Will Notre Dame’s defense be ready for Ohio State

The Notre Dame defense is in for a tough matchup on Saturday night, when they go up against a talented and potent Ohio State offense. The OSU offense features Heisman Trophy finalist C.J. Stroud at QB, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB TreyVeyon Henderson. The Buckeye offense averaged 561.5 yards per game and 45.7 points per game, a year ago. They are a deep and loaded offense.

First-year Notre Dame defensive coordinator Al Golden knows that they are up against a powerful offense. Golden brings a strong resume to South Bend. A successful tenure as Virginia’s defensive coordinator led to head coaching jobs at Temple and Miami before he went to the NFL. He coached linebackers with the Detroit Lions and was part of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Super Bowl run last season.

Notre Dame has talent of their own on defense. Preseason All American Isaiah Foskey returns to the lead the Irish defense. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end led the Irish with 11 sacks while forcing six fumbles, last year. Defensive end Rylie Mills, who can also play defensive tackle, registered 3 sacks in 2021. Defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola is a tenacious interior player and a returning starter.

JD Bertrand returns at middle linebacker. Bertrand led the team with 101 tackles last year. Jack Kiser, sixth-year-senior Bo Bauer and senior Marist Liufau give the Irish an experienced and solid linebacking group. Hopefully, Liufau will be healthy enough to go. He is having lingering issues from his season ending leg/ankle injury.

The defensive back field features, starting cornerbacks Cam Hart, Clarence Lewis and and fifth-year senior TaRiq Bracy. The safety position has All-American Brandon Joseph, who had six interceptions at Northwestern in 2020. The Irish secondary could be even deeper than it was a year ago.

The Fighting Irish defense is experienced and deep. Are they ready for a talented Ohio State football team? Hopefully, the answer is a big YES!

photo courtsey of AP News

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Tony Ghaul

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