Notre Dame will play Louisville this Saturday in South Bend. The Irish enter this game 3-0, while Louisville is coming off of a loss to Georgia Tech a week ago. The Cardinals are now 1-3 on the season. Notre Dame has made the most of their time in the ACC so far and looks to stay undefeated this week. Louisville came up short when the two faced off last season, losing 35-17. It’s now time for the Notre Dame vs Louisville preview.
Notre Dame vs Louisville Preview
The first season in a conference has proven to be a positive for Notre Dame. The defense is in the top three of almost every category and leads the conference in scoring defense. Notre Dame is only giving up 13 points per game in 2020. Louisville though has scored at least 20 points in each contest this season. Scoring has not been the problem for the Cardinals, it has been turnovers. Louisville has 11 turnovers through four games; six fumbles and five interceptions.
Irish Defense Against a Turnover Prone Cardinal Offense
The Irish are leading the ACC in many defensive categories this season. They are third in total defense, passing defense, and rushing defense. They have also tallied three turnovers this season; one interception and two fumble recoveries. Despite the high rankings of the Notre Dame defense, there was clear rust at the start of last week’s game against Florida State. The unit only gave up 26 points, but 20 of those came in the first half. The Irish will not be able to allow that to happen this week against a Louisville offense that has amassed over 500 yards of total offense once this season and nearly 50 yards of total offense two more times.
Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham threw for over 300 yards in each of the first two games this season. The junior quarterback has 986 passing yards through four games and nine passing touchdowns. However, he also has five interceptions. Cunningham isn’t a one-dimensional quarterback, the junior signal-caller has accounted for three rushing touchdowns through the first four games. The Notre Dame defense will have to keep Cunningham in check early. Hopefully, a full week of practice and a full game last week helped get the rust off from two off weeks.
Kyren Williams vs the Louisville Linebackers
It’s not that Ian Book hasn’t had a good season, because he has, but Kyren Williams has stolen the show. The redshirt freshman running back has four touchdowns in three games this season. Two of those rushing scores came last week against Florida State after being held in check against South Florida in game two. Williams played against Louisville a season ago, but only as a kick returner. It is no doubt though that Louisville has noticed the speed of Williams. Last week he had his first fumble but recovered nicely with a 65-yard run and a 46-yard rushing touchdown.
Louisville has a very good linebacker group. Dorian Etheridge leads the team in tackles with 27. Further, the senior accounts for one forced fumble, two sacks, and eight-and-a-half tackles for loss through the first four games. Fellow linebacker, C.J. Avery ranks second in total tackles for the Cardinals with 24. In addition, he has one interception for 40 yards and two tackles for loss. These two will be tasked with keeping both Book and Williams in check. The balance between Book’s arm and Williams’ legs will b key for Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees this week.
Notre Dame vs Louisville will be at 2:30 PM ET on NBC. The Irish play their fourth home game of the season when the Cardinals travel to South Bend on Saturday.