The No. 11 Arizona State Sun Devils have the chance to end the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s chances for the College Football Playoff Saturday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium.
Each side sits at 7-1 and another loss will likely bounce them out of the inaugural playoff, though the Irish’s lone narrow letdown to No. 2 Florida State looks far better on their resume than Arizona State’s to now-defunct and two-loss No. 18 UCLA over a month ago.
If history gives any indication, than Notre Dame need not worry. The Irish own a 3-0 all-time mark against Arizona State, including last year’s 37-34 victory at home.
Still this year the Sun Devils look far sharper and more dangerous than the team that nearly claimed a victory on the Irish’s home field. Arizona State is coming off an impressive 19-16 win over Utah’s highly-rated defense that put them in control of the Pac-12 South.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly struggled a bit in his second game back from a foot injury, but ultimately completed 18 of 32 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for another 55 yards. The Utes managed to contain leading Sun Devil rusher D.J. Foster to 53 total yards, but freshman Demario Richard came up big with 116 yards on 14 carries.
The Irish and quarterback Everett Golson showed some resilience of their own, bouncing back from the Florida State loss with a 49-39 win at Navy. Golson totaled six touchdowns, three in the air and three on the ground, and 348 yards of total offense, while sophomore running back Tarean Folston put up 149 yards and another score.
Folston’s now recorded two straight 100-yard games, and faces a Sun Devil defense surrendering more than 180 yards on the ground per game.
But the Irish defense has its own concerns. During the first five games of the season Notre Dame allowed no more than two touchdowns per game, but in the last three are letting up an average of 37 points and 431 yards.
Start Time: 3:30 PM ET
TV Channel: ABC
Live Online Stream: A live stream is available at Watch ESPN here
Betting Odds: Arizona State -2.5
Over/Under: 60.5 points
Prediction: Arizona State over Notre Dame 34-30