Miami vs. Notre Dame Rivalry
When two top ten teams meet in a regular season matchup in November, the stakes are already high. Add in a rivalry game and it’s sure to be one of the best games all season. This isn’t just any rivalry though, this is Miami vs. Notre Dame — perhaps the most storied rivalry of the late 80’s in college football. It adds a deeper meaning in the present day with both teams looking to stake claim at a playoff berth. For Notre Dame, beating an undefeated Miami team only strengthens an already impressive resume. For the Miami Hurricanes, it adds to the narrative that the U is a legit power this season.
Momentum Fueling Both Teams
Currently the Miami Hurricanes have the most active win streak in FBS football, dating back to last season, with 13 straight wins. It just so happens that the last team to defeat the Miami Hurricanes was the Notre Dame Irish with a late field goal, after the Hurricanes came back from being down 20 points. Since that time, both teams have improved drastically; Miami used that loss to propel them for the rest of the season winning it’s first bowl game in a decade. Meanwhile Notre Dame is off to one of the best starts in recent school history, only losing to an undefeated Georgia Bulldog team, by one point.
The Notre Dame offense has carved opponents all year running the football. The left side of the Fighting Irish offensive line (Mike McGlinchy and Quenton Nelson) both are projected to be first round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Add to that the dual threat ability of quarterback Brandon Wimbush and a Heisman contender in the backfield with Josh Adams. There may not be a more dynamic backfield duo in terms of rushing. Together, the two lead the nation’s fifth most rushing yards per game. Adams is currently averaging eight yards a carry and is nine yards away from 1,200 yards on the season going into the tenth game of the year. Wimbush has already scored 13 touchdowns rushing and has passed for another 11.
Although the rivalry between Notre Dame and Miami is unlike any sibling rivalry, there will be one on the field when the teams play. Notre Dame running back Deon McIntosh will be playing against his older brother Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle RJ McIntosh. Last week against the Virginia Tech Hokies, the older sibling recovered a fumble and returned the ball 35 yards using his 300 pound frame. Kirk Herbstreit announced while he was running the ball that there is no way that RJ McIntosh didn’t play another position before becoming a defensive tackle. There is truth to that, in middle school Deon McIntosh was getting notoriety for his play, but a coach saw that he was allowing too many girls to distract him. So the coach ended up kicking him off of the team and the new running back was none other than big brother.
Whether fans want to admit it or not, college football is better when Miami is good. After dismantling Virginia Tech last week in the primetime ABC matchup, more people are finally giving Miami it’s just due. College Gameday being one of them. For the first time in over a decade, the University of Miami will host the ESPN show for the much anticipated showdown.
For the first time in more than a decade, we're headed to The U!
Notre Dame. Miami. We can't wait. pic.twitter.com/UEoiKKT0SN
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 5, 2017
More important than the return of College Gameday is the excitement around the Miami Hurricanes. Back-to-back weeks, the Hurricanes will be playing primetime games in front of 60,000 fans. The crowd played a major impact in the victory against Virginia Tech and will be integral against the Fighting Irish. The turnover chain is an additional piece adding to the notoriety of Miami. Last week, ESPN released a new graphic for recipients of the chain and cameras caught Jennifer Lopez cheering as Alex Rodriguez dawned his own turnover chain.
A-Rod and J. Lo reppin' the 🙌 pic.twitter.com/lXUIR6jLwp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 5, 2017
Iron Sharpens Iron
The lone game that Josh Adams was really stopped was against the Georgia Bulldogs. That game served as the blueprint for teams to win against Notre Dame. Well that is easier to say than to execute, if any team has a chance at it though it’s the Hurricanes. Miami’s biggest strength is their defensive line and how quickly they can shift the line of scrimmage. Notre Dame has yet to really depend on the passing ability of Brandon Wimbush to defeat an opponent. He is only averaging 160 yards through the air per game. Due to the running attack, he hasn’t been pressured throwing the ball either, on the season he has only thrown two interceptions.
This is where Miami has a favorable advantage. Against Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes defense was able to pressure the Hokies quarterback into uncharacteristic throws, two of which resulted in interceptions. On the season, there is no team that averages more tackles for loss than Miami. One of the biggest keys will be stopping the rushing attack of Wimbush and Adams in order to force Wimbush to throw the ball in order to defeat Miami.
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