Will 1995 repeat itself?
How Northwestern can win: The Wildcats' defense snapped out of its two-game rut (86 total points allowed) this past Saturday against Michigan, forcing three turnovers and giving the offense a chance to win late. That offense, though, has yet to really do much of anything, as Northwestern has failed to score more than 20 points in each of its last five games. Matt Alviti saw action Saturday for the first time in his career and could possibly be a curveball against an Irish defense that does not have much tape on the redshirt freshman quarterback, though his potential entrance may speak as much to his leaky offensive line as anything else.
How Notre Dame can win: The Irish simply need to cut down on turnovers. If this sounds like a repeat from previous weeks, that is exactly what it is. Notre Dame's game at ASU last week appeared to be over by halftime because of carelessness with the ball, but the Irish's rally shows just how smooth the offense is when Everett Golson is playing mistake-free (and when his offensive line gives him some time). The backfield needs to gain some traction, too, something that will be much more important next week when Louisville's defense comes to town.
Breakout player: Nyles Morgan. The former four-star linebacker will be in a much more ideal situation Saturday than he was last week, when he was thrust into the fire at ASU while the defense itself was put in vulnerable positions. He'll get a chance against the Wildcats to show what some of the recruiting hype was about.
Prediction: Notre Dame 35, Northwestern 14. The Irish play much smarter offensively, which makes for a crisp outing and, for the first time since September, a relatively stress-free win.