NOTRE DAME, Ind. – No. 10 Notre Dame looks to shake off a disappointing loss and begin its quest to climb back into playoff contention when 18th-ranked Virginia pays a visit on Saturday afternoon for a non-conference contest. The Fighting Irish had the ball in Georgia territory in the final minute before giving it up on downs and falling 23-17 in a game between a pair of top 10 teams with playoff expectations.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Notre Dame -11.5
"This stings a little bit," Notre Dame senior defensive lineman Khalid Kareem told reporters after the loss. "But our morale is still high. This season's not over." Irish coach Brian Kelly is wary of a Virginia team that can get to 5-0 for the first time since 2004 with a victory when he said at his weekly press conference that the Cavaliers have elite players at every level of their defense and are a confident team, "one that you're going to have to beat. They're not going to give you the game. We're going to have to play extremely well." Virginia rallied from 17 points down to beat Old Dominion 28-17 last week after scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to beat Florida State 31-24 in the previous game and knows it has the ability to get the job done under pressure. "When you start winning consistently, wins come in all shapes and sizes and forms," Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall told reporters. Each one of those game scripts ends up adding to a collective that kind of binds your team together."
ABOUT VIRGINIA (4-0)
Senior quarterback Bryce Perkins has thrown four interceptions along with six touchdown passes, but completed 65.3 percent of his passes overall and is 361 from becoming the eighth player in school history with 5,000 yards of total offense. Perkins (193 yards) also leads the rushing attack and has three strong targets in seniors Joe Reed (23 catches, 215 yards, three TDs) and Hasise Dubois (16, 191, one), along with junior Terrell Jana (15, 174). Senior Jordan Mack leads all linebackers in the nation with five sacks and junior linebacker Charles Snowden was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after totaling 15 tackles and two sacks against ODU.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (2-1)
Senior quarterback Ian Book threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia, but suffered his first two interceptions of the season as the Irish lost in the regular season for the first time Nov. 25, 2017. Senior wide receiver Chase Claypool leads the team with 15 receptions and 256 yards to go along with two touchdowns and junior tight end Cole Kmet had nine catches (tying a school record for his position) for 108 yards in his 2019 debut after missing two games with an injury. "(Kmet) brings that physicality, big body-type tight end where he's imposing, but he still has the ability to catch and run," Kelly told reporters. "So you're getting a combination there."
1. Notre Dame junior WR Michael Young (collarbone) is expected to make his season debut and sophomore WR Braden Lenzy (concussion) could return as well.
2. Virginia junior LB Zane Zandier shares the team lead with 29 tackles and returned an interception 22 yards for a score in the second half last week.
3. The Irish have won 12 straight games at Notre Dame Stadium and are 2-0 all time against the Cavaliers, including a 34-27 triumph at Virginia in 2015.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 31, Virginia 21