Notre Dame fan, i’m quite excited for this one. I first started following Notre Dame a few years ago. I had been watching College Football for a bit and it was time to choose a team to follow. As a native of Ireland, it was a fairly easy decision to choose Notre Dame. It will certainly be our first real test of the season against a strong team. Admittedly I thought that test would’ve came in the 1st week against Florida State, but as their recent results have shown, they are a much poorer team than many suggested at the start of the season. We’re a much stronger team than the Seminoles and it concerns me that it took OT to defeat them.
A player who will either be Notre Dames downfall or success in the game is former Wisconsin Badger, Jack Coan. I know that a lot of fans are calling for backup QB, Tyler Buckner, to start the game. After Coan had less than impressive games against Purdue and Toledo. Although Buchner is the future of this team and certainly brings a different spark to the game,I’m all but sure that Brian Kelly will start Coan. I do believe that Coan possesses the talent and leadership that Notre Dame need to overcome this Wisconsin team. He’s averaged just under 300 yards per game and threw 8 TDs so far this season. Although he has threw 2 INTs already. With the run game looking like it could be shut out all day, Coan and the receiving core will have to show up big time for the Irish.
On the defensive side of the ball the Fighting Irish will be looking to the Edge rushing combo of Foskey and Tagovailoa-Amosa. Who together have already put 25 pressures on the opposing QB for 6 sacks. These two will be instrumental for the Irish in the game. As Wisconsin QB, Graham Mertz, has been dreadful when pressured and doesn’t get enough time to make the right read.
Wisconsin didn’t get of to a great start in their 1st game of the season. Losing a closely contested game to a Penn State team that’s now ranked 6th in the nation. They’re just off a 2 week bye, so we’ll either see a somewhat rusty Wisconsin team or a rejuvenated one, ready to take on the Fighting Irish
The standout for Wisconsin is their defense, specifically their rush defense. In their 2 games they’ve only allowed 66 yards, the best in the Nation. The Notre Dame run game has got of to a sluggish start in the 1st few games. Only 396 yards gained (with backup QB, Buckner, getting just under 100 of them) and 4.5 yards per attempt. With the fantastic Wisconsin run defense it seems that the Fighting Irish running-backs of Chris Tyree and Kyren Williams could be rendered mute the whole game. A major thing that the Wisconsin defense will have to be prepped for is stopping the Irish in the Redzone. Notre Dame have the best Redzone Offense in the Nation with 100% efficiency, if the Badgers want to win this game they’re going to have to come up with a solution to this.
With a poor QB who struggles when pressured, its easy to imagine that a lot of Wisconsin’s game will be on the ground. They have 2 fantastic players in the backfield in Issac Guerendo and Chez Mellusi. Both of whom have combined for 413 yards and 3 TDs in their 2 games. Its hard to gauge how good the Irish defense is against the run right now. In their last game against Purdue, they only gave up 57 yards but in the game against Florida State they gave up a whopping 264.
Undrafted’s Notre Dame Talent Watch – Kyle Hamilton S
Its been so hard not to talk about this young man so far. I finally get to now though. This man is a STUD. He’s one of the best players I’ve watched in a while and usually I have no love for defensive players. Hamilton just knows the game inside out, he reads the game, ball and opposing players with ease. Undrafted’s own Alex graded him as the 4th best Safety in the Nation at the start of the season. In my opinion, Hamilton has smashed all expectations of him so far and sit comfortably at the NO.1 spot.
Hamilton’s made 3 INTs already this season, 2 of them coming against Florida State. For his 1st INT against Florida State, Hamilton made a freakishly athletic play, he read the QBs eyes and covered 3/4 of the field to snatch before the receiver. There’s one play that he made against Purdue showcased why he should be a top-10 pick in Aprils draft. My words wouldn’t do this play justice so ill link it here
Undrafted’s Wisconsin Talent Watch – Chez Mellusi RB
All signs point to the Wisconsin running-back having a fantastic day. With most of Wisconsin game looking like it will be forced through on the ground and a somewhat suspect Notre Dame defense on the otherside. The transfer from Clemson should add to his 265 yards and 2 TDs that hes got already in his two games. Mellusi showed great patience and vision in his previous game, waiting for gaps to appear and taking his opportunities. On one play he found a hole and ran for 60 yards. The running-back who has been likened to former Badger, Jonathan Taylor, will be instrumental for Wisconsin if they hope to overcome the Irish.
CFB Week 4 Preview – Notre Dame @ Wisconsin