Greetings Tech Fans!
Welcome back to part 2 of the Catholic football review. I’m only being partly serious but for some scheduling reason, we are playing both major Catholic programs back-to-back. It’s rare to get either one in a particular year. I wanted to say it’s never happened but somehow we played both in 2007 (both wins).
Let’s talk about our old rival, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They are actually our 12th most played opponent of all-time and the most played opponent we have never been in a conference with. Resident historian Jake Grant will say that Duke was our favorite non-conference opponent before we were paired together so let’s say #2 at least.
We last saw Notre Dame in 2015 in a devastating defeat in South Bend. The expectations were sky high for #14 Georgia Tech and the game was on national TV. We lost 30-22 but the score does not reflect the game. We put up late scores on tired scrubs. It was a convincing loss and Georgia Tech spiraled to a terrible 3-9 record and missed a bowl for the first time in 18 years. That was the 2nd longest active streak at the time.
Over time, we are 6-28-1 against the Irish. That’s not great. Notre Dame has a nice habit of pairing up with Independent schools. Supporting them supports their continued insistence to remain independent. Which they have remained football independent for the entirety of their history. They recently entered an agreement to play 5 ACC schools a year in football in exchange for non-football ACC membership.
This year, Notre Dame is a full ACC member (temporary) but they actually qualify for standings and the championship game. It will be a very interesting year in South Bend.
If you haven’t read about how we left the SEC, now is the time. In the 1960’s, Georgia Tech really was a national powerhouse. Able to throw our weight around and get what we want. When we left the SEC, it was a righteous crusade to prove that we were better alone.
We weren’t. Georgia Tech set out to be the “Notre Dame of the South”. ND and GT played 11 times from 1967 to 1981. This stretch of time is where the Rudy game occurred. GT got smoked, winning only one of those games and (among other things) lost their national identity.
I wish this was a hotter rivalry for this reason. Notre Dame kicked us out of the house and we’ve been knocking on the door and calling the landline ever since.
Notre Dame had a pretty good year. Led by QB Ian Book, the Irish rattled off a 11-2 record and finished #12 in the AP poll. They only narrowly lost 19-20 in Athens and a blowout loss at Michigan. They defeated ranked Navy and UVA but none of their ACC games were close.
In comparison to the 2018 College Football Playoff appearance, this was a bit of a letdown. But if Notre Dame had beaten u(sic)ga on the road, that Michigan game might have been a different story.
It was Brian Kelly’s 10th year at head coach. It’s one of the longest FBS streaks at head coach and one of the most successful in ND’s recent history. Remember when Charlie Weis was there??
Departing Impact Players:
Cole Kmet – Junior Tight End
2019 Stats: 43 Receptions | 515 yards |6 TD
Cole Kmet is known as a receiving TE and had a breakout season in 2019. His first game of the year was a 108 yard and TD performance against the school in Athens. He had previously been a two-sport athlete. He played football for the Irish but also pitched a few games and even recorded 6 saves.
Cole is a large prototypical NFL TE. He stands just over 6’5”, 250 lbs. He has a high ceiling in the league even if he was criticized for his blocking. At Notre Dame, it is said that actual edge rushers got by him with ease.
Cole was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2nd round of the 2020 Draft. He is from the suburban Chicago area.
Chase Claypool – Senior WR
2019 Stats: 66 Rec | 1037 yards | 13 TDs
Chase Claypool is one of those rare players that comes along and seems to stay at a program forever. Chase has played in 50 games for the Irish, starting 33 games. He is another large physical player catching passes for the Irish. Over 6’4” and 240 lbs, he has size and athleticism going for him.
Don’t let that fool you, he clocked a 4.42 at the combine and proved that he is explosive. Something people had questions about during his time at ND.
Chase is also from Canada and was the top player to ever come out of British Columbia.
Returning Impact Players:
Ian Book – Redshirt Senior Quarterback
2019 Stats: 240 for 399 | 3034 Passing | 546 Rushing | 34 Pass TDs | 6 INT
The Irish return their face of the program in Ian Book. Book has been the starting QB since the 4th game of the 2018 season (Wake Forest) and in 2018 led the program to a CFP berth. They lost to eventual champion Clempson but Ian Book has planted his flag in South Bend. 2019 saw him start all 13 games and dominate the position. His 34 touchdowns were 6th most in the nation. Not the greatest arm in the world but he does have intelligence and speed going for him. He’s described as a game-manager with the ability make moves on his feet.
Ian Book should only get better and having an experienced guy behind center is all it takes for a good team to make a championship run. Book is set to have a great if not Heisman conversation type season and should be on an NFL roster by this time next year.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Senior LB/S
2019 Stats: 80 tackles | 13.5 TFL | 5.5 sacks | 4 swats | 2 FF | 2 FR
Owusu-Koramoah led the team in tackles, TFL and sacks. He lines up at more of a nickel corner spot some times. He is described as a LB/Safety but typically lines up in the slot to rush off the edge and only occasionally drops into coverage.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with the sack pic.twitter.com/KaLfZBIg7c— Notre Dame on NBC (@NDonNBC) October 12, 2019
Speed is his game. Quick and flashy off the line, he is a backfield terror. He should have an outstanding year and get drafted. He is quickly trending towards that top-10 edge rusher pick that some teams make. He would be a perfect 3-4 linebacker in the league.
Kyle Hamilton – Sophomore Safety
2019 Stats: 41 tackles | 4 INT | 1 Def TD | 6 swats
Kyle Henderson is the big young name in South Bend. He played all 13 games as a true freshman and put up some really impressive numbers. He had a team high 4 interceptions and took one to the house. He is praised for his ability to cover guys with smooth quick movements despite his size. He also has outstanding ability to track the ball and great hands. More interceptions will come.
Kyle has Atlanta roots. He attended Marist School, a private school inside-the-perimeter and was rated as the #10 player in the state of Georgia. GT wasn’t on his radar for the 2018 recruiting class.
Notre Dame will once again be in the conversation for a championship (if we have such a thing). They will play an ACC schedule and must get past Clemson on November 7th. Also, our divisions are kaput so the top two teams in the ACC Championship are projected to be Clemson and Notre Dame.
Ian Book could have a breakout year and be in the conversation for Heisman. The team’s ceiling really does rest on his shoulders. The defense will be strong and difficult to pass on. There are so many potential breakout players and studs on this team that I can’t see more than 1 loss on the slate. Undefeated national championship is an attainable goal. Getting past Clemson twice is the test.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 3 – Notre Dame 48
25 days to kickoff