Notre Dame has to continue to play good football this Saturday as Pittsburgh will likely come out looking for vengeance, after letting a win slip through their fingers and losing in triple overtime last year.
The schools are two hours apart and have been playing every season for over 50-years, which gives Notre Dame another solid rival. Even in a down years, Pitt always seems to figure out how to give Notre Dame a difficult game. The Irish need another complete team effort to get the win.
Notre Dame cannot let themselves play down to the level of Pitt. They have to come out strong and get some offensive momentum going. Early success in the run game would open up Notre Dame’s offense. The running back situation for the Irish took another unexpected turn last week with a breakout, 140-yard performance by freshman Tarean Folston.
With two already established upperclassmen running backs in Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson III, it will be interesting to see how Coach Kelly plans to use the trio as the season goes on.
Quarterback Tommy Rees is coming off another mediocre performance and needs to tighten up his play. He really has to protect the football and not have anymore multiple turnover games. Notre Dame gets in trouble when they have to rely solely on Rees. A balanced offensive attack is a must for the Irish as they move forward at this point in the season.
The defense was becoming the bright spot on the Notre Dame team but they had a tough go at it last week against Navy giving up 34-points. The Irish couldn’t seem to figure out a way to slow down the triple option. Luckily, Notre Dame is done facing triple options and will see the return of star defensive lineman Louis Nix for Pittsburg. Nix should give the Irish the boost they need to get back in their groove. The defense cannot let Pitt hang around and have a chance getting back in the game late.
The Irish should have no problem getting the win against Pitt if they stay focused. Notre Dame just needs to play hard and smart for 60-minutes. Attention to detail is key as a turnover or big play can easily change the entire outcome of the game.
Notre Dame has clawed their way back into having a chance for a BCS bowl game. If the Irish can get by Pitt and BYU without being upset, the final game against Stanford will decide their fate.