Louisville Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense

Louisville  Offense  

Total Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 323 336 13 104.02%
Virginia 347.8 282 -65.8 81.08%
FIU 372.6 336 -36.6 90.18%
Wake Forest 373.8 421 47.2 112.63%
Syracuse 344.3 352 7.7 102.24%
Clemson 262.1 264 1.9 100.72%
NC State 388.2 369 -19.2 95.05%
Florida State 385.8 488 102.2 126.49%
Boston College 323.5 423 99.5 130.76%
Average 16.66 104.80%

As you can see Louisville has really performed very close to what opposing defenses have allowed in 2014.  On average, Louisville either gains about +14 yards more or just 94.32% of what Defenses give up on the year.

Given that Notre Dame allows 383.2 yards per game, we can expect that Louisville will gain 400-402 yards on Saturday.  If we focus in on games that Reggie Bonnafon started:  Wake Forest, Syracuse, & Clemson then we can actually raise that to 403-440 yards per game.   Wake, Syracuse, and Clemson actually are all better defenses than Notre Dame statistically, and the Irish are just slightly better on defense than NC State & Florida State.

Notre Dame Defense 

Total Offense Notre Dame Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Rice 396.4 367 -29.4 92.58%
Michigan 322.6 289 -33.6 89.58%
Purdue 347.2 290 -57.2 83.53%
Syracuse 356.6 429 72.4 120.30%
Stanford 378.4 205 -173.4 54.18%
North Carolina 430.6 510 79.4 118.44%
Florida State 446.6 323 -123.6 72.32%
Navy 447 454 7 101.57%
Arizona State 464.8 412 -52.8 88.64%
Northwestern 345.1 547 201.9 158.50%
Average -10.93 97.96%

The Irish, have really allowed opponents to do what they typically do for the season offensively.  To date, The Irish’s best two defensive games came against Stanford and Florida State and a fresh off the worst defensive performance of the season vs. Northwestern who burned ND both from the ground and the air.

Louisville’s Offense averages 387.4 yards per game and given Notre Dame’s defense performance in 2014, we can expect that Louisville will gain between 376-379 yards. which falls in line with what we discovered while examining Louisville’s offensive performance above.

The Cardinal offense will be 6th best (of 11) offenses that Notre Dame has faced this year (statistically).

Cardinal Passing Offense vs. Irish Passing Defense:

UofL Passing Offense

Passing Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 192.9 206 13.1 106.79%
Virginia 229.2 203 -26.2 88.57%
FIU 212.3 324 111.7 152.61%
Wake Forest 180.3 206 25.7 114.25%
Syracuse 217 174 -43 80.18%
Clemson 155.2 212 56.8 136.60%
NC State 199.4 203 3.6 101.81%
Florida State 246.1 330 83.9 134.09%
Boston College 226.9 257 30.1 113.27%
Average 28.41 114.24%

Despite playing both Reggie Bonnafon & Will Gardner at different times during 2014, Louisville actually performs better than what defenses typically allow in the air by a decent margin.  Notre Dame allows 232.6 yards per game passing, and will be the 8th best (of 10) passing defenses Louisville has faced in 2014.   The Cards have faced four different Top 30 Passing Offenses in 2014 and still exceed the average allowed on the season.

Given what we know we can expect that the Cards will gain 259-261 yards through the air.  When we strip it down to just games that Reggie Bonnafon has started, Wake, Syracuse & Clemson that number changes to 245-256 yards.

Louisville has had 4 consecutive games that exceeded the average allowed of their opponents including 6 of the last 7 opponents.

ND Passing Defense

Passing Offense Notre Dame Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Rice 211.9 226 14.1 106.65%
Michigan 168.5 189 20.5 112.17%
Purdue 187.5 234 46.5 124.80%
Syracuse 199.4 294 94.6 147.44%
Stanford 233.2 158 -75.2 67.75%
North Carolina 290.3 326 35.7 112.30%
Florida State 318.3 273 -45.3 85.77%
Navy 92.2 118 25.8 127.98%
Arizona State 281.7 224 -57.7 79.52%
Northwestern 219.9 284 64.1 129.15%
Average 12.31 109.35%

Notre Dame’s Passing Defense is similar, the Irish allow about 12 yards more than opponents usually gain on the season, but Notre Dame’s passing defense has been much more volatile throughout the season.  These averages will likely be more bullish, but given the season average of Louisville passing for 239.3 yards per game, we should be able to expect that the Cards will gain about  251-261 yards against the Irish.

This expectation falls very close in line with the UofL Passing Offense equation so we should expect the Cards to have a pretty good day in the air on Saturday.

UofL Rushing Offense vs. ND Rushing Defense

Louisville Rushing Offense

Rushing Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 130.1 130 -0.1 99.92%
Virginia 118.6 79 -39.6 66.61%
FIU 160.36 12 -148.36 7.48%
Wake Forest 193.5 215 21.5 111.11%
Syracuse 127.3 178 50.7 139.83%
Clemson 106.9 52 -54.9 48.64%
NC State 188.82 166 -22.82 87.91%
Florida State 139.7 158 18.3 113.10%
Boston College 96.6 166 69.4 171.84%
Average -11.76 94.05%

Louisville has been able to run the ball much better recently after posting 5 of its last 6 games over 100 yards.  Louisville has played 6 teams in the Top 36 in Rush Defense and average less than what their opponents usually allow by a small margin.  Notre Dame will be the 7th best (of 10)  Rush Defense Louisville has played in 2014 allowing 150.60 yards per game.

The statistical expectation is for the Cards to gain 139-142 yards against the Irish.

Notre Dame Rushing Defense

Rushing Offense Notre Dame Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Rice 184.5 141 -43.5 76.42%
Michigan 154.1 100 -54.1 64.89%
Purdue 159.7 56 -103.7 35.07%
Syracuse 157.4 135 -22.4 85.77%
Stanford 145.2 47 -98.2 32.37%
North Carolina 140.3 184 43.7 131.15%
Florida State 128.3 50 -78.3 38.97%
Navy 354.8 336 -18.8 94.70%
Arizona State 183.1 188 4.9 102.68%
Northwestern 125.2 263 137.8 210.06%
Average -23.26 87.21%

Notre Dame has allowed over 180 yards on the ground the last 3 games.  The Navy & Arizona State games were not out of the ordinary BUT the Northwestern game where the Irish allowed 263 yards to the 107th Rushing Offensive team in the nation, IS ALARMING.  Notre Dame’s defensive front was not healthy against the Wildcats and won’t be against the Cards either, but this is a trend to take note of.

Still despite recent play Notre Dame’s season average is to hold the Running Game under control to much less than opponents are accustomed to.  Louisville averages 148.10 on the ground and data tells us that  Louisville should gain about 125-129 on the ground in Notre Dame Stadium.

Summary

What we need to discover is how well Reggie Bonnafon will play on the road against Notre Dame.  The Irish and Cards line up with expectations both running and throwing the football but Louisville’s freshman Quarterback and Notre Dame’s recent performance stopping the run are the big evaluators.   My eyes tell me that the Cards will probably run about 50 yards better than indicated with the addition of Reggie Bonnafon at Quarterback who might make up that difference himself.

In the air, well, that depends on the game.  We saw against Boston College how Petrino called his offense with a lead and a freshman quarterback on the road…..Petrino relied on his defense to put his team in high percentage opportunities.  If Louisville gets the lead early, Bonnafon may not throw more than 25 times against Notre Dame.

 

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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