And in that corner, thee mighty Ball State Cardinals.
Ball St comes in as a five touchdown underdog Saturday and anything other then a glorified scrimmage would be a major disappointment. While you don’t want to overlook any opponent, even with some turnovers and poor play Notre Dame should win by a few scores.
A chance to see all three quarterback.
I already talked here ( Should Ian Book Start Against Ball State? ) about the possibility of Ian Book getting to work with the first team and try to avoid injury to Wimbush in what should be a meaningless game. But he won’t be the one I am most interested to watch. Phil Jurkovec, the freshman out of Pennsylvania could see his first career snap because of the new red shirt rules instituted this season. It allows freshman to play in four games and still be eligible to red shirt. Jurkovec is the future at Notre Dame and to get to see what he is capable and get him real playing time could be a major benefit. I’m not delusional enough to think he should be starting as he didn’t enroll early and just hasn’t had the time to develop yet. He needs to learn and build on his game, but he should get some serious time Saturday. While I made the case for Ian Book to start, I don’t see him getting much time Saturday. Either Notre Dame rolls up a ton of points and they have the back ups in early or the Irish overlook Ball St and struggle to pull away. Either way It I imagine it will be either all Wimbush or Wimbush and Jurkovec with Ian Book thrown in between for a few series. (This was from the preseason about Jurkovec The Next Great Notre Dame QB)
The return of the Notre Dame rushing attack
Last weekend Notre Dame ran for 132 yards which was down for what their use to doing. Last season The Fighting Irish average 270 yards rushing a game. While that is quite the drop off and fans were upset with the performance, You have to keep in mind the talent the Michigan defense has. The entire defensive line may be the best in the country and definitely the best the Irish will face all year. Look for Notre Dame to get back on track Saturday as Jafar Armstrong should put in a solid performance. Still looks like Dexter Williams will be M.I.A. for a few weeks but he will only bolster this rushing attack once he returns from his suspension. Also look out for improved line play as the Notre Dame front should dominate Ball State all afternoon.
Getting to see Houston Griffith in a full game.
Griffith was the number 1 recruit for Notre Dame this past off-season. the early enrollee came in as a corner and was highlighted in an article here ( Highlighting the 5 Best Incoming Recruits for 2018 ) Griffith did not see a ton of time last week at Michigan because of Gilman and Coleman at safety. BK has talked about Griffith cross training at nickel and at safety to get the most playing time possible. This could/should be where we see the top Irish recruit get some serious playing time. While this is mostly focused on Griffith it could go for all the Irish lower class men. This game will be important not to only see top freshman but also to evaluate where the the backups stand at Notre Dame. I expect Griffith to see a ton of playing time and we can see why he was a top recruit.
Notre Dame takes on Vanderbilt the week after. This will be a three week stretch to see some young players get their first snaps before The Irish head into Stanford and Virginia Tech the following two weeks.
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