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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers Predictions, Picks, Odds, and NCAA Football Betting Preview – October 3, 2015

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers Predictions, Picks, Odds, and NCAA Football Betting Preview – October 3, 2015

The season-ending injury to starting quarterback Malik Zaire has not slowed down Notre Dame’s run toward the College Football Playoff. That’s because no one has been able to stop the Irish running game, which they have leaned on after Zaire’s injury, and has since carried the offense to brand new heights.

Will the Fighting Irish keep their perfect start to the season alive when they visit Death Valley to face a Clemson team led by Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson?

Get a complete breakdown on this battle between possible playoff candidates with our preview below. Also, don’t forget to check out our previews for two of Week 5’s marquee matchups, Alabama vs. Georgia and Arkansas vs. Tennessee.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers Preview

Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson

When: Saturday, October 3, 8:00 PM ET

Line: Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Clemson Tigers – view all NCAA Football lines

TV Broadcast: ABC

Betting on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Notre Dame offense sure isn’t missing quarterback Malik Zaire as much as anticipated. That’s because the Irish rushing attack has been simply outstanding through the first month of the season. The Irish are 4-0 (3-1 against the spread) through those first four weeks.

[sc:NCAA240banner ]Senior C.J. Prosise, in particular, has been spectacular. After rushing for 198 yards with three touchdowns to lead the Irish to a 30-22 win over then-No. 14 Georgia Tech, Prosise had 149 of the team’s 457 rushing yards and two of its six rushing touchdowns in a huge 62-27 win over UMass. It was the first time the Irish have scored 60 or more points since 1996.

With such a prolific running game at his disposal, a lot of pressure should be lifted from sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer’s shoulders in his first ever road start. However, Kizer did go 8-of-12 for 92 yards with two touchdowns in relief of the injured Zaire at Virginia, and orchestrated the game-winning touchdown drive.

Having one of the best receivers in the country in Will Fuller should also help Kizer deliver the goods at Death Valley. Fuller has been close to unstoppable this season, with 454 yards and six touchdowns on just 22 catches.

The Irish defense has lost defensive tackle Jarron Jones and nickel corner Shaun Crawford for the season, but as it showed in limiting a high-powered Georgia Tech offense to 22 points and 337 total yards, it has the strength in depth to keep even the very best offenses quiet.

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Betting on the Clemson Tigers

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Clemson was very lucky to escape with a narrow 20-17 road win against winless Louisville. Sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson had the worst game of his college career to date, as he threw multiple picks for the first time and finished with a career-low 54.6 QBR.

Thankfully, the Tigers running game was quite productive. Sophomore running back Wayne Gallman broke out for 139 yards, while Watson added 54 on 12 carries. It was even more impressive that they put up 202 yards on the ground without starting center Ryan Norton, who will miss out against Notre Dame with a knee injury.

Even if the running game takes a step back against a stellar Irish front seven, Watson should be able to bounce back at home, where he has been simply spectacular. Watson has completed over 70 percent of his passes at Death Valley, with 18 touchdowns against just three interceptions.

However, the key for Clemson will be its defense, which must go up against a resurgent Notre Dame ground game. The Tigers have been one of the best teams against the run this season. They completely snuffed out Louisville’s running game (19 yards on 28 carries) and are giving up just under three yards per carry on the season.

Slowing down the run will put the pressure back on Kizer, and could force the inexperienced quarterback to some costly errros. Meanwhile, sophomore Mackensie Alexander is one of the top shutdown corners in the country – or so he says – and is fully capable of taking Notre Dame’s top receiving threat Fuller out of the game.

Clemson is 10-0 (7-3 against the spread) in its last 10 home games.

Writer’s Prediction

Notre Dame’s running game is too much for Clemson to handle as the Irish remain undefeated with a big road win, 31-24.

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Brad
Written by Brad

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