The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Northwestern Wildcats meet Saturday in college football action at Ryan Field.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish look to build on their 8-0 record to remain in the thick of the college football playoff conversation. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won five of their last seven road games. Ian Book is completing 76.5 percent of his passes for 1,481 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. Book has two or more touchdown passes in each of his last five games. Miles Boykin and Chris Finke have combined for 908 receiving yards and seven touchdowns while Chase Claypool has 28 receptions. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish ground game is averaging 188.5 yards per contest, and Dexter Williams leads the way with 512 yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively, Notre Dame is allowing 19.1 points and 341.3 yards per game. Te’von Coney leads the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with 70 tackles, Jerry Tillery has seven sacks and Jalen Elliott has three interceptions.
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The Northwestern Wildcats hope to add to their four-game winning streak to become bowl eligible for a fourth straight season. The Northwestern Wildcats have won six of their last nine home games. Clayton Thorson is completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 2,072 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Thorson has one or less touchdown passes in seven of his last 10 games. Flynn Nagel and Bennett Skowronek have combined for 1,121 receiving yards and three touchdowns while Cameron Green has 36 receptions. The Northwestern Wildcats ground game is averaging 91.1 yards per contest, and Jeremy Larkin leads the way with 346 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, Northwestern is allowing 23.6 points and 366.8 yards per game. Blake Gallagher leads the Northwestern Wildcats with 78 tackles, Joe Gaziano has 4.5 sacks and JR Pace has three interceptions.
The Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in November, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The under is 40-12-1 in Wildcats last 53 home games and the over is 4-1 in Fighting Irish last 5 games overall.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are fresh off a solid 22-point win over Navy, but four of their eight wins have come by single digits. The Northwestern Wildcats are finally putting together consistent ball during this four-game winning streak, which includes two wins over ranked teams. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have failed to cover each of their last six games as a favorite of at least seven points. The Northwestern Wildcats have covered five of their last six games as an underdog of at least seven points. Northwestern has been a tough team for me to track given the ups and downs, but they’re an extremely well coached team and don’t get blown out often. Northwestern also has a lot to play for with a trip to the Big Ten title game possibly within reach. This is likely going to be a very phyiscal game and one that comes down to the fourth quarter. I want points in my pocket.