2:30 p.m. EST, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana.
WHERE TO WATCH
NBC (NBC Sports Extra for streaming)
If you like running the ball, this is the game for you. A staple of Derek Mason’s teams is the run, and it will be important for Vandy to establish themselves in this one. Running their ball control offense and keeping the Irish offense off the field could be the key to the ‘Dores keeping it close.
On offense, they are led by running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, a transfer from the Illinois Fighting Illini. Veteran quarterback Kyle Shurmur manages a game well and is very efficient, completing 67 percent of his passes. This is Shurmur’s third year as a starter, so he will not be intimidated by the hostile road environment.
For Notre Dame, similar story. Experienced quarterback, good running game. Unlike the ‘Dores, though, the Irish use a platoon at running back, with Tony Jones Jr. and Jafar Armstrong. Brandon Wimbush is more of a runner, and is only completing passes at a 50.4 percent rate during his Irish career.
Long story short, if Vandy can keep this one close, they most certainly have a shot. Mostly because of the quarterback on the other side who is prone to mistakes. This one will be close for a bit, and Irish fans will have to sweat. But in the end, athleticism and talent take over as the Commodores suffer their first loss.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 33, Vanderbilt 17