The first game of a three game home stand for Notre Dame comes against a very worthy opponent. 

Washington is looking to add another impressive win to their resume. They’ve already defeated USC and came oh-so-close to beating LSU in the first week of the season. I’m not going on a limb in saying this is the most important game for the Irish thus far.

When Notre Dame has the ball

Open letter to all Domer running backs; especially Armando Allen Jr. and Robert Hughes. You boys have a big day awaiting you. The Washington run defense is pathetic. It’s like they smother their hands in Valvoline motor oil before the game.  If you get going, there won’t be any stopping you. And I’m sure your quarterback Jimmy Clausen wouldn’t mind that either.  If you want to line up in Wildcat formations, be my guest. Oh and Theo Riddick, I wouldn’t mind watching you dazzle the Washington defense for a few long gains either. 

So when you fellas do establish the run, which will be very early, your good ol’ stud QB Jimmy Clausen should be able to find more holes than a golf course out there. It will open up Golden Tate and the hero from last week, Kyle Rudolph. And when you see the opposing defense starting to sag, run some more.     

When Washington has the ball:

Once again, this has to be the unit that worries you if you’re an Irish fan (or coach). Last week, the Irish secondary allowed almost eight yards per pass play. If they play like that, Husky’s QB Jake Locker will fire his rocket arm to about seven different receivers. And when Notre Dame is in their deep zone or nickel coverage, Locker will threaten to exploit them with his ability to run. He’s basically a three-headed monster.

I can’t see freshman tailback Chris Polk being that much of a factor. The Irish run defense answered critics with a terrific performance last week against a great Purdue rush game. 

Anyway you want to analyze it, Notre Dame’s defensive line must play one of their best games of the season. You don’t have to be brilliant to realize that pressure disrupts offenses, even ones with Locker at quarterback. If they can frustrate him, it’s game-set-match. 

To sum it all up:

Until the defense can prove to me that they can stop the pass, I’ll continue to doubt them. The Irish have a much needed bye after this week and a win on Saturday would set up an epic showdown against USC.

Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Washington 28