Between Toledo and Notre Dame, both teams scored a combined 100 points in Week 1. That will be hard to duplicate moving forward but it just goes to show you how good both offenses can be when they’re clicking.
Former Wisconsin transfer, Jack Coan, led Notre Dame to a 41-38 victory over Florida State on the road while Toledo dominated Norfolk State, 49-10 in their home opener. The Rockets will absolutely score in their own conference in the MAC but will they be able to dissect this Notre Dame defense like Florida State did?
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- Opening Lines: Notre Dame -19.5; O/U 52.5
- Current ATS Line: -16.5
- Current Over/Under: 54.5
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021
- Start Time: 2.30 p.m. EST
- Television: Peacock
- Last Meeting: This will be the first matchup between Toledo and Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s offense was extremely bright with the debut of Jack Coan in a Fighting Irish uniform. Coan did some great things at Wisconsin and transferred over to Notre Dame when Ian Book was drafted into the NFL. At Wisconsin, he was more of a game manager. Wisconsin loved running the football behind guys like Jonathan Taylor. Coan wanted to be able to do more and joined a system that he thought would elevate his game.
Coan was 26-for-35 for 366 yards along with four touchdowns and one interception. That interception was thrown as time had expired and wasn’t an actual bad mistake. He was just trying to make something happen on that play. The offense struggled a little bit running the football, averaging just 1.9 yards per carry. The running game will get better behind two very solid running backs returning from last year in Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree.
Defensively, Notre Dame looked great at times and awful at other times. Kyle Hamilton has two interceptions and is projected to be a top five player in the NFL Draft next season. Having him in the secondary will be crucial. The team also had five sacks against Florida State. They’ll come around. It’s hard to prepare for two really solid quarterbacks, in the first week, which is what Florida State has.
Toledo looked extremely good on offense thanks to very good pass protection. Look, Toledo faced Norfolk State, so that pass protection might break down against Notre Dame. Nonetheless, the offense looked good scoring 49 points with 441 yards of total offense. They had a balanced attack and gained over 200 yards on the ground and in the air. Carter Bradley threw for 183 yards and a touchdown on just 12 attempts.
On the defensive end, Toledo’s run defense was fabulous holding Norfolk State to just 3.5 yards per carry. The coverage was great and tackling was solid. Again, it’s hard to line these stats up against Norfok State and compare them to how they’ll perform against Notre Dame. It’s a night and day difference between the two teams.
- Rockets are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games as a road underdog.
- Rockets are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
*Line movement analysis based on the DonBest Las Vegas betting market ticker*
After Notre Dame blew an 18-point lead to force overtime against Florida State, sharp bettors are moving the line from Notre Dame being 19.5 favorites to 16.5 favorites. The movement favors Toledo.
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Notre Dame has always been known for their defense and looked great at times during the game. The team forced three interceptions, five sacks, and eight tackles for losses. However, it’s extremely hard to stop Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton when they’re on their game.
While Coan looked like a stud, the running game lagged for Notre Dame. That’s an area they’ll have to improve on in this game and beyond. Toledo, against Norfolk State, looked really good up front and got many big-time stops in the run game. It’s just completely different competition going up against Notre Dame compared to Norfolk State.
Toledo was great in pass protection but their starting quarterback in Bradley had a QBR of 41.1. Toledo ran the ball 39 times and threw just 18 times. If they get down to Notre Dame, they’re going to have to get uncomfortable a throw the ball.
Notre Dame had three interceptions last night and could do the same in this one against Toledo late in the game when the Rockets have to throw the ball down multiple scores.
I’ll ride with Notre Dame against the spread despite the line movement. Coan looked fantastic and the rushing game will be just fine, especially going up against a non-power five school. I also won’t worry about the defense going up against Toledo’s offense either.
Pick: Notre Dame -16.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
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Jason Radowitz is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him @Jason_Radowitz.