Notre Dame-Ohio State: Anyone calling for an Irish upset?

·6 min read

My friends, the wait is finally over.

Thirty-five weeks ago, we were sitting stunned after Notre Dame coughed up a 28-7 first-half lead in the Fiesta Bowl. Here we are with the Irish set to begin their first regular season under Marcus Freeman. What will the year bring and what will the main story lines be along the way?  

It starts with a big one, OK that’s an understatement. It starts with an absolutely massive one as the Irish travel to Ohio State for the third time in program history as a couple of top-five teams square off to start the year.

We’re about to find out what 2022 will bring and for diehard college football fans like ourselves we couldn’t be more excited.  

Here is how the Fighting Irish Wire staff along with a couple of contributors from our circles see the opener in the Horseshoe going.

Phil Harrison - Managing Editor of Buckeyes Wire

The Columbus Dispatch

I don’t buy that this game is going to be a two touchdown win for Ohio State. Notre Dame has too much talent and a physical presence on the defensive line that will dictate this game at times. However, Ohio State might have the best offense in the country again this season, and the Buckeyes will make plenty of plays to score points. I’m not sure the Irish offense can keep up against an OSU defense that looks to be much improved. But, in Game 1, anything can happen and we only know that we don’t know. I like a late Ohio State score to put it away.

Ohio State 31, Notre Dame 20

Learn everything you need to know about Ohio State from Phil who answered 10 questions for us earlier this week.

Geoffrey Clark - Fighting Irish Wire

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

I shouldn’t be feeling so down on the Irish for their first game of the season, but I don’t make the schedule. Even though the Irish probably have a slight edge on defense, it really will not matter because there is just too much offensive talent on the Buckeyes for them to overcome. Maybe the Irish can force the Buckeyes to take a few penalties, but it’s going to take more than that to pull off what would be seen as a monumental upset in spite of how closely these programs are ranked. Add what undoubtedly will be a raucous crowd, and this simply isn’t an environment I see the Irish thriving very well in except perhaps during garbage time.

Ohio State 35, Notre Dame 17

Mike Chen - Fighting Irish Wire (and OSU grad...correctly spelling OSU is what earned him a degree, in fact)

USA TODAY NETWORK

As Nick so eloquently pointed out, this is the first time in my journalism career where the team I cover faces off against my alma mater. Can’t both teams just have fun? But I digress. That can’t be the case; someone has to come out on top at the end of the day. These two teams are mirror images of each other, but at different stages. The Irish are like the Buckeyes of last year, with young talent all over but lacking experience. Ohio State is a year ahead of where Notre Dame wants to be and unfortunately that will be the difference in this one. The Irish will not be able to hold the home team’s potent offense down enough to win the season opener.

Ohio State 38, Notre Dame 21

John Kennedy - Always Irish Podcast

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Is there a path to a Notre Dame victory? Absolutely, but that path is narrow, not the most likely of outcomes and cannot be strayed from. But it exists. Own both lines. New QB plays masterfully. Play a clean crisp game.

Historically, Week 1 games can be quite unpredictable. The most likely outcome however is new young starting Irish quarterback Tyler Buchner to have some spectacular plays and youthful mistakes in a hostile road environment vs. an athletically gifted new-look OSU defense. Notre Dame will hold its own up front on both sides of the ball quite well, but ultimately the skill and experience of Buckeyes’ QB Stroud and his impressive collection of skill weapons deliver the couple extra big plays needed to earn the W at home as the ND offense struggles to click on all cylinders out of the gate enough to keep up. The future is bright in South Bend, but the present belongs to Columbus.

Ohio State 34, Notre Dame 28

Check out John and Nick Shepkowski’s game preview episode of the Always Irish podcast

Jeff Feyerer - Fighting Irish Wire

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been tricked time and time again before so until Notre Dame wins a big game like this, they’re going to have to prove it to me. I love the Marcus Freeman hire, what it’s done to invigorate a program that stalled at the apex of its potential with Brian Kelly at the helm, and what I think that new trajectory looks like, but this is a different animal. The first game at the Horseshoe going against quite possibly the best offensive trio Ohio State has ever had is a beast of a first game. Yes, the Buckeyes defense is not the killer they’ve had in the past, but under new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and still loaded with top recruits, it is no slouch. Quarterback Tyler Buchner will need to prove to me he can stay healthy before I even think about penciling them in for a win in Columbus. Does Notre Dame have the talent to pull off an upset? Absolutely. Do I think it’s likely? I do not. And to be quite honest, it has less to do with Notre Dame and more to the fact I do not want to be on the tracks when this freight train of an Ohio State team is going to spend the whole season laying waste to opponents en route to a Michigan game at the end of the year that may end Jim Harbaugh.

Ohio State 38, Notre Dame 20

Nick Shepkowski - Fighting Irish Wire

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame has a few advantages in this game. I like its offensive line more than Ohio State’s defensive front. I like Notre Dame’s defensive front compared to Ohio State’s offensive line. I actually don’t dislike Notre Dame’s secondary against Ohio State’s receivers too much; I really think Notre Dame’s secondary will prove a strength in 2022. What I don’t like is Ohio State having a proven elite collegiate quarterback and Notre Dame having a huge question mark, Tyler Buchner. As we’ve seen in other showdowns in recent memory, the difference at quarterback is the difference in the game.

Ohio State 34, Notre Dame 24

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire