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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 2, 2009 at 12:20 PM

The pick — Irish

We’ve landed in Chicago, which means it’s time to get the pick out there,
First, the preamble:
Of all the stats you could pull out for this game — 7-0, Notre Dame’s lead in the all-time series; or 0-7, UW’s record in road games since beating Stanford in 2007 — this one seems most relevant — 102-59.
That’s Notre Dame’s edge in career starts in the matchup of its offensive line vs. UW’s defensive line. And 41 of those for UW come from one person, DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim.
The numbers are stark that Notre Dame will have a big edge up front, and we saw last week what a much less veteran OL could do to the Huskies.
That isn’t to say I think UW can’t win this one..
I definitely think the Huskies will score some points — it has its own edge in the OL-DL matchup in terms of starts (and obviously there are five OL spots to four DLs so there’s always a bit of an inherent advantage for the offense) at 81-39. (Notre Dame’s total doesn’t include 18 starts from a former starter who is now a key backup, Kerry Neal).
There are reasons to think UW should be able to move the ball better in this game — UND ranks 94th in the nation in total defense, allowing 389.75 yards per game and is 106th against the pass. You’d think the Huskies might to deep a little more in this one and would have a decent chance of connecting on some.
But ultimately, I think the Huskies will just have trouble stopping Notre Dame.
My position ratings looked like this:
QB –— Washington. Jake Locker gets the edge on a not 100 percent Clausen
TB – Notre Dame. Armando Allen’s return to health gives UND a slight edge.
WR — Even. Both teams have some injuries.
OL — Notre Dame. UND more experienced and more accomplished.
DL — Notre Dame. UND has played better the last couple of weeks.
LB — Washington. A close one with the Savannah injury and Te’o coming on for Notre Dame.
Secondary — Even. UW is better statistically but best to reserve judgment until Huskies are really test.
Special teams — Notre Dame. UND has some issues here, as well, but Golden Tate will be the best returner on the field.
I think the Huskies will play better than they did a week ago at Stanford, The coaches insist there wasn’t a letdown, but players have talked of not having the same energy and intensity — may have just been the environment, or going on the road. Whatever the case, there was a noticeable difference in the manner of their play at times in Palo Alto, You wouldn’t think that would be the case in South Bend — much as the players may want to downplay the allure of the tradition of the place, hard to believe that won’t get them up a bit.
One could argue that turnovers (UW lost three to Stanford’s two) and special teams (the early KO return) turned the game Stanford’s way last week and if the Huskies had cleaned that up, they would have been right there.
Maybe. But I also saw a physical dominance that figures to be hard to solve overnight, especially against a veteran team playing at home like Notre Dame — and don’t figure the Irish to be caught sleeping after UW knocked off USC two weeks ago, a team that has beaten the Irish like a drum for seven years now.
UW will make it a good game to watch, but ultimately, called it NOTRE DAME 35, WASHINGTON 27.



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