Notre Dame got off to a rough start on defense in 2021, but the Irish have improved in every game. The Irish are now coming off their best performance of the season, one that limited Purdue to just 13 points.
Notre Dame faces a second straight Big Ten foe, and this battle will be even tougher. Notre Dame will have to be at its best against the Badgers to get the victory and remain unbeaten.
NOTRE DAME RUSH DEFENSE vs WISCONSIN RUSH OFFENSE
Notre Dame is coming off its best rush defense performance of the season, and if you look at the difference in how the Irish played in the opener against FSU (264 yards allowed) and against Purdue (57 yards allowed) it can make it hard to gauge just where this unit is.
We'll certainly find out the answer to that on Saturday when the Irish square off against one of the nation's best rushing teams. Wisconsin has played ground-and-pound football this season while running behind a line that averages 6-5 and 312.2 pounds.
Notre Dame's starting defensive line averages 277 pounds, but the Irish certainly have an athletic advantage. In the video above we break down what Notre Dame must do to slow down the Wisconsin ground game on all three levels.
NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE vs WISCONSIN PASS DEFENSE
Advantage: Notre Dame
Wisconsin's pass offense has never been overly potent, but the unit has struggled for much of the last two seasons. Wisconsin has a talented quarterback in Graham Mertz, but he's yet to get into any kind of groove. Tight end Jake Ferguson is one of the nation's best at his position, but the rest of the wideouts are possession types.
Notre Dame's pass defense was outstanding against Purdue but has also been prone to giving up big plays. The Irish pass defense needs to be on top of its game against the Badgers and limit the chunk plays.
In this video we talk about how important it is to shut down the pass game and how using Kyle Hamilton as more of a pass game weapon could be the ideal strategy for the Irish defense.
NOTRE DAME SCORING DEFENSE vs WISCONSIN SCORING OFFENSE
Advantage: Notre Dame
Notre Dame has steadily decreased the points and yards it has allowed this season and it was on top of its game against the Boilermakers. Wisconsin isn't a great scoring offense but it can be dangerous against a defense that makes mistakes.
In the video above we talk about the matchups where Notre Dame should thrive when it comes to keeping yards and points down, and how important it is for Notre Dame to keep Wisconsin off the board early in the game.
Irish Breakdown Content
Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content, our premium message board and gets you a FREE subscription to Sports Illustrated! Click on the link below for more
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!
Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown YouTube channel
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachD178
Follow me on Parler: @BryanDriskell
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook