ASU vs. Notre Dame: Key Personnel Battle


The Devils are going down to Texas for a huge Saturday night national television match-up against legendary Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish suffered a loss to Oklahoma last weekend, while the Sun Devils destroyed USC, which led to Trojan Head Coach Lane Kiffen’s firing. This game is huge for both programs.

Notre Dame, coming off a 2012 season where it played for the BCS National Championship, does not want to lose its third game of the 2013 season.

Arizona State is trying to make history as the first NCAA program to defeat USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks.

Additionally, this Shamrock Series match-up in Dallas is important for each program’s future as Texas is home to many top-tier high school football prospects both schools would like to sign in the future. The game will probably come down to one big match-up:

The ASU Defensive Line (and Devilbacker) against the Notre Dame Offensive Line:

Gannon Conway, Davon Coleman, Will Sutton, and Carl Bradford
Zack Martin, Chris Watt, Nick Martin, Christian Lombard, Ronnie Stanley

Once again, the Arizona State defense gave up 200+ net rushing yards last week to USC. With Jaxon Hood and Mo Latu doubtful, and Junior Onyeali and Chans Cox out for the year due to injury, the Sun Devil defensive line is as thin as ever. ASU defenders must not allow big lanes for Irish running backs to slash between.

Notre Dame’s Zack Martin and Chris Watt are in their third straight year starting and holding down the left side of their team’s offensive line. Nick Martin, Zack’s younger brother, is in his first year starting at center while Lombard moved inside to RG this season after playing RT last year.

The offensive line is supposed to be a Notre Dame strength, but if the Sun Devils’ D-line can win its one-on-one match-ups in the trenches, this game could be very long for the Irish faithful. Quarterback Tommy Rees struggled under constant pressure from Oklahoma, leading to three interceptions.

Analysts and NFL scouts will be evaluating match-ups between Will Sutton and Watt or Lombard, and Bradford vs. Martin, as all five players are mentioned as possible second day NFL draft picks. Fans should be watching closely as well, since the victor in the trenches will probably win the game.

What other 2013 Shamrock Series personnel match-ups interest you?