NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame hopes to get a breather after splitting a pair of games against top 20 teams, as the 10th-ranked Fighting Irish host Bowling Green from the Mid-American Conference on Saturday afternoon in their first-ever meeting. Notre Dame came up just short at Georgia 23-17 on Sept. 21 before recording eight sacks and pulling away in the second half for a 35-20 victory over then 18th-ranked Virginia last week.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Notre Dame -45.5
Julian Okwara stepped up with three of those sacks while fellow lineman Adetokunbo Ogundeji returned a fumble for a touchdown and the Irish look to carry over the momentum from the dominating performance, in which they allowed just four total rushing yards. "It was exciting just to see all your brothers go out and just produce, all the work that we put in over the years is finally coming to fruition," Notre Dame senior defensive lineman Khalid Kareem told reporters after the latest win. "We've got to stay consistent and don't let this be a one-time thing, have the same preparation week-in and week-out and the production will come. … We understand on the D-line that we're the top of the spear and everything starts with us." The Irish, who have won 13 straight at Notre Dame Stadium, will try to avoid looking ahead to games against rivals USC and Michigan coming up next as they take on a Bowling Green team which has allowed just one sack per contest. The Falcons, who are coming off a bye week, lost at Kansas State 52-0 on Sept. 7 and were pounded by Kent State 62-20 in their conference opener two weeks later - allowing an average of almost 50 points since starting the season with a 46-3 win over FCS member Morgan State.
ABOUT BOWLING GREEN (1-3)
Senior quarterback Darius Wade, who played 25 games with Boston College from 2014-17, was 18-of-25 for 161 yards against Kent State while tossing a pair of interceptions and junior receiver Quintin Morris is his top target (16 catches, 218 yards, two TDs). Senior Davon Jones leads the ground attack for the Falcons with 205 yards along with a touchdown and junior Andrew Clair has 158 yards with a pair of scores. Senior linebacker Brandon Perce leads the team with 38 tackles, including a career high 15 last time out, while junior linebacker Kholbe Coleman has 33 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (3-1)
Senior quarterback Ian Book has yet to put himself into the middle of the Heisman Trophy debate, but he is still connecting on 63 percent of his passes and boasts eight touchdown passes with just two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Chase Claypool, who leads the team with 21 receptions and 286 receiving yards (two TDs), is questionable for Saturday with an ankle injury and junior tight end Cole Kmet is off to a strong start with 13 catches and 173 yards in his first two games of the year. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah leads the team with 26 tackles and Okwara was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.
1. Notre Dame senior DE Daelin Hayes suffered a torn labrum last week and has been lost for the season.
2. Bowling Green last won a game against a ranked opponent when it topped Northern Illinois in the 2013 MAC Championship Game.
3. The Irish had five takeaways last week, their most since getting six against Michigan in 2012, and leads the nation with plus-9 turnover margin.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 55, Bowling Green 7