Game of the Week: Notre Dame vs. Arizona State
TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week Notre Dame vs. Arizona State ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.
Why Notre Dame will win the biggest game of the week:
This is a must-win game for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame can still salvage a respectable season by beating the only ranked team on their schedule until Stanford in the season finale. This is a neutral site game, which could help erase the memories of last week’s home loss to Oklahoma. Notre Dame will need to put last week behind them in order to avoid a second straight loss. A bright spot for the Irish was RB George Atkinson III, who ran for 148 yards, including a nice 80 yard touchdown run. The Irish were able to generate a season-high 220 yards on the ground in the loss. Notre Dame will try to establish the run against an Arizona State defense that allowed two 100 yard rushers to USC last week.
Why I could be wrong:
As bad as the Fighting Irish looked against Michigan State two weeks ago, their effort against Oklahoma was even worse. QB Tommy Rees completed only 9 of 24 passes with three interceptions. This is the second straight poor showing from Rees. Arizona State put a whipping on USC 62-41, totaling 612 yards on offense. The Sun Devils are averaging 359 yards through the air against quality opponents. The defense will need to come to play after giving up 542 yards to USC. QB Taylor Kelly will look to test an Irish secondary that gave up 232 yards passing to Oklahoma QB Blake Bell. You know the Sun Devil wide receivers are chomping at the bit to showcase their talents on national TV.
Why you don’t want to miss this one:
Notre Dame tumbled out of the Top 25 following their loss to Oklahoma. The Irish need to bounce back in a prime time game at AT&T Stadium to right the ship. Arizona State has an explosive, exciting offense, but the defense has had difficulty stopping opposing offenses. Something will have to give Saturday night. How will Arizona State react to being in the spotlight? Will Notre Dame regroup and put last week behind them? This has all the makings of an exciting clash in Dallas. Who do you see coming out on top?
Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table.