Notre Dame heads to Chicago this weekend to take on the Wisconsin Badgers in what will be the toughest test of the season to date for the Fighting Irish.
The battle will be especially challenging for the scuffling Notre Dame offense, which faces a Wisconsin defense that has been brilliant in its first two games of the season.
Let's take a look at how Notre Dame stacks up on paper against the Wisconsin defense.
NOTRE DAME RUSH OFFENSE vs. WISCONSIN RUSH DEFENSE
Notre Dame has been a strong rushing team in recent seasons, but through three games in 2021 the ground game can't find its footing. The Irish have averaged just 105.7 yards per game against mediocre competition.
Even more concerning is that 30% of Notre Dame's rushing yards this season have come on just two carries.
Wisconsin has allowed just 66 yards in two games this season and held opponents to just 96.1 rushing yards per game in 2020. Wisconsin is big, physical and extremely well coached on defense.
In the video above we discuss what makes this matchup problematic and also break down what Notre Dame must do schematically to get its ground attack going against the Badgers.
NOTRE DAME PASS OFFENSE vs. WISCONSIN PASS DEFENSE
Advantage: Notre Dame
Most of the success Notre Dame has had this season has come through the air. Despite having several big drops and missed throws that kept the offense down a bit against Purdue the Irish offense is averaging over 300 yards per game through the air.
Notre Dame certainly has an athleticism advantage on the perimeter, but can the Irish offensive line protect quarterback Jack Coan? That remains to be seen, but if Coan can stay upright and be given clean pockets he should have a lot of success against his former club.
In the video above we talk about how the Irish can go at the Badger pass defense and how success in the pass game can help the run game.
NOTRE DAME SCORING OFFENSE vs. WISCONSIN SCORING DEFENSE
We wrap up the break down with a big picture look at the Notre Dame offense against the Wisconsin defense. In this video we break down how Notre Dame must thrive in situational football (third-down, red zone, turnovers) and how that success could result in the Irish having a big day against the Badger defense.
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