Thursday, November 1, 2012
Notre Dame prediction: Week 10 vs. Pitt
By Matt Fortuna
Please, anything but last year's 15-12 contest.
When Notre Dame has the ball: Don't get cute, but don't be afraid to loosen the reins a little. No, Everett Golson has not finished a game inside Notre Dame Stadium that he has started, but he showed Saturday that with the right game plan and productive weapons around him, he can be more than just a game manager under center. Pitt's linebacker depth has taken a beating, as the Panthers last week lost Dan Mason and Manny Williams for the season, so running the ball should be no problem for an Irish squad that has eclipsed the 200-yard mark on the ground in each of its past two games.
When Pitt has the ball: Pitt is coming off a 47-point output against Temple. What does that mean? It means the Panthers are the seventh team this season to score 40 or more points in its game prior to facing Notre Dame. Those previous six teams? None eclipsed 17 points against the Irish. The Panthers must do everything in their power to establish some sort of threat on the ground with Ray Graham and Rushel Shell. Quarterback Tino Sunseri is playing the best ball of his career, and if Pitt can open things up, it has receivers in Devin Street and Mike Shanahan who are capable of making big plays. But those are big ifs.
Intangible: The word "trap" has not been thrown around much this week, probably because a simply awful Boston College team awaits one week later. Pitt is the closest thing to a threat of ruining a perfect record before the end-of-season USC trip, and I think the Irish realize that and won't let up.
Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Pitt 6. The Irish must leave little doubt in games such as this for the potential beauty pageant that might come at season's end.