Loyal Cougars

BYU vs. Notre Dame preview and 9-line prediction

Zach previews BYU and Notre Dame with his 9-line prediction.

I’m told BYU played a football game against Notre Dame last season. For some reason, I have no recollection of said football game. Call it voluntary amnesia. The Cougars travel to South Bend for a second-straight year looking for a signature road win against a BCS opponent. This time, against a Notre Dame team fresh off an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. Here is the Loyal Cougars preview, set up as nine Vegas style lines.

  1. Taysom Hill Total Yards – Line:  295.5– The Wisconsin defense did what the Texas defense could not: make Taysom Hill one-dimensional. The result was a win for the Badgers and another difficult learning experience for BYU’s most important player. Hill’s 58.5 quarterback rating was his lowest output of the season since the loss to Utah in September. Simply put, Hill needs to be better for BYU to be able to win at Notre Dame. Last year, BYU had a chance to beat a then-undefeated Fighting Irish squad with just one completed pass over the middle. The Cougars were done in by bad quarterback play. Both Hill personally, and the BYU quarterback position as a whole, will have a chance to rectify their respective situations in front of a nationally televised NBC audience. The Notre Dame rush defense is ranked in the middle of the nation and had trouble stopping Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly earlier this season. BYU and Arizona State run a similar scheme.  OVER
  2. Longest Touchdown of the Game – Line: 51.5 yards – Big plays are essential for a victory on the road. BYU failed to have any noticeable big plays against Wisconsin. Or Virginia. This needs to change for BYU. And it’s not just the BYU offense with the burden of proof on this issue. The BYU defense needs to button-down-the-hatches and make Notre Dame drive long distances on sustained drives. UNDER
  3. BYU defense redzone TD percentage – LINE:  60% – Logically connected to making Notre Dame go the length of the field on a consistent basis to beat you is stopping the Irish if they get into the redzone. BYU has allowed an 84% redzone conversion rate during the 2013 campaign. The Cougars allow under 60% of those conversions to be TD’s. The Cougars will need to limit that number to win on Saturday. OVER
  4. Tommy Rees Total TD Passes + Int’s: LINE – 3.5 – Last season Notre Dame was wholly unable to throw the ball effectively against the BYU secondary. Tommy Rees finished with just seven completions and 117 yards on the day. It was the Notre Dame rushing attack that did the Cougars in. Bronco Mendenhall has to be pleased that Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood are no longer wearing the blue and gold. BYU’s defense was soundly beaten upfront against Wisconsin two weeks ago. This game will be very similar. Playing tough, bruising squads in November is not something BYU has historically had to deal with. Independence has changed that. This is the Cougars’ final chance to make a splash on the national stage and the defense will need to rise to the challenge. BYU wants the ball in Tommy Rees’s hands with the game on the line. That being said, Rees has a terrific receiver in TJ Jones who can make plays in the secondary. Can BYU’s defense rise to the challenge?  UNDER
  5. Adam Hine Returns Over 40 Yards:  LINE – 1.5  – Adam Hine continues to show his playmaking ability. His skills in the kickoff game are set to win BYU a game in the near future (and probably should have in the past if that horrible flag on his return against Utah was never thrown). Notre Dame struggles mightily defending the kickoff return. Mr. Hine is going to have a chance to make his mark. OVER
  6. Probability that “Hoffman is still open” highlight will make me sick to my stomach: LINE: 100% – sigh. PUSH
  7. TV Rating: LINE – 1.8 –Last week the Notre Dame at Pittsburgh game on ABC drew a 1.9 rating. That game was an evening matchup. The thrilling Notre Dame vs. Navy game drew a 1.8 rating in the same time slot BYU-ND will be in on Saturday. OVER
  8. Total Points Scored: 51.5 – BYU fans came into the 2013 season knowing that the most difficult schedule in school history would have to be overcome with the help of a sophomore quarterback. Cougar fans knew that this team would take some lumps but hoped that the refining fire of 2013 would provide dividends down the road. Wins over Texas, Georgia Tech, and Boise State show that the foundation is there for Cougs to take the next step; losses to Utah and Virginia prove that there is still much to improve upon. The Wisconsin loss was exactly who this BYU team is. Suffice it to say, if you asked me whether I would be satisfied being 7-3 heading into the Notre Dame game, I would have answered in the affirmative. The BYU defense has been terrific once again and the first year of Robert Anae’s Go Fast Go Hard experiment has provided sufficient light. Notre Dame is struggling with a flurry of injuries and looks as beatable in South Bend as it probably ever will. In Madison, the Cougars failed to capitalize on the opportunity to take the next step as a program and win a game they should not. Fast forward two weeks and BYU has a chance to take the next step as a program by winning a road game against a good opponent that is there for the taking. UNDER
  9. Line: BYU by 1 – Notre Dame 23 BYU 20

Additional Lines:

Number of sacks surrendered by BYU offensive line: LINE 3.5 – OVER

Jamaal Williams Rushing Yards: LINE 86.5 – UNDER

Three-and-Outs Forced by BYU Defense: LINE: 4.5 – OVER

First Half Points: LINE 25.5 – UNDER


More Notre Dame Preview on Loyal Cougars:

Q&A with Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com
Advanced stats show ND game is there for the taking
Redemption Week
ND Travel Guide


  1. Dr. Nick

    November 22, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I’m confused. You took the over on 51.5 total points scored but predicted a 23-20 Notre Dame win? How are those math skills doing?

    • Brett Hein

      November 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Heh. Fixed.