GAME WATCH PREVIEW: TOLEDO
NO Game Watch This Weekend!
WHO: Toledo at Notre Dame (Notre Dame Stadium, cap. 77,622)
WHEN: Saturday, September 11, 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Nowhere! There is no game watch this week!
PARKING: Depends on how many cars in your driveway
BRING: Nothing! There is no game watch this week!
TV: The game is only on Peacock. Do not look for it on NBC! You will be disappointed. Do not show up at Blake Street. You will be very lonely and will be stuck watching Rutgers at Syracuse, and really: why? They will still feed you, though.
Toledo (1-0 over Norfolk State last week; 0-0 MAC) is expected to win their division of the MAC conference this year and will not be an easy out for the Irish, who have been further decimated by injuries this week. In fact, it would not surprise this writer if Toledo battled ND hard, similar to Ball State in 2018.
The big question mark for ND coming into this season was the offensive line. On paper, they are very talented, but are inexperienced. And the least experienced of them all, true freshman left tackle Blake Fisher, is out for an estimated 8 weeks with a knee; he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus this week. Last week, the Irish had a hard time generating a running game, tallying less than 70 yards all told.
In addition, Notre Dame was thin at linebacker, having lost Marist Liufau going into the FSU game. Unfortunately, Notre Dame has also lost linebackers Shayne Simon (torn labrum) and Paul Moala (second torn Achilles in two years); both are out for the year. The situation is so bad that Xavier Watts, a wide receiver, is now working with the linebackers. Look for Toledo to try to exploit this in their passing game, one of their strengths.
Expect Toledo to test the Irish secondary through the air, as their passing game is one of their relative strengths. They have had trouble with the running game, which should continue against Notre Dame’s defensive line, especially if we play more four down sets throughout the game.
Toledo returns a lot of talent from last year on both sides of the ball.
On defense, they are a bit undersized in the trenches, and look for Notre Dame to exploit this, both in the running game and in pass protection. If Toledo can’t get to Jack Coan, he may have a field day.
Something to note: Toledo blocked two punts in their first game this year, and so we can’t fall asleep when punting.
The odds makers say Notre Dame is -16.5 in this game, but last FSU covered the spread. I am concerned that Toledo will play us tough in the first half.
Bill’s prediction: Notre Dame pulls away in the second half. Notre Dame 42, Toledo 17.
– Bill Webb, 88, 91JD