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5 Notre Dame players to watch
Following the Tennessee-Georgia Tech Labor Day matchup in Atlanta, Week 1 of the college football season is officially in the books. The Appalachian State win is behind us, Jake Fromm is preparing to make his first start for the Georgia Bulldogs, and the countdown to the most anticipated game on Georgia’s schedule has begun.
First, let’s focus on Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish won their opening game, like Georgia they did it easily, beating Temple 49-16 Saturday in South Bend. So to get ready for one of the marquee matches of Week 2, here are five Notre Dame players who showed against Temple they will pose a significant threat to the Bulldogs’ chances when UGA travels to Indiana this weekend.
5. Jay Hayes, DT — The Irish run defense was sturdy against Temple, limiting the Owls to 85 yards on the ground, and one of the big reasons was Hayes. The senior tackle finished with 5 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 QB hurry. Georgia was expected to rely heavily on the run before QB Jacob Eason went down, and his injury makes the Dawgs all the more likely to double-down on those efforts. Hayes will be charged with knocking Nick Chubb and Sony Michel back at the point of attack, which proved to hamper UGA on the ground in a major way last season.
4. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR — St. Brown was pegged to be the best Irish receiver coming into the season, and he showed why against Temple. The junior caught 4 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. Georgia’s secondary was solid against Appalachian State, but looked lost on a few occasions. If anyone in the secondary gets lost while defending St. Brown, there’s a good chance he’ll end up with a huge chunk of yards, and maybe a touchdown.
🏈 EQ FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) September 2, 2017
3. Daelin Hayes, DE — Where Jay Hayes will show his worth against the run, the other Hayes (no relation) will provide pass-rushing prowess. Daelin Hayes had 4 tackles (3 solo) and 1 of the team’s 3 sacks in the opening win over Temple. The Irish desperately need more sacks after racking up just 14 last season. Along with players such as Nyles Morgan and Te’von Coney, Daelin Hayes is one of the players Notre Dame is expecting to improve that rush this season. Expect the sophomore and his teammates to pin their ears back against the inexperienced Georgia line.
2. Dexter Williams, RB — Josh Adams is Notre Dame’s No. 1 tailback, and he rushed for 161 yards and 2 TDs in the season-opener. But it was the junior Williams who looked really special. On just 6 carries, Williams ran for 124 yards, including a 66-yarder, and 1 touchdown. After a performance like that, expect Brian Kelly to try to get Williams double-digit touches against the Bulldogs.
1. Brandon Wimbush, QB — There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Wimbush this offseason, and his first college start against Temple showed why. He passed for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with 106 yards rushing and an additional score on the ground. But he showed a propensity to lock on receivers, which led to one interception, so the UGA secondary could make hay from that fact. On the flip side, Georgia had trouble on occasions when App State QB Taylor Lamb ran the ball, so Wimbush’s legs could be a big weapon for the Irish.
Wimbush was pretty good yesterday 🍀
— Talking Irish (@Talking_ND) September 3, 2017
Jake Fromm to start in South Bend
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Eason was described as week-to-week with a bruised knee ligament by Kirby Smart, so freshman quarterback Jake Fromm will make his first career start in South Bend.
It’s a tough situation for any backup to step into, particularly a freshman. But Fromm’s teammates have confidence in him. Seth Emerson of DawgNation spoke to many of those teammates on Monday, and they offered up glowing reviews of their new leader under center.
“He’s very talkative, but it’s all meaningful words out there,” [Javon] Wims said. “He’s a field general. A true field general. At first I was shocked how fast he picked it up as a freshman, but now that he’s been doing it so long I’m not shocked at all.”
But it wasn’t just his teammates who talked up Fromm. Smart also offered up words of praise for the freshman.
“Jake is a gamer,” Smart said Monday. “He is a kid that grew up around the game. I look at him and compare him to a coach’s son, a football junkie. He likes it. He loves being around it. He’s always cheering and fired up out there. Every time he makes a good throw or a good play in practice he’s jacked and excited for the kid who made the play as he is for himself.
Changing of the guard
Dyshon Sims received the start at right guard against Saturday because of an ankle injury to Solomon Kindley. On Monday, Smart indicated that Kindley is still considered the starter at RG, but he didn’t know whether or not the redshirt freshman will be ready to take back the No. 1 spot Saturday at Notre Dame. From Emerson:
“The hardest thing is not knowing about Solomon. Whether or not he’s going to be able to go and be there,” Smart said. “He had earned that starting right, but with his injury he wasn’t 100 percent healthy.”
UGA a 6 1/2-point underdog at Notre Dame
Las Vegas waited to find out the verdict of Eason’s injury before laying out a point spread for the game against Notre Dame. So with the news Eason will miss the trip came the news that Georgia is nearly a touchdown underdog this weekend, with the Irish favored by 6 1/2 points.
WOAH! With QB Eason out, Notre Dame opens up as a 6.5-point favorite over Georgia!
— Brad Powers (@BradPowers7) September 4, 2017
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 5, 2017
Thunder & Lightning
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 4, 2017
Even though Texas A&M had a very bad night on Sunday, they still have a very good dog.
That's a very good dog pic.twitter.com/5TJLZhwemr
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) September 4, 2017
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