If it was up to the Notre Dame players, they probably wish the game against Northwestern was last Sunday and not this Saturday. Yet the 15th-ranked Fighting Irish had to let an unpleasant experience in the desert against Arizona State fester for longer than they wanted before facing visiting Northwestern. That cannot be good news for the 3-6 Wildcats, whose lone highlight this season was a convincing 29-6 win at Penn State.
No one wants redemption more than Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who took responsibility for five turnovers in a 55-31 loss to ASU. Golson entered the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but has likely seen those hopes dashed in the last few weeks. With three games left in November, the Irish have a chance to finish the regular season with 10 wins for only the third time in over a decade.
Of the 125 FBS teams, only Temple has fewer underclassmen on its two-deep, so the Irish’s seven wins and huge fanbase sets them up not only for a nice bowl, but any additional wins push them toward a January bowl and a full month of extra practice that comes with it.
First, though, Northwestern awaits, and the Wildcats are coming off a last-second loss to Michigan. The Wildcats will not be intimidated since they handed Penn State its worst loss of the season, 29-6 on the road in front of 102,910 fans. Notre Dame is coming off what head coach Brian Kelly cleverly called “the Debacle in the Desert.”
Clearly, though, the Irish have a talent advantage and when that is combined with a desire to wash that taste of sand out of their mouths, that’s a tough combination to beat — at least not by Northwestern, a three-touchdown underdog.
Prediction: Notre Dame 28, Northwestern 7