Notre Dame-Arizona State Preview CapsulePosted: Updated:
No. 8 Notre Dame (7-1) at No. 11 Arizona State (7-1), 3:30 p.m. EDT (ABC)
Line: Arizona State by 2 1-2.
Series Record: Notre Dame leads 3-0.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Essentially a playoff elimination game. The winner should get a huge boost in their College Football Playoff resume, while the loser will all but be out of the running for one of the four spots in the final rankings on Dec. 7. The Sun Devils are No. 9 in the playoff rankings, the Irish right behind them at 10.
Arizona State's defense vs. Notre Dame QB Everett Golson. The Sun Devils have an aggressive, attacking defense, but they may have to hold back a little or at least have someone shadow Golson. He became the first Notre Dame to run and throw for three touchdowns in the same game against Navy last week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Notre Dame: LB Nyles Morgan. The freshman will be making his first career start after Joe Schmidt went down with a season-ending ankle injury against Navy last week. Morgan was one of the marquee players in coach Brian Kelly's recruiting class last year and his speed and athleticism allow him to make up for some of his mistakes. He had a few against Navy last week.
Arizona State: WR Jaelen Strong. Big and athletic, he's one of the toughest covers in the game. The 6-foot-3 junior is tied for seventh nationally with eight TD receptions, 13th with 7.1 receptions per game and 14th with 821 yards receiving. The Irish can't let him break out for big gains.
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame beat Arizona State 37-34 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas last season. ... The Sun Devils have played five ranked opponents the past six games, most in that span in school history. They're 3-1 through the first four. ... Notre Dame hasn't had much luck winning the week after beating Navy. The Irish are 2-5 in post-Navy games since 2007, including losses to Syracuse in 2008 and Tulsa in 2010. ... Arizona State is 24th nationally in red zone defense, allowing teams to score touchdowns 50 percent of the time from inside the 20-yard line.