Notre Dame prediction: Week 6 vs. Miami

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
9:00
AM ET
The 4-0 and ninth-ranked Irish return from their bye week to clash with the 4-1 Hurricanes in their annual Shamrock Series game, this one at Chicago's Soldier Field. The two last met in the 2010 Sun Bowl, a 33-17 Notre Dame win, but this is their first regular-season game since 1990.

When Miami has the ball: Beware of Stephen Morris and the rest of the Hurricanes' playmakers at the skill positions. Morris threw for an ACC-record 566 yards in last week's win over NC State, including 271 in the first quarter alone. Miami has eclipsed 600 yards of offense in each of its past two games, totaling 86 points. Notre Dame's passing defense ranks 19th nationally but has yet to face an offensive attack with the explosive weapons that Miami has. The question is if Miami will have the chance to let those guys shine. The Hurricanes young starting offensive line will be going against one of the best defensive fronts in the country one week after losing fifth-year senior Ben Jones, who left his first career start at right tackle with a knee injury and is out Saturday.

When Notre Dame has the ball: Has Everett Golson put a forgettable performance against Michigan in the rearview mirror? Brian Kelly said this week that Golson had a bit of a shoulder issue that has since been cleared up. The Irish will need more out of their signal caller, who once again will be facing a big opponent on a big stage. Fortunately for him, Miami's defense is ranked 91st or worse in four major categories -- rushing, passing, total and scoring. This could be the perfect opportunity for Golson to answer several lingering questions over the past two weeks, and he and the rest of the offense needs to play within itself.

Intangible: Duke Johnson has made as big of an impact as a freshman can through his first month in college. He averages 6.9 yards per carry, has rushed for five touchdowns, caught one score and has returned a kickoff back for a score. But he managed just 19 rushing yards in Miami's loss to Kansas State, which has the nation's No. 14 rushing defense.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Miami 14

Matt Fortuna | email

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