Notre Dame’s win over Clemson last weekend opened up some eyes, including those belonging to ESPN analyst Todd McShay.
Prior to the game against the Tigers, McShay cited Notre Dame’s lack of a vertical passing game as a glaring weakness. The noted NFL Draft pundit expressed doubt about the Irish’s ability to beat the No. 1 team in the country.
However, on ESPN’s College Football Live Wednesday night, McShay issued a mea culpa, saying that Notre Dame had proved him wrong.
“They are now and I wasn’t sure a week ago. I said on this very show the lack of perimeter speed and playmakers on the offensive side was concerning to me. But what I’m starting to learn, the offensive line, Ian Book creating and extending beyond the initial play, those tight ends Tommy Tremble, Michael Mayer … Michael Mayer’s a freak by the way, he seemed to always make a big play when they needed a third down-and-finish. And then Kyren Williams is really their difference maker and they’ll figure it out with size on the outside versus speed.
“But on the defensive side, this is where I think they’re different than they have been in years past. But I think they can match up with just about everyone in the country defensively from a speed standpoint. You look at Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and what he’s able to do as an off-the-ball linebacker who can play in that overhang in the slot, cover guys, blitz off the edge, come through the A gap or the B gap. This is a defense that has the speed to compete with any team in the country and I’m convinced of that at this point.”
Last week, Notre Dame reversed the historical trend of them losing against top five opponents. They’ll be looking to stop another tradition this weekend: losing to Boston College after a big win.
Most famously, it happened in 1993, when the top-ranked and undefeated Fighting Irish fell to the Eagles one week after beating No. 1 Florida State. History then repeated itself in 2002, when an 8-0 Notre Dame team, ranked fourth in the nation, loss to an unranked BC squad.
Both of those games were at Notre Dame Stadium. We’ll see if the No. 2 Fighting Irish can emerge victorious in Chestnut Hill on Saturday.
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