With the college football season hitting the home stretch, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. This week provides a few key matchups that will have a major impact on the rankings. One of these games is #3 Notre Dame vs #7 Miami.
There will be a ton of NFL talent that takes the field at Hard Rock Stadium tomorrow night. The highest profile players in this game will be matching up a lot with the majority of the prospects being on Miami’s defense and Notre Dame’s offense. Listed below are the 4 key matchups to keep an eye on when Notre Dame has the ball.
Notre Dame's offense is avg. 7.1 yards per rush (2nd-best in the nation). OT Mike McGlinchey & OG Quenton Nelson are a huge part of that.
— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) October 28, 2017
Mike McGlinchey vs Joe Jackson
Although McGlinchey will be tasked with opening up holes in the run game, Joe Jackson will be more of a rotational piece on early downs and short yardage but will see a ton of time rushing the passer. That is where this matchup becomes very impactful.
McGlinchey is projected to be a 1st round pick and is viewed as a top 3 OT in this draft. Jackson is a true sophomore and already Miami’s best pass rusher. Jackson always lines up on the right side of the DL so he will be going up against McGlinchey all game and especially in passing situations. Miami is a blitz heavy team so McGlinchey will often times be on an island against Jackson and if he can hold up well it will make Brandon Wimbush’s day much easier.
This matchup could be the deciding factor on if Notre Dame’s offense becomes one dimensional and abandons the pass game or is able to keep the defense honest.
Kendrick Norton & R.J. McIntosh vs Quenton Nelson
Notre Dame rose to 3rd in the country on the back of their run game and must get it going again against Miami in order to win this game. Josh Adams has been getting the shine, and deservedly so, but Quenton Nelson is a major reason for their successful rushing attack.
RELATED: Quenton Nelson Scouting Report
While Miami’s run defense has been susceptible to giving up big plays, they have also shown the ability to lock down the trenches at key times thanks in large part to their two stud DTs, Kendrick Norton and R.J. McIntosh. Quenton Nelson will be pitted against Norton and McIntosh at different points in the game.
Miami’s DTs complement each other very well with Norton being the strong anchor in the middle and McIntosh being the quick/nimble player who can blow up a play in a hurry. This matchup between a likely top 10 pick in Nelson and 2 solid mid round prospects in Norton and McIntosh will be imperative to the success of the run game.
Josh Adams has 1,191 rushing yards this season while sitting out 12 full quarters. In other words, he has played the equivalent of just 6 full games.
— JoshAdams4Heisman (@JAdams4Heisman) November 10, 2017
Josh Adams vs Miami Linebackers
This matchup is highly dependent on the health of Josh Adams as he was worn down last week and only had 5 carries vs Wake Forest on Saturday. Josh Adams will need to be at his best to beat 3 outstanding sophomore LBs for Miami.
Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney figure to be 1st or 2nd round picks in the coming years while the 3rd man, Zack McLeod, is the most athletic of the trio. These three LBs will be tasked with shooting gaps as well as making sure Adams is unable to get loose when he does reach the second level.
Against Miami, Adams will be forced to create for himself a little bit more than he’s used to and it will be interesting to see how he does against some of the best LBs at the college level.
Michael Jackson vs Equanimeous St. Brown
Malek Young is considered Miami’s #1 corner but only measures in at 5’10” making him seven inches shorter than St. Brown. This means a more intriguing matchup should happen between 6’2” corner Michael Jackson and the 6’5” Equanimeous (EQ) St. Brown.
Jackson comes into the game red hot picking off four passes in the last five games and has completely shut down his side of the field. On the flip side St. Brown has struggled to get going this year and has been particularly down as of late as he has been unable to crack 40 yards receiving in the past four games. A lot of this is due to an added focus on the run game and a less established QB as St. Brown remains a highly skilled player and someone the Hurricanes will have to game plan for.
Jackson would be the ideal cover man against St. Brown as he has great length and excellent ball skills. This matchup should be fun to watch as both players have a chance to make high impact plays.