Notre Dame vs. Iowa State: Camping World Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
Notre Dame vs. Iowa State: Camping World Bowl Broadcast
Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State (7-5) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Camping World Bowl
– Talk all you want about how important it is to be a part of a New Year’s Six bowl, but Penn State and Memphis are playing in the Cotton Bowl at the exact same time as Notre Dame and Iowa State are playing in the Camping World. Being on ESPN – like the Cotton is – is like being on any other network now, but the Camping World is on ABC.
It’s also one of the lead-ins to the big College Football Playoff games – both on ESPN – with the hype as a big opening act that should get a massive audience.
Now the game has to play up to the spotlight.
This has turned into one of the most lopsided bowl games over the last few seasons with blowouts in each of the last six games. This one should be stronger.
– Brian Kelly has come up with his fourth straight ten-win season, but a win makes this his third 11-plus win season in his ten years. It might not be like playing in the College Football Playoff like last year’s team did, but a win would close out the year with a sixth straight victory with the lone losses coming to Georgia and Michigan. Win, and it’ll almost certainly be the third top ten-finish in the Kelly era. Irish fans might want more, but it would still be a terrific year.
– What’s so great about the Matt Campbell era at Iowa State is how playing Notre Dame in a big-day bowl game doesn’t seem so crazy. However, this is one of the biggest and most important bowl games the program has ever played in. It’s Iowa State – this isn’t normal.
The program is 4-10 since first going to a bowl game in 1971, and Campbell is 1-1 in his two trips to the swag bag games. Beating Notre Dame in the game before the College Football Playoff would be a really, really big deal.
CFN Podcast: Camping World Bowl discussion, picks
Why Iowa State Will Win
– And the Notre Dame offensive coordinator is … ? Chip Long helped crank up a devastating running attack that helped get the Irish to the College Football Playoff last year and finished the 2019 regular season averaging 429 yards and 37 points per game. He’s gone, and Brian Kelly has started up bowl prep without an official OC.
The O kicked it into high gear over the second half of the season, but can it keep on producing at the same high level? Iowa State’s defense might not be amazing, but – for what it’s worth – was one of the Big 12’s best at times.
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– It’s a showcase game for Brock Purdy. The sophomore quarterback put up a brilliant season throwing for 3,760 yards and 27 touchdowns with nine picks – three coming in the loss to Oklahoma State. He’s able to run a bit, he’s excellent at pushing the ball down the field, and he’s accurate enough to bother an Irish secondary that hasn’t faced too many top bombers.
USC’s Kedon Slovis and Virginia’s Bryce Perkins threw well, but Purdy has the offense and ability to be the second 300-yard passer – Perkins was the first – against the ND D. However, unlike what Perkins had to deal with in the Cavs’ loss …
– Iowa State should be able to hold up against the Irish pass rush. The Cyclone O line led the Big 12 in fewest sacks allowed, and now it gets an inconsistent Irish pass rush that crushed Perkins with eight sacks, but has been feast or famine. Give Purdy time to operate and let the deep plays develop, and this might get into more of a shootout than Notre Dame might like.
Yeah, Purdy is great, but …
Why Notre Dame Will Win
– For this to work, Iowa State has to get its running game going. That’s a problem. The O line might be solid, and it might be terrific in pass protection. but the team is 0-4 this season when running for fewer than 100 yards. The ground game won’t go off, but it has to do something to take the pressure and heat off the quarterback.
Notre Dame’s defensive front was pounded on by Michigan, gave up 281 yards to the Navy offense – the Irish won easily, though – and struggled early on, but it’s allowed fewer than 130 rushing yards in six of its last nine games. Notre Dame allowed fewer than four yards per carry, and Iowa State hasn’t hit the four-yard mark in six of its last nine games.
– Ian Book is better than you think. The Irish QB might not be consistently accurate enough, and he might not always hit the deep passes, but he has only thrown six picks with 33 touchdown passes. There’s a problem if the Irish get caught up in a shootout of passing games, but even though Purdy threw for almost 1,000 yards more than Book, Book threw six more touchdown passes. Best of all …
– Book is solid when he has to be on third downs, and Iowa State’s defense has a hard time getting off the field. Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas State were all able to convert on 50% of their third down tries – the Irish can do that. They survived USC and blew out Boston College and Duke by nailing third down try after third down try.
Notre Dame doesn’t do too much to control the clock. However, keep Purdy on the sidelines, rely on a secondary that’s more than strong enough to hold its own and win its share of battles, and the same formula that rocked for Kansas State should work for the Irish.