Two Top 25-ranked teams will put their respective 7-1 slates on the line as Notre Dame and Arizona State square off in a critical showdown this coming Saturday. With the regular season nearing the homestretch, every win counts and both teams know that a defeat would spell the end for their respective College Football Playoff dreams.
Read on for a preview of this matchup and while you’re at it, you can check out our previews of Alabama vs. LSU and Baylor vs. Oklahoma.[sc:NCAAFArticles ]
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Betting Preview
Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe
When: Saturday, November 8, 2014, 3:30 PM ET
Line: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+2.5) at Arizona State Sun Devils (-2.5) – view all NCAA Football lines
Betting on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame bounced back from their agonizing defeat to Florida State two weeks ago with a morale-boosting 49-39 win over Navy.
[sc:NCAA240banner ]It wasn’t plain sailing by any means for the Fighting Irish as they blew a 21-point lead late in the third quarter but recovered just in time to seal their seventh win of the year which kept them in the hunt for a spot in the season-ending College Football Playoff.
With Navy scoring 24 unanswered points to take a 31-28 advantage, quarterback Everett Golson settled things down for Notre Dame as he gave the Fighting Irish the lead for good with a three-yard touchdown run. Golson was spectacular for Notre Dame, completing 18 of 25 passes for 315 yards while also rushing for 33 yards on nine carries.
He became the first player in Notre Dame history to throw for three touchdowns and rush for three scores in the same game. He will fancy his chances of repeating that kind of performance against Arizona State this coming Saturday as the Sun Devils are only 58th in the FBS in total defense this season allowing an average of 385.3 YPG.
A growing concern for Golson, though, is his propensity to throw interceptions. He has thrown six picks in his last four games after not throwing a single one in the Fighting Irish’s first three outings. That hasn’t dampened his confidence in throwing the football, though, as he is 14th among starting quarterbacks in the passing yards department with a 288.9 YPG clip this season.
The Fighting Irish are 2-1 on the road this season.
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Betting on the Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State climbed into sole possession of first place in the muddled Pac-12 South Division with a nerve-wracking 19-16 win over Utah in overtime last Saturday.
Zane Gonzalez was the hero for the Sun Devils as he kicked in the game-winning 36-yard field goal to give Arizona State its fourth-consecutive win. Gonzalez connected on four of five field goals during the game to win the battle with opposite number Andy Phillips who missed a 35-yard try on the Utes’ initial possession in overtime.
Standing at 7-1 (5-1 Pac-12), the Sun Devils are now well-positioned to reach the season-ending College Football Playoff. If they win the rest of the way, they probably would seal a berth in that inaugural tournament as a one-loss Pac-12 champion.
For the Sun Devils to win, they will need the old Taylor Kelly back. The 23-year-old is still showing signs of rust after missing more than a month due to a broken foot. In his second game back, he completed just 18 of 32 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown with one interception against Utah.
With Kelly struggling, Arizona State’s scoring production has dropped off for the third-consecutive game. Surely, it didn’t help matters that they faced some of the nation’s top run defenses – Stanford, Utah and Washington – the past three matches.
It won’t get any easier for them this coming weekend as Notre Dame is 31st in rushing defense in the FBS allowing just 131.9 yards per game. Still, the Sun Devils are expected to utilize their ground attack with Demario Richard playing some of the best football of his life. Richard rushed for 116 yards on 14 carries against Utah last Saturday to record his first 100 rushing-yard game and helped pace Arizona State which recorded 239 rushing yards the entire match.
The Sun Devils are 3-1 at home this season.
Arizona State (-2.5) wins, 35-31.[sc:NCAA490banner ]
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