Posted on November 6, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The rivalry between the Miami Hurricanes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish does not have the extensive history that many of college football’s best rivalries have. They have only played 26 times; Notre Dame has dominated the series with 18 wins. But while they lack a century of games like many rivalries have played, much of the history between them has been meaningful.
During the late 1980’s, both teams were national title contenders and cost the other a shot at winning the title at least once.
Notre Dame squeezed by Miami in 1988, 31-30, and went on to be named national champions. Miami finished the season ranked No. 2. The following year, Miami brought Notre Dame’ 23-game winning streak to an end. They would go on to win the national title with Notre Dame coming in at No. 3 (Coaches Poll) and No. 2 (AP).
Notre Dame did to Miami again during the 1990 season. Miami entered the game the No. 2 team in the nation looking to enhance their argument to be No. 1 with a win over No. 6 Notre Dame. But the Fighting Irish had another outcome in mind (29-20).
When the two teams meet Saturday night a shot at the national title will be on the line again. Notre Dame has to win to remain in the top four. A win over the Fighting Irish would enhance Miami’s chance to get in. But their best chance will be to win out and beat Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
So—who’s going to win?
Games like this one have the potential to be epic contests between two awesome teams or embarrassing blowouts.
Notre Dame has one of the best run games in the country (No. 5; 324.8 yards/game). They put up a lot of points (No. 7; 41.3 points/game), and they don’t allow many points (No. 17; 18.4 points/game). However, if Miami were actually to find a way to slow down the run, could Notre Dame win with their passing game?
They haven’t asked Brandon Wimbush to do much with the passing game, and he hasn’t. He’s only completing 51.3 percent of his passes and only has 11 touchdown passes on the year. But, on a good note, when he does pass he doesn’t make many mistakes (just two interceptions).
Miami’s defense is ranked No. 67 against the run, so it is hard to imagine them slowing down Wimbush or Josh Adams for an entire game. But is their offense good enough to keep up if the game turns into a track meet?
Their run game doesn’t compare to Notre Dame’s, but they do have a pair of capable runners in Travis Homer (95 carries, 612 yards) and quarterback Malik Rosier (82 carries, 295 yards). Rosier can make some plays in the passing, but he isn’t the most accurate passer (56 percent). But if there is one thing Notre Dame struggles with, it is defending the passing game (No. 90; 245.3 yards/ game allowed).
If Miami can stuff Notre Dame’s run game and get their own offense on track, they could run away with this one. But if they can’t, Notre Dame could run wild over them and make this one ugly early.
So—who’s going to win?
Miami will keep it close in the first half, but eventually, the Notre Dame rushing attack will wear the Hurricane defense down. A close game will turn into a convincing win for the Fighting Irish in the end.
Notre Dame is favored by three points. Don’t worry; they’ll cover that with ease.