Jamari Thrash. (Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
Louisville is 5-0. Head Coach Jeff Brohm came over from a solid stint at Purdue to his alma mater after last season. While at Purdue, Brohm earned a reputation for upsetting top three programs. He did it three times taking out #2 Ohio State in 2018, and #2 Iowa and #3 Michigan State in 2021.
Last season the Cardinals were 8-5. Last week they knocked off ND opponent North Carolina State on the road 13-10. They also own wins over Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana and Boston College.
Louisville will have a quarterback that Notre Dame fans should be familiar with. It will be the third straight year Jack Plummer will have started a game against ND, and each time it was with a different team. In 2021 Plummer started for Purdue at Notre Dame in a 27-13 ND victory and last year Plummer was at Cal when the Golden Bears lost to the Irish 24-17. In those two games combined, Plummer was a 56% passer with two TDs and no interceptions. This year after reuniting with Brohm from his Purdue days, he is completing 64% of his passes and has thrown 11 TDs and 6 interceptions. Plummer can tuck it and run, but he is not significant run threat. He has been sacked 9 times on the year.
The Cardinals are 21st nationally in scoring at 37 points per game and 11th best in total offense. They have shown good balance in that area with a 301-yard average through the air and 193 on the ground. In each area they have multiple weapons. Their top threat at running back is Jawhar Jordan who is averaging 7.7 yards per carry and has scored 7 TDs. At wide receiver, transfer from Georgia State Jamari Thrash, has been sensational with 22 catches for 444 yards and 5 TDs.
The Cardinals have been solid on defense. Excellent in the red zone and 24th overall against scoring, they give up just 17.2 points per game. Last week, the Cardinals limited NC State to a paltry 201 yards of total offense. The most potent player on defense may be edge rusher Ashton Gillotte, who Marcus Freeman said this week is one of the best pass rushers the Irish will face in 2023. On the year Gillotte has five sacks.
Oh hum, another week another undefeated opponent for the Irish to take on. That said, the Cardinals starting at 5-0 in 2023 is not a huge surprise when judging strength of schedule. Louisville under Brohm however, is definitely trending upward. In the offseason they upgraded with 24 players transferring out and 25 transferring in. They also have a solid fan base that will turn out Saturday night and be loud in L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium.
Quarterback play is always critical in games between two good football teams. Jack Plummer is experienced and understands the offense Jeff Brohm wants to run. Sam Hartman though, is a margin better at every facet of quarterback play. That should be enough to get this one into the Irish win column
ND is a 6-point favorite and the over/under is 54.
The Fighting Irish Preview pick ND 31 Louisville 20