For the early Saturday portion of the NCAAF Week 5 schedule, there’s a lack of quality matchups. That’s not the case later in the day. In the late afternoon window, we have a meeting of two ranked squads in South Bend, IN as one of the highlights.
The undefeated Virginia Cavaliers will be on the road to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, a team which pushed the Georgia Bulldogs to the limits under the primetime lights last Saturday. This will be by far the biggest test to date for Virginia, while Notre Dame is looking for a bounce back.
A playoff spot may now be off the table for the Fighting Irish, but that doesn’t mean the team can’t be a factor the rest of the way. College football betting sites have installed Notre Dame as big favorites, but the team coming to town is far from a pushover. Let’s take a look at the matchup in full detail.
Virginia vs. Notre Dame, 3:30 PM EST, Sat. Sept.28, NBC
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Virginia vs. Notre Dame Pick:
The Cavaliers stayed perfect on the year with a closer than expected victory over visiting Old Dominion on Saturday. They were favored by a whopping 27 points at kickoff, but the visiting Monarchs made a game of it and raced out to a 17-0 lead. Virginia took control from that point and shut the visitors down, walking away with a 28-17 victory.
The Fighting Irish were in Georgia on Saturday night for a highly-anticipated showdown with the Bulldogs. They were 16-point underdogs at kickoff, but the team quickly proved that number was off the mark. Notre Dame held a 10-7 lead at the half, but Georgia would turn it on after the break. The end result was a 23-17 win for the Bulldogs, but Notre Dame showed a lot in defeat.
Virginia opened up the year with a 30-14 road win over Pittsburgh. They followed that up with two straight victories at home over William & Mary and Florida State. The first two wins were of the double-digit variety. Last week’s 11-point win over ODU was preceded by a 7-point home victory over Florida State. For the season, the Cavaliers have outscored opponents by a margin of 141-72.
The Fighting Irish opened up the season with a Monday night road date at Louisville. The Cardinals put up a fight in the early going, but Notre Dame was able to pull away for a 35-17 win as 19.5-point favorites. The team got the next week off before returning home to hammer New Mexico by a score of 66-14 in Week 3 behind a 6-TD performance from Ian Book.
Bryce Perkins is doing a solid overall job behind center for Virginia, but he’s having some trouble hanging onto the ball. He has completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 843 yards, six scores and four picks thus far. Perkins has also rushed for 193 yards and two TDs. Wayne Taulapapa leads the backs with a line of 39/152/5.
Joe Reed is pacing the pass catchers with 23 receptions for 215 yards and three scores. The defense has been stout for the Cavaliers in the early going with just 18.0 points allowed per contest. The team has racked up a ridiculous 20 sacks through four games, led by Jordan Mack with five. Mack is tied with Zane Zandier for the team lead in tackles with 29.
Book is also off to a great start for the Fighting Irish. He has a 61.7 completion percentage with 828 passing yards, eight scores, and two picks. Book has also rushed for 145 yards and two TDs. Tony Jones Jr. leads the way out of the backfield with 30 carries for 148 yards and a score. He has also hauled in five passes for 30 yards.
Chase Claypool leads the receivers with 15 catchers for 256 yards and two TDs. The defense has also done a solid job through three games. On rushing yards allowed, the number is inflated by Louisville gashing them for 249 yards on the ground in the opener. The team held Georgia to 152 rushing yards last week. Alohi Gilman tops the team with 21 tackles.
These two programs have met twice previously with the Fighting Irish winning both. Virginia is 2-1-1 against the spread thus far and 2-2 on totals. Notre Dame is 2-1 ATS and 1-2 on the Over/Under. For the 2018 season, the Cavaliers were 8-5 overall, 9-4 ATS, and 7-6 on totals. The Fighting Irish were 12-1 straight-up a season ago, 6-5-2 ATS, and 6-7 on totals.
Since the 2016 season, Virginia is 3-12 overall as a road underdog and 7-7-1 ATS. Notre Dame is 14-5 as a home favorite over that span and 9-10 ATS.