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2019 Game XIII Camping World Bowl: Iowa State vs. Notre Dame Football Preview

The Cyclones Travel South to Florida for the First Ever Matchup against The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame!

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame
Bring on RUDY and those Golden Domes!
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

2019 Game XIII Camping World Bowl: Iowa State (7-5) vs. University of Notre Dame (10-2)

Date: Saturday, December 28th, 2019

Time: 11:00 A.M. CST

Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Capacity: 65,000

Line: Notre Dame -3.5

Television: ABC

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network

Game Notes/Release

Notre Dame Game Notes

SB Nation Website –“One Foot Down

Couldn’t have asked for a much better spot for a bowl game than this one folks! All things considered, given Iowa State’s disappointing record and a complete gaffe in the last game of the season, the Cyclones are still travelling to warm and sunny Orlando, FL for a berth in the Camping World Bowl.

My hats off to you all – the fans. Pat yourselves on the back for this one, you degenerate drunkards and loyal season-ticket holders. This Natty Lite is for you. But in all seriousness, without the undying support of Cyclone fandom, (and behind-the-scenes work of Jamie Pollard), this wouldn’t be possible.

Now for a game to play. Bring on The Irish, and an iconic #CatholicsVsCombines Matchup!

When we last left off….

I have gone back and re-watched every single game this year, except this one. The Kansas State affair was like it always is – ugly, slow, methodical, and one where you want to pull your hair out! This was one of those tapes you throw in the trash and burn…

Aside from the fact the Cyclone defense got dominated on the ground, the passing offense never clicked. Campbell and company tried like hell to get the run game going, and guess what – it never worked. Given the fact it was windier than when Dorothy’s house blew away in the Wizard of Oz, Brock Purdy never got into a rhythm and this offense failed to gain traction.

A complete domination in all phases offensively, defensively, and special teams. Although I thought punter Joe Rivera played his best in a Cyclone uniform.

This Cyclone team got an early morning wake up call, and will use that fuel for their fire, as they will most definitely be game-planning incessantly for a match-up with a top-15 team.

Notre Dame Tidbits

The Golden Dome is iconic, not only for the history, but also for all of its success. If you were to write a book about college football (and ESPN is doing so in their CFB 150 series), there has to be a chapter with Notre Dame in it.

Though the majority of their success came 90-100 years ago, Notre Dame is still a top-notch program, with a fan base sprinkled throughout much of the United States, and a roster full of NFL talent.

This year’s squad is 10-2, and, according to all media outlets, feel they got hosed on a Camping World berth. While the Fighting Irish played one of the toughest schedules, (against 7 ranked teams, and beat 3 in the CFP top-25), their lone blemish on their resume is a 14-45 drubbing against Michigan.

After that loss, UND has run off FIVE consecutive victories, but hardly any favor with the college football voters. They are ranked 15th in the CFP poll, carry a top-15 offense AND defense (statistically), and went undefeated for the second year in a row at home.

They are led by 10th year head coach Brian Kelly, who is known for his offensive prowess, and has a great one in senior Quarterback Ian Book. Kelly parted ways with is offensive coordinator following the regular season, and play calls for the bowl game will be made by 27-year old (and former Irish QB) Tommy Rees.

The Series

This is the first ever matchup pitting these two foes, and will be a dandy, as the spread is only 3.5 favoring Notre Dame. Most bettors favor ISU with the points, and many expect it to be a very close contest. Notre Dame is 29-6-1 all-time against Big 12 opponents.

Iowa State Offense

The offensive line will have their work cut out for them, as ND carries a very talented and athletic front-four, and a tremendous pass-rush. Iowa State has 4 starting seniors on the line, and it will be important for them to communicate effectively (and listen to the cadence so we don’t have any more God Damn False Starts!).

Quarterback Brock Purdy will have all his weapons at his disposal, but will most likely be under pressure all day. Look for coordinator Tom Manning to utilize both the play-action pass and rollouts to his advantage, getting Purdy some green grass to run. I seem to think Campbell has pulled the reigns back from Brock running the ball, (and rightly so, can’t get our best player hurt), but this would be a perfect game-plan seeing #15 run in space and become a threat (especially on 3rd downs).

First Key to Victory – Gotta Start Fast

Notre Dame’s greatest success has been in the beginning of the game, as they only allow 3.7 points in the first quarter. It will be important for Manning’s script to be uber-efficient from the get-go, putting Purdy in manageable third downs, and for this team to clean up their act with unforced penalties. If Iowa State can get a few clock-eating drives going in that first 15 minutes, it will go a long way toward the finish.

The running game has been sort-of Jekyll-and-Hyde all year long, and that all comes down to the offensive line’s push at the point of attack. Look for Breece Hall to get the ball outside the hashes, as UND has allowed 230 or more rushing yards in five of their games this season. #28 will take a huge load off Purdy if he can get his wheels turning, and I expect that Campbell will do everything in his power to win the Time of Possession, keeping Ian Book and that offense off the field.

UND’s linebackers are the weak link to this defense, so look for multiple targets to our tight end – especially do-it-all Charlie Kolar, who is top-6 in the country in catches, yards per game and TDs. I could see some bigger packages with our two tight ends (now that Dylan Soehner is out, it can’t be 3. ☹), taking away the Fighting Irish’s strength in their secondary.

The receivers will be up against a fight, playing versus one of the most physical and athletic defensive backfields in all of College Football. One player that relishes that opportunity is Senior La’Michael Pettway, as he has turned it on in the latter half of the season, and can bang with those big bodies. Deshaunte Jones and Tarique Milton add a different flavor to this offense and can take the top off. Look for both to take advantage of the middle of the field, and for Jones to be Purdy’s safety blanket (especially on third downs).

I think Brock can be efficient, but only if he has time to go through his progressions. While this Notre Dame defense is stout against the pass, you look at their schedule and they really haven’t played many programs who are as pass-heavy as the Big 12 (or ISU for that matter).

Notre Dame Defense

A very stingy bunch here, as Coordinator Clark Lea has held opponents to 30 points or less in 24 of the last 25 games. It all starts up front with the defensive line, and this group is full of NFL talent. Not only are the starters full of production, but the 2-deep is as athletic as they come.

The Fighting Irish implore a 4-man line, and are led by defensive end Khalid Kareem, who has 10 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks, both team-highs. His counterpart Julian Okwara was better (and even named to the AP All-American 2nd Team), but is out for the year with a fractured fibula. The defensive tackles are first-time starters in 2019, but have held their own, allowing only 3.9 yards per rush on the year.

Second Key to Victory – No Turnovers

What butters this defense’s bread is forcing turnovers, and so far the Fighting Irish have forced 26 takeaways (good for 2nd in the FBS). The majority of their pressure comes by way of fumbles, as opponents have dropped the ball 31 times, UND has picked up 17 of those, and brought 3 back for paydirt.

It will be important for Purdy to stay calm in the pocket, and throw the ball away when nothing is there. This defense is very aggressive and faster than most in the Big 12.

The second line of defense is led by Asmar Bilal, as he has played in 50 games, and started 16. All three linebackers lead the team in tackles respectively, and rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is their pseudo nickel-back, covering the field from sideline to sideline.

The secondary is special, with tons of experience and a unit that is 3rd best in the country in passing defense. Their safeties are top-notch, as both have combined for 63 starts, and Alohi Gilman was named 2nd Team All-American by the Associated Press. They have another stellar athlete that is too good not to see the field in true freshman Kyle Hamilton. The 6-foot-4 210-pound 5-star recruit leads the team with four interceptions, including this pick-six earlier in the year.

The Verdict – EVEN

For every strength Iowa State carries, Notre Dame has a counter move. I will be inclined to see how Manning and his staff can create separation in the passing game, especially with smaller receivers like Milton and Jones. If the Cyclones can start fast and get the run game going, it will be a good day. If not, we might be in for another shootout and heralded comeback.

Iowa State Defense

Maybe a step back for this 2019 Cyclone defense, as their calling card over the last 2.5 seasons has been Jon Heacock and his fundamentally-sound attack. In the Kansas State game, ISU was simply beat in the trenches, and could not wrap up. I can’t wait for the science experiment Heacock has up his sleeve.

Notre Dame loves to establish the run, and has been a focal point for Brian Kelly his whole career. It will be important for Ray Lima in his last game in the Cardinal and Gold to rally the troops and fight for position. The defensive line will more than likely shake things up, getting Will McDonald on the field (in passing downs), and for Jamahl Johnson to see extra snaps (deservedly so).

One reason for the demise in the 2019 defense has been the health of Greg Eisworth. He carries so much weight, not only in the passing game, but more importantly against the run. Every day he gets rest is better for Cyclone Nation, as #12 is special.

The linebackers will need to keep an eye on Quarterback Ian Book, as the tall drink of water can scoot, especially in the red zone. They run a lot of designed quarterback runs, and it will be important for Mike Rose, Marcel Spears, Jr. and company to shed blocks in the second level.

Not only that, but Notre Dame runs a lot of two tight-end sets, and carry with them a stellar receiving threat in Cole Kmet. The play-action pass is where he excels, especially up the seam, and it will be important for our linebackers to keep their head on a swivel.

Third Key to Victory – Contain Claypool

Aside from the tight end production, there is only one other man to focus the attention on – Chase Claypool. The Irish put Claypool in all sorts of different alignments, but he is best on the outside, and down the field. It will be important to have a safety over the top at all times watching #83.

Datrone Young has most likely been supplanted by Tayvonn Kyle at the corner spot, and his counterpart Anthony Johnson will need to play one of his best games, most likely covering Claypool. I would love to continue to see blitzes from our secondary, namely Johnson, as #26 has been effective at wreaking havoc.

Notre Dame Offense

This Fighting Irish offense is led by two-year starter Ian Book, who became the first UND quarterback to accomplish 2500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards, and throw 30 touchdowns in a season. He completes 59% of his throws and is nimble outside of the pocket. Watching tape, he has made clutch runs on fourth-downs and in the red zone to win games for this squad.

His line has done their part, just allowing Book to get sacked on 3rd down once in the last 8 games. They did lose their mid-season All-American guard halfway through the year, and the right tackle with four games to go. So far, they haven’t missed a beat, paving the way for this big boy out of the backfield.

Tony Jones, Jr. may not rack up the stats, but has been efficient for this Notre Dame offense, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and leading the team with five touchdowns. He is all of 224-pounds, but has the ability to create space in the open field. We may also see more a running-back-by-committee approach, as C’Bo Flemister has come on as of late, and creates a spark.

If you see #25 in motion, keep an eye on the end-around as receiver Braden Lenzy has blazing speed, and has carried the ball for a 19-yard average. He will share playing time in the slot with Chris Finke, as the latter is third on the team with 35 grabs.

The tight ends are led by Cole Kmet, who has Charlie Kolar size (and hands), and is second on the squad with 41 catches, 482 yards and 6 touchdowns. His backup is no slouch either, as 4 of 12 Tommy Tremble’s catches have gone for 6.

Wide Receiver Chase Claypool is one of the best in the country, as the 6-5 senior went off against Navy for FOUR touchdowns. He has done it in a myriad of ways, but is best known for his leaping ability and downfield targets. He leads the team with 59 catches, 891 yards and an impressive 12 TDs.

The Verdict – Notre Dame

This team is full of talent, but most notably an experienced starting quarterback. I see ISU running every bit of different schemes and blitzes at Book, but the veteran has the where-with-all to adapt. The running game has been inconsistent, but that will be overshadowed by the play of Claypool, (and escapability of Book on pressure downs).

Special Teams

Whatd’ya know – another good special teams! Notre Dame carries with them a strong leg in kicker Jonathan Doerer, as the junior is 13-for-16 on field goals, and has made 6-of-9 beyond 40.

Neither return teams excite me much, as the Irish do boom nearly half of their kickoffs through the end zone. Notre Dame did block a punt in their last game, and have three on the year.

The punting matchup is a stand-still, as both are average at best, while UND’s Jay Bramblett averages 40 yards per punt, with only 1 touchback. Impressive…

Verdict – Notre Dame

Death. Taxes. And Iowa State losing the Special Teams battle.

I would love to see Campbell hire someone in the offseason to take over this role full-time if he could.

Winning Scale from 1 to 10

Boy oh Boy! A great matchup on paper, as both squads have some tremendous abilities to put up points, yet have under-performed to pre-season expectations.

I see this outcome as a complete coin flip. Most media pundits give ISU anywhere from a 40-45% chance at winning, and I predict the same. If you were to compare a 1 to Nebraska fans’ feelings about not playing in a bowl game (again), and 10 to LSU fans elated at making the College Football Playoff (or just Ed Orgeron for that matter), I give ISU’s chances of winning right at an Expectation of an Iowa Hawkeye Fan.

It truly is amazing how much Hok fans are always mad about Nate Stanley and Kirk Ferentz, (especially after they win 9 games, again).

Final Analysis

I have a feeling Iowa State will be playing from behind in this one. I think it may be similar to the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State contests where a few errors are had on defense, and it takes awhile for the Purdy offensive train to start moving.

Both teams are efficient in the red zone, so we should see a lot of points, but it won’t be quite the shootout you would expect, as both defenses can impose their will for certain moments of the game. I see Heacock making second-half adjustments (as he always does), but too little too late, as ISU back-door covers, and falls short by a field goal.

Final Score

Iowa State 27

Notre Dame 30

Hit us up with your predictions in the comment section below!