( You can read Part One Last Look at Virginia Tech Part One, The Disaster )
In part one I covered the Irish falling apart and just the overall disaster that could be the seen on any given weekend in the Kelly era. Don’t worry, this is the flip side. This is a new year and a new team.
The Irish come in riding high after a dominant win against Stanford. That was a big win because Stanford has had Kelly’s number since he took the helm as the Irish head coach. Kelly was 3-7 against Stanford until Notre Dame knocked off the 6th rank Cardinal.
Heading into tonight and Kelly limps in with a 3-10 against ranked opponents on the road. But on the other side, Virginia Tech is just 1-9 at home against ranked opponents with their last win coming in 2009.
Virginia Tech has also been struggling this season with a shocking loss to Old Dominion, losing their starting QB and dismissing their best defensive end last week. This is a team that still has talent on the defensive line and they rank 19th nationally averaging 3 sacks a game. That stat is a bit misleading as they have played two FCS teams this season and that’s where the majority of their pass rush comes from.
Speaking on pass rush, Notre Dame brings quite an impressive group of their own to Blacksburg. Notre Dame’s front four of Jerry Tillery, Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes have racked up 63 QB pressures (sacks and QB hurries per Pro Football Focus) through the season’s first five games. This means Notre Dame has one of the best pass rushing fronts in the entire country.
This defense has proven itself between Michigan and Stanford that they can shut down top talent. Add in that Book has been on an absolute tear this season and he is surrounded by play makers.
VT has a good defense but also have inflated stats due to weak competition this season. Look for the Irish to get on the Hokies early and often. Even with the statue reveal and everything that goes into hosting a top 10 team, the Irish shouldn’t be fazed. Neither are the fans after running a Twitter poll from yesterday.
83% of fans voted that the Irish win. 59% saw an Irish win by 10 + points. The Irish have also been preparing for what they will be walking into. Kelly mentioned that “Enter Sandman” has been on a loop, blaring at practice all week. Kelly mentioned that they were under prepared for the environment in Miami last season and it will not happen again.
The Irish will come into tonight and roll. Dexter Williams will get the bulk of the workload with Jafar Armstrong out and Jones Jr. possibly missing the game with an ankle sprain. But Williams should still be fresh after missing the first four games of the season. Book should continue to grow and proved he can shine in the bright lights last weekend. Notre Dame just needs to play the game they are capable of.
Irish execute and walk away with a win 42-17.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.