The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to extend their win streak to three games when they meet up with the 16th-ranked BYU Cougars at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.Notre Dame (2-2) was off last week after its best performance of the early season, a 45-32 road win against previously undefeated North Carolina. The offense, led by sophomore quarterback Drew Pyne, showed what it was capable of the first time all year. Pyne threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns. The running game accounted for 287 yards. Audric Estime led the way with 134 yards and two touchdowns, and Chris Tyree added 80 yards and a touchdown. BYU (4-1) beat Utah State 38-26 last Thursday. Quarterback Jaren Hall threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars are getting healthy on offense. Wide receiver Gunner Romney made his season debut against Utah State, and the Cougars other top receiving threat, Puka Nucua, is expected to play Saturday. Caesars Sportsbook lists Notre Dame as a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 51. Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. BYU Cougars
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Notre Dame -3.5
Money line: Notre Dame -179; BYU +150
Analysis: This is going to be a physical battle up front. BYU has one of the nation’s best offensive lines year in and year out, and Notre Dame has really gotten its running game going since Pyne took over three weeks ago. The Cougars were not good against Utah State. They struggled for more than a half until the Aggies began turning the ball over.
This line has moved slightly from Notre Dame -3 to -3.5. That might be because there are some concerns about BYU’s defense, in particular the Cougars’ run defense. Notre Dame’s defense will also be tested with BYU having its full assortment of skill players for the first time this season.
It looks like a tight game with a few lead changes. The SP+ numbers from ESPN say these two teams are very close, with Notre Dame having a slight edge.
Prediction: Notre Dame 27, BYU 24