GEORGIA TECH AT NOTRE DAME
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT
Las Vegas Line: Notre Dame +2.5
Notre Dame spent much of the offseason hyped as a national championship. Saturday will test the Fighting Irish’s Playoff credentials.
Of teams that entered 2015 with Playoff-caliber profiles, Georgia Tech was arguably the least buzzed-about. Hanging 60+ on a pair of mismatched opponents serves as a reminder of just how potent the Yellow Jackets’ option attack can be, but Tech would really get people talking with a win in South Bend.
Likewise, we’ll see pretty quickly how the Irish’s celebrated defense stacks up.
“Georgia Tech has the most prolific offense in the country, and has proven that over the last couple years,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said on this week’s ACC teleconference call.
Option offenses have vexed past Notre Dame teams — specifically the option Navy ran successfully under Johnson, and continues to run with his successor, Ken Niumatalolo.
Notre Dame standout linebacker Jaylon Smith is going to be subject to an unrelenting stream of cut blocks to open up running lanes for Tech’s numerous ball-carriers.
Tech quarterback Justin Thomas is someone I like to sneak into the Heisman conversation. That process begins with a big Week 3.
Asking the Irish defense to shut down the Jackets is a tall order. Tech will score points, which puts the onus on first-time starting quarterback DeShone Kizer. Kizer was outstanding in leading Notre Dame’s game-winning drive at Virginia, but he should learn immediately that Georgia Tech isn’t Virginia.