Two years ago, the Georgia Bulldogs and Notre Dame Fighting Irish met for a highly anticipated game in South Bend. The affair between two ranked historical powers delivered (especially if you like defense) and was truly one of showcase games of the season. The Dawgs edged out the Irish 20-19 in Jake Fromm’s first ever start. Fast forward to now and the college football world is in a similar state of anticipation for the finale of this two game series. This time, the scene shifts to Athens, GA and the little numbers by the team names are even smaller as UGA is ranked 3rd and Notre Dame 7th. Will we see another one point game in Sanford Stadium?
Notre Dame has played two games so far in 2019 and won two games. In defeats of Louisville and New Mexico, QB Ian Book played pretty well. He’s thrown for 553 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions and has also compiled 127 rushing yards on 23 carries. Against Georgia and its swarming defense, Book will need some help trying to establish the run. Tony Jones Jr., broke out for 110 yards against Louisville, but no one else in the corps of RBs has left a mark early on in the season.
While the Irish still have some questions about establishing the run game on offense, the most pressing issue in this game by far will be stopping Georgia’s running attack on defense. ND ranks 120th nationally in rush defense, which is especially bad considering that most schools haven’t had a bye week yet like ND has. Brian Kelly and Clark Lea will be looking for someone, anyone to step up and try to contain D’Andre Swift and company.
Georgia comes in to Saturday’s tilt flying high and heavily favored having disposed of Vanderbilt, Murray State and Arkansas State with ease. The offensive line is bullying the opposition and creating big holes for the backs. The UGA front has helped the team progress from 400+, to 500+, to 600+ total yards in the first three games in sequence and is making their case for best offensive line in the nation. The scary thing about this offense is that Jake Fromm is still nailing down who his favorite receiving targets are after heavy turnover from last season. Two freshman, George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock are leading the pack so far.
Georgia’s defense has been just as strong as the offense to this point. The Bulldogs have only allowed one touchdown in 2019 and 182 rushing yards. Plays are being made and there really isn’t much else to say.
Both teams will hyped to be playing their first “big game” of the season on Saturday night , but in the end look for Georgia to be the squad that is still hyped post-game. Notre Dame’s struggles in the trenches and in the front seven on defense will hinder them in a raucous road environment. If the Irish are to cover in this one, it should be seen as a huge positive and something to build upon with plenty of other possible quality wins on their schedule.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Notre Dame 17
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 8:00 pm/7:00 pm CT
Watch Online: cbssports.com or the CBS Sports App
Spread: Georgia -14.5