This is the big one, lads. These last three weeks have been nothing but dress rehearsals for this. To me, the season really starts Saturday at 7:30. We will know much more about this team by about midnight tomorrow and I cannot wait. I had a much better time doing these last week, so let’s carry that momentum.
#1 Trey Henderson will have at least two touchdowns.I really think this is a Trey Henderson game. The OL has been showing steady improvement each week and I felt that they did a really good job moving the line of scrimmage against Western Kentucky. Justin Frye has been getting the guys to play smarter and more cohesive football, and I think that trend will continue. Henderson looks totally healthy after last year’s lost season, and he is showing that Saquon Barkley-esque burst that we saw in 2021. I think he hits over 100 yards and scores at least two touchdowns.
#2 Emeka Egbuka will lead the team in receptions.The Notre Dame defense knows they cannot let Marv beat them. He is the best player on the field at any given time and they will have to put a lot of focus on him. That will leave a lot of targets for Egbuka, who I believe is up for the challenge.
#3 The Silver Bullets will win the turnover battle.The defense has been getting more and more active around the football. That’s a big change from where they were last year where it didn’t feel like they were causing a lot of chaos. I think that’s starting to change a little bit and it starts with the interior DL. Williams, Hall, Hamilton, McKenzie, and Kanu have been studs to start the year and they are forcing the issue for offenses. Interior pressure has to be big, because, I’ll be honest, I think Notre Dame’s OL is overrated as sin. Some may disagree with that, but I see a bunch of stiff waist benders with poor technique. This will lead to strip sacks and interceptions, which are two of my favorite things.
#4 Steele Chambers will lead the team in total tackles.Tommy Eichenberg is almost always the safe bet for this stat, but they’re called “bold predictions,” not “perfectly rational predicitions.” Chambers has really impressed me to start the year and I think he’s about to play himself into getting drafted. He has flown to the football and showcased a lot of side-to-side explosion that NFL teams love. I think he has a big day.
#5 The Buckeyes win and cover.When it comes down to it, Ohio State is the more talented football team. They are more athletic at basically every position and they have the better lines. Again, I think Notre Dame’s OL is massively overrated, like I thought they were last year, and I’d be willing to bet the staff feels the same way I do. I like Sam Hartman, and yes, McCord is unproven. Still, Hartman isn’t exactly Aaron Rodgers. He’s a good college player and a great kid, but not much more than that, really. The thing is, Notre Dame needs Hartman to go win the game for them, and I don’t think Ohio State needs McCord to do that. All of the pressure will be on Notre Dame’s offense to score and I think the defense is primed to shut them down. This a very athletic Buckeye secondary against some really, really, really weak skill players. Can you honestly say any of them would crack the four deep at Ohio State? No chance, in my opinion. I’m calling the score 27-17, in a game that’s slightly lower scoring than we might want, but one where the Buckeyes are in control for most of it.
As always, let me know how you think I’ll do and be sure to share your predicitons for this one!