The Defense – Confidence Level 7
I have been uber-impressed with Jim Knowles’ defense this season. The Buckeyes rank sixth in passing defense, 19th in rushing defense, and third overall in total defense in the nation. Those numbers are fantastic! But they have done all of this against Indiana, Youngstown State, and Western Kentucky. The challenge awaiting them in South Bend is a different animal altogether.
The Irish offensively have been a juggernaut with Hartman under center. Notre Dame is averaging 304.2 yards per game passing and 204.5 yards per game rushing, for an overall offensive ranking of 16th in college football. In their four games this season, Notre Dame has scored 42, 56, 45, and 41 points respectively.
The entire Notre Dame fanbase has more confidence, thanks in large part to the fact that they have a quarterback in Hartman who they believe puts them on even ground with the big boys. This season, Hartman has thrown for 1,061 yards and 13 touchdowns while throwing zero interceptions in those four games.
Ohio State’s defense is also much better this season, especially at stopping the big play. The Buckeyes have only allowed two touchdowns through the first three games, and on both scores, their opponent has had to do so by driving down the field. On both occasions, those touchdown drives were 11-play drives, and on both occasions, the defense didn’t allow another score the rest of the game.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the “Silver Bullet” defense is back. We are about to find out this Saturday. I do believe Notre Dame is going to score some points. I do not believe they are going to come close to their yearly average, but they will put the ball across the goal line. My confidence level in this defense this week is at a seven, which is slightly higher than our offense.