Ohio State-Notre Dame scouting report: Coaches dish on both teams ahead of top-10 showdown
What happens when the Buckeyes and Irish meet under the lights Saturday? We turned to the experts to find out.
“What’s the line on that?”
The question came from a coach who has scouted Notre Dame extensively this season. The answer is Ohio State by 3.
But the fact it was asked shows just how much intrigue there is around the Irish’s home showdown Saturday with the Buckeyes, who a year ago walked into the Horseshoe as 17.5-point favorites against Notre Dame and eventually pulled away with a 21-10 win.
Could the nation be in for a similar slugfest when these top-10 programs clash at Notre Dame Stadium?
“I could see this being 10-10 in the third quarter,” the coach said.
It’s No. 6 Ohio State, the program that was won 11 or more games in every full season since 2012. It’s No. 9 Notre Dame, the program that had won 10 or more games for five straight seasons before going 9-4 in coach Marcus Freeman’s debut campaign of 2022.
Freeman, of course, is a former Buckeyes linebacker. And he will go up against Ryan Day, who was quietly given a raise to the $10 million club this offseason, news that was likely strategically buried amid the outside criticism of the coach for failing to beat Michigan two years in a row.
The Inside Zone spoke to a half-dozen coaches who are intimately familiar with the programs to give a detailed scouting report of what could take place when the lights come on and the ball is kicked off in South Bend, Ind. These coaches painted a picture of teams with contrasting styles and different question marks as each readies for its first true test of the season.
The biggest difference, at least at the moment, starts at quarterback and offensive line, where Notre Dame has distinct edges.
“It’s not the same,” said a coach who has faced Ohio State this season. “All of the other pieces are the exactly same. All of the wide receivers, for all intents and purposes, are exactly the same. The running backs, same. The tight end, same. The guards, same.
“I think the center is serviceable. It’s just the two offensive tackles and the quarterback, they are not the same. And I think the guys around them know it, too. I think C.J. Stroud was a really good player that other guys wanted to play up to his level, where I think the other guys are frustrated right now. They can’t get to their highest level because they know this offense is not the same.”