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NCAA Team Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have taken a big blow this pre-season. The loss of numerous players due to academic fraud has really put Brian Kelly and his Irish football team under the 8 ball. Despite that, the Fighting Irish are set to put together another solid season in South Bend. The schedule is not advantageous for Notre Dame, but their approach of week-to-week basis looks to be how they are going to attack the 2014 season. The Fighting Irish are ready to get rolling, despite the suspensions.

A season ago, the Irish finished with a 9-4 record, winning just 1 of 4 against ranked foes. The Fighting Irish ranked 27th in the nation defensively, allowing just 22.4 points per game. The Irish lost games to at Michigan, with Oklahoma, at Pittsburgh and then a trip to Stanford. The Fighting Irish went on to win the New ERA Pinstripe Bowl over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Notre Dame is a season removed from losing in the national title game to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Fighting Irish offense is going to be led by the 6’0 senior quarterback Everett Golson. The quarterback was on suspension due to the academic dishonesty. He is set to run the fast pace Brian Kelly offense. He is ahead of the game over 6’0 Malik Zaire. In 2012, Golson threw for 12 touchdowns, completing nearly 59% of his passes. Greg Bryant should be a huge factor offensively as well. He played in just three games a season ago. He has a ton of talent, but his ability to stay healthy will be in question. Lastly, the offense will need dependable efforts from both Tarean Folston and Cam McDaniel.

Defensively for Notre Dame they will return just three guys that recorded a sack in 2013. They are in need of playmakers after losing five of their front seven starters. Jaylon Smith, a 6’2 linebacker seems to be the “stud” of the defense. Junior lineman Sheldon Day also appears poised to play a big part for the Irish.

The Fighting Irish will have their hands full with the 2014 schedule. Notre Dame opens up with a home game against Rice, but then welcomes two Big Ten teams to South Bend after that. The Michigan Wolverine and Purdue Boilermakers come up next. After that, Notre Dame plays their first road game; at Syracuse. Next, two ranked teams at home will be upcoming for the Irish; as they host Stanford and North Carolina. The biggest test of the season comes on October 18t as they play the first of three road games; at top ranked Florida State. Following that, trips to Navy and Arizona State take them to their final three games. The first of three is with Northwestern, which is followed by a home game with Louisville, and then a trip to USC.

 

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