Notre Dame (8-4) will look to finish by Marcus Freeman first season with a bowl victory against South Carolina (8-4). Both teams come into this game with strong finishes for the 2022 regular season. South Carolina finished its regular season campaign with a pair of wins against the top 10 teams while the Irish have won five of their last six games. .
Notre Dame needs a win over the Gamecocks to get some much-needed momentum ahead of Freeman’s first full offseason.
Location: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Florida)
When: December 30 – 3:30 p.m. ET
propagated: Notre Dame -2.0, O/U 52
IB has broken down the game and now it’s time for us to make our predictions.
BRYAN DRISKELL, EDITOR
Prediction: Notre Dame 37, South Carolina 24
I have a lot of respect for what Shane Beamer did with this team, which finished the season strong and overcame bad losses on several occasions. It’s similar to what Notre Dame went through, but at the end of the day, I don’t think South Carolina is as good as they looked the last two games, just like I don’t think that’s as bad as it looked in blowout losses against Georgia and Florida. Notre Dame, for me, is the most talented team, now they have to show that they can be the best prepared and best trained team.
Notre Dame has the arms on the perimeter on both sides of the ball to deny and perceive the benefits of athleticism. This is especially true given South Carolina’s personnel losses on defense. South Carolina has talented pass catchers and a talented quarterback, but Notre Dame has faced better quarterbacks and better pass catchers all season. It’s about Notre Dame being able to play their game with their best passing thrower and veteran coverage.
Where Notre Dame ultimately holds the greatest advantage, and why I think they win this game convincingly, is the advantage they should have in the trenches. Notre Dame should be able to run the ball effectively against the Gamecocks, and the extra bodies they will need to put in the box to slow down the Irish ground attack will lead to several big plays in the passing game that will open this game.
I’m leaving with a 13-point Irish win in part because I factor in that they’re rusty after last month’s layoff, and more importantly, the three-month layoff quarterback Tyler Bucher had. If the Irish exit quickly and accurately, this game could be a serious blowout. If Notre Dame is sloppy, lacks concentration and if Al Golden has a passive game plan, then this result will be quite different and the Gamecocks could pick up a win.
Prediction: Notre Dame 38, South Carolina 24
Of all the choices we had to make for bowl season, I feel like this was the easiest for me. Yes, I’m a Notre Dame fan at heart and yes, I want the Irish to win every time they step onto the pitch. I will never deny it. There are of course question marks about this game from an Irish perspective. What will the offense look like without Michael Mayer? How will be Tyler Bucher deal with his first real success in three months and can he be the dynamic QB people think he can become? Will the defense be able to generate a consistent pass rush without the all-time best sacker in Isaiah Foskey? Will the CBs be able to hold up in the absence of Cam Hart? These are all things I’ll be looking at when we log on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
With all that said, South Carolina has about triple the opt-outs Notre Dame has and they’re all over the place on both sides of the ball. Lead rusher out. Two top corners, out. Best player of the first seven, eliminated. And make no mistake, the Gamecocks also have QB questions. When you look up the word inconsistent in the dictionary, there is a picture of spencer ratter. Will they have the kid who threw over 80% against Tennessee or the kid who threw two INTs against Clemson and gave the Tigers easy runs? He has a ton of talent that I’m sure a wayward NFL team drools over.
Ultimately, I think the Irish are built to run the game and will do so with relative ease against this defense which gives up just under 200 yards on the ground. Buchner will also take advantage of the zero coverage and one-on-one opportunities available to him. It will be a game where the ball is distributed and the Irish WR will start to make a name for themselves and get us excited for the future. The defense will do enough to shake Rattler up in a few turnovers, which will be more than enough for the offense to take advantage of. In the end, the Irish won by a few points.
RYAN ROBERTS, RECRUITMENT DIRECTOR
Prediction: Notre Dame 34, South Carolina 20
It’s going to be exciting to see what Notre Dame’s offense will look like after a few weeks of exploring a new identity behind the quarterback. Tyler Bucher. There are key players to replace, but the Irish have some intriguing talent to fill.
On the South Carolina side, they will be responsible for replacing a large number of key contributors due to dropouts. They ended the year on a high note, but so much roster attrition will be hard to top.
SHAUN DAVIS, RECRUITMENT ANALYST
Prediction: Notre Dame 27, South Carolina 20
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Two 8-4 football teams with two impressive head coaches and two excellent special teams. Looks like a balanced football game. The Gamecocks have the best quarterback in spencer ratter, but the Fighting Irish have the best overall defense. Both teams have important players who have opted out of bowling to pursue their NFL dreams or enter the transfer portal. Personally, it sounds like a sports soap opera, and I can’t wait to find out which co-stars will steal the show in Jacksonville on Friday afternoon. My feeling is that the Fighting Irish defense will stick to their season trend of keeping opposing quarterbacks below their normal output, and their running game will be enough.
SEAN STIRES, WRITER
Prediction: Notre Dame 30, South Carolina 22
Notre Dame will face another former Oklahoma quarterback when spencer ratter takes the field for South Carolina, while the Irish offense hosts Tyler Bucher back in charge after missing 10 games with a shoulder injury. Buchner is returning to a situation where the offensive line and running game have improved a lot since the first two games of the season which saw him average 12 rush attempts per game. South Carolina already hasn’t handled the ball well and they’re without their top two rushers and a few offensive linemen. They also didn’t stop the rush well, as Florida and Arkansas showed when they each ran for over 200 yards. If the Irish are heading the ball, Buchner should only need 15-18 pass attempts and shouldn’t need to carry more than five or six times himself.
ANDREW MCDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Notre Dame 30, South Carolina 21
Tyler Bucher returns to start at QB after missing most of the season in a game that could define his future career trajectory. He will miss All-American TE Michael Mayer, but it gives his young receiving corps a big opportunity to strengthen ahead of the offseason. Buchner’s task will be made easier by the fact that the Irish have a significant advantage in the trenches, especially with the recent decision to Jarrett Patterson player.
South Carolina ranked 13th in the SEC in rush defense, giving up more than 192 yards per game. Notre Dame will get a push up front – aided by the double threat of Buchner’s legs – forcing the Gamecocks to engage bodies in the box and hit deep action shots over the top. With victory, Marcus FreemanThe first team ends the season having won 6 of 7 games, gaining momentum during the offseason.
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Content of the Irish breakdown
Notre Dame 2022 Roster
Schedule Notre-Dame 2022
Notre Dame Scholarship Offers 2023
Notre Dame Scholarship Offers 2024
Ranking of signatories 2022 – Attack
Ranking of signatories 2022 – Defense
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