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Analysis: BYU-Notre Dame position preview


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Notre Dame’s go-to receiver is unquestionably senior TJ Jones. Jones has 54 receptions this season for 891 yards and eight touchdowns. In the last three weeks, Jones has scored a touchdown each game and is averaging 121 yards receiving per game. DaVaris Daniels and tight end Troy Niklas are solid options as well and have combined for 10 touchdowns and 924 yards this season. The consistency of a few options for Rees gives the Irish the edge in this category.

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Edge: Notre Dame

Offensive line

BYU’s offensive front held up well against Idaho State and only gave up a sack after taking a commanding 56-10 lead in the third quarter after Hill had been pulled. However, Idaho State is no Notre Dame, and after giving up four sacks against Wisconsin, the Cougars could struggle against a talented Irish front seven. So far this season, BYU has surrendered an ugly 29 sacks.

Notre Dame’s offensive line has been solid all season, surrendering only seven sacks all year. Rees was sacked only once in the loss to Pittsburgh and has only been sacked twice total in the last three weeks. The last time Rees was sacked more than once in a game this season was a month agao against USC when he was brought down twice.


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Edge: Notre Dame

Defensive line

The Cougars’ front seven only brought down Wisconsin’s quarterback once, a harbinger for potential struggles against a big, physical line like Notre Dame’s. BYU racked up five sacks against Idaho State and will need to at least knock Rees down a few times, even if it doesn’t equate to a sack, to keep the senior uncomfortable. This will be a big game for Kyle Van Noy in both coverage of Niklas and rushing the passer.

Notre Dame’s defensive front is full of potential first round draft picks, creating the potential for a long day of harrassment for Hill. Prince Shembo and Stephon Tuitt have a combined 10.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks this season. Although their stats aren’t as high as expected, both are pass rushing nightmares and hold up well in the run game to seal the edge off during BYU running plays. Talented nose tackle Louis Nix III underwent season ending knee surgery on Thursday, but the Irish should still have a slight advantage.

Edge: Notre Dame

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