No. 9 Notre Dame streaking into Virginia
No. 9 Notre Dame will go for its fifth victory in a row when it visits the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday evening in Charlottesville, Va.
The Fighting Irish (8-1) are coming off a dominant 34-6 win over Navy, which marked the team’s third straight win by double digits. Notre Dame has won 39 consecutive games against unranked opponents, and it will go for No. 40 this weekend.
“Well, I guess that’s pretty consistent,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. “You know, consistency and performance is important, right, in anything you do. So what we’re doing, how we do it on a day-to-day basis, (it’s) about our process every single day, and we stick with it.
“It’s proven to be effective. You know, sometimes I get up here and it sounds like the same old, same old, but it’s proven to be pretty effective. Our guys probably feel the same way, too. They hear it every day. But they believe in it. They’re 100 percent bought in on how we do things on a day-to-day basis, and our standards have shown that it’s been really effective.
“So we won’t be changing anything any time soon.”
That could be bad news for Virginia (6-3).
The Cavaliers are coming off a bye and will try to bounce back from a 66-49 loss against then-No. 25 BYU two weeks ago. The Cavaliers have given up 40-plus points in back-to-back games but also have scored 40-plus points during those contests.
Much of Virginia’s success on offense has been led by quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who has completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 3,557 yards, 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Armstrong also has rushed for 271 yards and seven touchdowns.
However, there is uncertainty about Armstrong’s status for this week. He sustained a rib injury against BYU on Oct. 31, and Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall avoided specifics when asked about his starting signal-caller.
“I’m planning on him being our quarterback,” Mendenhall said. “I probably won’t have an update until the ball is kicked off and we all look out there and see who our quarterback is.”
Notre Dame’s primary quarterback is Jack Coan, who has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 1,879 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has rushed for one score.
The Irish have leaned heavily on their running game this season. Top running back Kyren Williams has rushed for 802 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards a carry.
Kevin Austin Jr. leads Notre Dame with 531 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Michael Mayer is next on the list with 493 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Virginia defensive lineman Mandy Alonso said he and his teammates were eager for the opportunity to go up against a top-10 team.
“This is what you train for all season,” Alonso said. “You want to be in these positions. We’ve put our team in a good enough position to have our goals in reach, and I think (coach Mendenhall) is real happy with us right now, and we’re in a good position to (achieve) what we wanted to do at the start of the season.”
–Field Level Media