Arizona St-Notre Dame Preview Capsule
No. 22 Arizona State (3-1) vs. Notre Dame (3-2) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
Line: Arizona State 5 1/2.
Series record: Notre Dame leads 2-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Arizona State could become the first team to beat Southern California and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks and solidify its position as a BCS bowl contender. A loss all but eliminates the Irish from BCS bowl consideration and sends them into a midseason bye week on a two-game losing streak with a .500 record and a lot of questions.
Notre Dame defensive line vs. Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly. The Irish pass rush has gone statistically from one of the nation’s best last season to one of the worst with just four sacks. Opponents have slowed the rush by playing to the perimeter. The Irish, led by NG Louis Nix III and DE Stephon Tuitt, need to get pressure on Kelly, who has passed for at least 300 yards in every game this season and is third in the nation in passing at 342.5 yards a game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Arizona State: Linebacker Chris Young. He is the leading tackler on a defense been struggling against the run, giving up 192.3 yards a game.
Notre Dame: QB Tommy Rees. After opening the season by completing 65 of 107 passes, a 60.7 percent completion rate, averaging 323 yards a game through the first three games, Rees completed just 23 of 58 passes, a 39.7 percent completion rate for 123 yards with three interceptions the past two games.
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame is 4-0 playing these annual “home games” at neutral sites, winning by an average of 28 points. ... Last season Notre Dame outscored opponents 85-9 in the first quarter during the regular season. So far this season, the Irish are even at 31-31. ... Arizona State running back Marion Grice leads the nation in scoring at 18 points a game. ... Arizona State coach Todd Graham is from the Dallas area and formerly worked as a security guard at Cowboys games. ... While at Tulsa, Graham handed Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly one of his biggest losses when the Golden Hurricane beat the Irish 28-27 in 2010.