Notre Dame Can't Afford to Overlook Northwestern
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Northwestern Wildcats will meet on Saturday at Ryan Field. Notre Dame can't afford to look past a solid Northwestern squad with Florida State on deck next week at home.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Notre Dame -9.5; O/U: 50.
Notre Dame marches forward to a possible undefeated season as it visits Northwestern on Saturday evening. The third-ranked Fighting Irish are coming off a easy win over Navy. The Wildcats got a huge home win over Wisconsin and are in the driver's seat to win the Big Ten West.
Notre Dame took care of business as a 22.5-point favorite in San Diego. Running back Dexter Williams gashed Navy for 142 yards and three touchdowns in the 44-22 win.
Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson ran for two scores and threw for another as the Wildcats upset previously ranked Wisconsin 31-17.
Notre Dame is 8-0 and Northwestern is possibly the toughest opponent left on the schedule with Florida State being down this season.
The Fighting Irish were focused on getting its running game back on track after a mediocre performance two weeks ago. Williams delivered with a some help from Jafar Armstrong, who had nine carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. Armstrong was playing in his first game since Sept. 22.
Quarterback Ian Book is the key to the Irish offense. His stat line of 27-of-33 for 330 yards and two touchdowns increased his season totals to 1,468 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. That is only in the five games he has started this season. Book has a completion percentage of 76.5 that is the best in the nation.
The Irish defense ranks sixth in the nation in the S&P+ advanced metric. They had no problem adapting to Navy's triple-option offense and were able to pitch a shutout in the first half. The goose-egg allowed the offense to build a 27-0 lead.
The Wildcats are 5-3 on the season, but have gotten better every week they have played.
Thorson was shaky through the air last week. He threw three interceptions to go along with the touchdown on 17-of-30 passing for 167 yards. That brings the senior's season totals to 193-of-318, 2,072 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
He has also taken 18 sacks on the season and will have to stay upright against a Fighting Irish defense that has 17 sacks. Thorson has started 47 straight games at quarterback. That is the second-longest active streak in FBS. He is a constant for the Northwestern Offense
Freshman running back Isaiah Bowser has provided a nice spark to the Wildcats offense. He has back-to-back 100-yard efforts after gashing the Badgers for 117 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 31, Northwestern 21
NCAA Football Betting Odds & Trends
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|Notre Dame is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of Notre Dame's last 5 games|
|Notre Dame is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games on the road|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of Notre Dame's last 5 games on the road|
|Northwestern is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games|
|Northwestern is 13-3 SU in its last 16 games|
|Northwestern is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games at home|
|Northwestern is 11-4 SU in its last 15 games at home|
|The total has gone UNDER in 16 of Northwestern's last 22 games at home|
Notre Dame home to Florida State Saturday, November 10
Northwestern at Iowa Saturday, November 10
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