Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Not Overlooking Pitt

October 10, 2018

Undefeated and ranked fifth, Notre Dame (6-0) will host a tough ACC opponent on Saturday afternoon.

A week removed from its 44-37 win over Syracuse, Pittsburgh (3-3) will trot onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium at 2:30 p.m.

Despite having a bye week in their foresight, the Irish will have to play with eagerness, something he didn’t see at all times during their win at Virginia Tech last week.

“I think we didn't play with enough passion at times in that game,” head coach Brian Kelly said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.  “I think one of the things that we talked about is that wasn't our best performance in a lot of ways, and we have to play with more energy.

"We have to play with more passion, and that is going to be the emphasis this week in terms of how we need to play against Pittsburgh.”

The Panthers have beaten two Top-10 teams in the last two years, so Saturday a third is on their agenda.

A complete performance will be required to restrain a motivated Pittsburgh team.

“We have a great deal of respect for our opponents, but really this is much more about how we prepare,” Kelly informed. “We're not pleased with the way we played for four quarters last week, and our emphasis will be on our performance and playing much better.

“Each year now they've upset a top-ranked team, Miami last year, the year before Clemson, so certainly a capable football team and one that you have to be able to match their physicality and their will, and they are led by their head coach, Pat Narduzzi, who does a great job. Have a lot of respect for him.”

Pittsburgh’s offense has been scoring points all season, and a large part of its success has come from an experienced offensive line. The Panthers love to control the line of scrimmage and run the football.

Notre Dame’s talented front seven will be leaned on to win in the trenches.

Pitt’s senior running back duo of Qadree Ollison (192 yards) and Darrin Hall (107 yards) each ran for over 100 yards in last week’s overtime win.

“Offensively, they're running the ball very, very well, as well as anybody that we've seen this year,” expressed Kelly. “This is an offense that wants to control the line of scrimmage. I like their offensive line. It's a veteran group. They play exceedingly well together as a group.

“Ollison and Hall are contributing, both of them, at a high level. They're big, physical backs, they play with a fullback, so it's good old-fashioned get-after-it football, which is synonymous with Pittsburgh in terms of who they are and what they've been as an identity.”

Kelly is familiar with Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme due to his past experience with Narduzzi. Preparing for an aggressive defensive will be required from Notre Dame.

“Defensively, it's a structure that's similar to what we've seen in the past with Michigan State, aggressive corner play, aggressive third-down pressures. It is something that we're familiar with, but one that you have to be really in tune, and we'll have to do a very good job of picking up their pressures.”

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