The #5 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (6-0) welcome the Pittsburgh Panthers (3-3) today for a 2:30 p.m. E.T. game. You can say that this is a major test for the Panthers, who have struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone this season. But it is also a huge challenge for Notre Dame, which has in many ways exceeded expectations by taking down both #7 Stanford and #24 Virginia Tech. They did so by beating them over the last two weeks, and the Irish won each game by three TDs. Plus, Notre Dame has a very fine defense that’s holding opponents to under 20 points per game. Our Week Seven NCAAF Pittsburgh plays Notre Dame pick offers the Orish at -21 and the over/under at 54.5.
Irish Offense Tough to Stop
Notre Dame will pass and run today. They’re averaging 246.0 YPG in the air and 195.7 YPG on the ground. The Panthers are allowing opponents 224 in passing and 196.8 YPG in rushing. Opponents are scoring 32.8 PPG against the Pitt. ND is averaging 34.8 PPG in scoring. The Panthers will have to shut down junior QB Ian Book. Book has thrown nine TD passes and one pick, while hitting 73.3% of his passes. Plus, senior RB Dexter Williams, who has only played in the last two games, has gained 339 yards, averaging 8.9 YPA and scoring four TDs.
The Pittsburgh defense does not have much of a pass rush, but they have forced 10 fumbles, made five picks, and defended 15 passes. Plus, three players have combined for 18 TFL. Still, this defense will give up the big play. This is especially true against a non-stop offense such as that of the Irish.
Can Pitt Permeate ND Defense?
Notre Dame has some massively effective players in D, including DLs Jerry Tillery (6 SCKs, 6.5 TFL) and Khalid Kareem (4.5 SCKs, 8 TFL) and DBs Jalen Elliot (2 INTs, 4 PD) and Troy Pride Jr. (2 INTs, 6 PD). Corner Julian Love has defended 11 passes and recovered three fumbles.
Panther sophomore QB Kenny Pickett is completing 61.3% of his passes, He’s thrown six touchdown passes and five picks. Four of his pass catchers have a dozen or more catches each and three of them account for his six TD tosses. The ground game includes workhorse Qadree Ollison and the dynamic Darrin Hall. Each is averaging 6.5 YPA, while respectively scoring five and four times.
Home and Away
The Irish are 4-0 at home this season, while the Panthers are 0-2 away. In their last away game, Pitts was beaten by #13 UCF 24-14. On the road, they are 2-4-2 in their last eight games ATS. The Irish are 5-2 ATS in their last five games but are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five versus Pitt.
Our Week Seven NCAAF Pittsburgh Plays Notre Dame Pick
Can the Irish blow out the Panthers? That is the question for today. Weather conditions are good and the fan base is certainly energized. We think the Irish will score about 46 points today. The Panthers should put up about 17. That makes our Week Seven NCAAF Pittsburgh plays Notre Dame pick the Irish at -21. We also like the over at 54.5.