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Scarlet Saturdays: Preview #8 Ohio State vs. #11 Notre Dame. Top 10 Showdown!


  • #11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0) vs. #8 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0)

  • at Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana

  • Notre Dame beat Central Michigan 41-17 last week.

  • Kickoff 7:30 PM EST on NBC.

The showdown between The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is finally here and the tradition behind this match-up is everything why we love college football. Ohio State is entering this game 3-0 behind Kyle McCord who has gained ground offensively last week vs. Western Kentucky when he threw for 318 yards on 19-of-28 passes thrown and 3 TDs. Notre Dame has an experienced quarterback in transfer Sam Hartman who comes into this game with 1,061 yards thrown, 13 TDs, and zero interceptions on the season. Notre Dame is riding the shoulders of Hartman and their offensive production thus far and Ohio State is leaning on their defense returns practically every starter and has loads of talent throughout the defense. Can the Buckeyes slow down Hartman and the Irish?


Coaching Tree

Ryan Day and Marcus Freeman square off for the second time in their young careers. This is a notable match-up for this game in particular due to Marcus Freeman's ties to the state of Ohio and the Ohio State program. Marcus Freeman grew up in Ohio, he is a native of Dayton, Ohio, and went to Wayne High School. In high school, Marcus Freeman was recruited by Jim Tressel to play at Ohio State where he would play as a linebacker under Tressel and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. Marcus Freeman then returned to Ohio State after his stint in the NFL and was a graduate assistant under Jim Tressel and there is where he found his passion for coaching. Freeman would then follow his mentor/Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell to Cincinnati and became the defensive coordinator for the Bearcats with Fickell at the helm. Freeman turned down offers from Ohio State to chase his dream of becoming a head coach which led him to becoming a defensive coordinator under Brian Kelly for a season which led to his hiring as a head coach at Notre Dame once Brian Kelly left for LSU.

Many will view the job Ryan Day has done at Ohio State as what Marcus Freeman wished he would have gotten the opportunity to do at Ohio State. Many will also speculate that if Ryan Day ever chose to leave Ohio State the Buckeyes would either call Luke Fickell or Marcus Freeman to take over for Ryan Day.

This match-up for Marcus Freeman is a personal one and this may be his only chance at the Buckeyes unless they would somehow meet in a college football playoff down the road. Freeman has the Buckeyes at home, a prime-time game, with an experienced QB. Ohio State is on the road, with a new QB who has never seen an atmosphere on the road like McCord will see Saturday. If Freeman ever wanted to prove his worth to the nation and Ohio State, here is his opportunity.

Road Warriors

The Buckeye's first road test of the season is traveling to South Bend in a prime-time atmosphere. Kyle McCord is facing a team on their own field where their passing defense is ranked fourth in the nation in yards allowed with 126 yards per game. Notre Dame has also produced five interceptions on the season thus far as well. McCord and the offense will definitely have their hands full early in this one but Ohio State has two of the best receivers in football in Marvin Harrison Jr and Emeka Egbuka. As many would say Ohio State has not seen a defense like the Fighting Irish, I would argue Notre Dame has not seen an offense like Ohio State. Look for the Buckeyes to establish the run early with Trevyon Henderson to set up the passing game to get Harrison and Egbuka involved throughout the passing game.


Who to Watch For

  • Joe Alt, Offensive Tackle for Notre Dame. Against the Buckeye's defensive front, Alt is an important player to help protect Hartman and keep the offense moving.

  • Ben Morris, is the freshman all-American defensive back. If the Irish have any chance of winning this game they have to stop Marvin Harrison. This is a crucial match-up for both Harrison and Morris who will battle it out all night.

  • Julian Fleming, WR for Ohio State. Fleming gets lost in this rotation a lot with Marvin Harrison and Emeka Egbuka in the rotation. Fleming was a former number one overall recruit at WR and came to the Buckeyes getting playing time as a freshman. Without injuries, Fleming was the next in line. Last season we saw glimpses and Fleming was consistent in possession catching and scoring TDs. Look for Fleming to be McCord's safety net throughout this game with all the attention facing Harrison and Egbukah.

  • Jack Sawyer, DE for Ohio State. Another top recruit for Ohio State who has been quiet throughout his career. I am not ready to say bust yet but this is the game where Sawyer can make his money. Joe Alt will primarily be aligned to stopping JTT as to why Sawyer could have his breakout game we have been waiting for since he came to Columbus. Look for Sawyer to deliver the pressure on Hartman all night.

Betting Lines/Predictions

Currently, the spread stands at Ohio State -3.5. I like Ohio State to cover the spread on the road at Notre Dame. When it all comes down to it, can Notre Dame take away all the weapons Ohio State has to offer? Even if they apply the pressure on Kyle McCord and make his night tough, Ohio State can still lean on Trevyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, and the other running backs to run the rock and win the game. Also, this Ohio State defense is legit. The defense is built to fly to the football with Denzel Burke, Sonny Styles, and Josh Proctor. I don't see Hartman having the comfortable games he has been having and making the tight window throws you have to make to win games like this one.

Prediction- Ohio State- 34 Notre Dame- 17

Player Props I like in this one.

  • Julian Fleming, 25 yards receiving (-186)

  • Emeka Egbuka, Any Time Touchdown Score (+110)

  • Trevyon Henderson, 60 yards rushing (-174)

  • Kyle McCord, 2 Passing Touchdowns (-144)

  • Marvin Harrison Jr, 80 yards receiving (-178)


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