Notre Dame-Virginia: Staff Predictions

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No. 9 (CFP) Notre Dame’s toughest remaining test of the 2021 regular season comes Saturday night as the Irish travel to Virginia. The task at hand will be to slow one of the nation’s best offenses as the Cavaliers are averaging 38.9 points per game which ties them with North Carolina for the sixth-most by a Power Five team.

Notre Dame will again be without Kyle Hamilton while Virginia starting quarterback Brennan Armstrong’s availability won’t be publicly known until kickoff after he suffered a rib injury at BYU two weeks ago.

Notre Dame’s only previous trip to Charlottesville ended in dramatic fashion. Will this trip end similarly?

Here is what the Fighting Irish Wire staff sees happening on Saturday night:

Geoffrey Clark:

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers have the best offense in the country but one of the worst defenses. If Brennan Armstrong can’t go, this might be a much easier game for the Irish than it otherwise would have been. Sure, the Cavaliers will find points one way or another, but so will the Irish, which has been getting into a nice groove offensively lately. Couple that with a defense that was proven to be effective even without Kyle Hamilton, and it’s easy to see the final real test of the season being a successful one.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Virginia 29

Michael Chen:

Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Irish have been there before, actually just two weeks ago when they faced the high powered offense of North Carolina and held them to just 34-points. The Cavaliers bring in the same style, a big time passing attack but not too much on the ground. Once again it does look like star safety Kyle Hamilton will be out but DJ Brown has done a great job filling in. The line once again needs to attack UVA quarterback Brennan Armstrong who is a threat with his legs as well as his arm. There is potential for him to be out of the game as well, so who knows which QB the Irish will face but the defense can force Armstrong into turnovers. The difference here will be the Virginia defense which I don’t believe can stop the Irish offense which has been rolling. If Armstrong plays, the Irish win in a shootout, if he doesn’t they should win comfortably. Either way it should be an Irish win.

Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Virginia 34

Nick Shepkowski:

Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Will Brennan Armstrong play or will he be held out as Virginia would win its division if it were to win their final two games against Pitt and Virginia Tech. Either way, Virginia’s defense is a disaster and Notre Dame should be able to move the ball, especially in the running game. Kyren Williams stays red hot as he goes over 200-total yards and Lorenzo Styles finds the end zone for the first time in blue and gold as the Irish make a serious run at a 50-burger in moving to 9-1.

Prediction: Notre Dame 49, Virginia 31

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