Notre Dame will be trying to wins its first game on Senior Day since 2006.
But it will be no easy task against the No. 15 Utah Utes, who fans have shown up strong in Notre Dame Stadium today. Unless, the Irish have gone for a dramatic color change to red.
It has also started to rain in South Bend with a little less than 20 minutes to go before kickoff.
Here are a few things to look for as the Irish closer their home regular-season schedule:
The Irish have to bottle up the Utes’ Shaky Smithson.
Utah’s return man leads the nation in punt return average (22.8), punt return yards (570) and has returned two punts for touchdowns.
Notre Dame has been solid most of the season against punt returners, holding the return average to 7.1 yards.
But Smithson is something the Irish haven’t seen this year.
Utah is the last opponent on Notre Dame’s schedule that has turned the ball over more than the Irish.
The Utes have a minus 0.44 turnover margin compared to the Irish’s minus 0.33.
But the rain starts to trickle down, don’t expect Utah to throw the ball much as its rushing attack that averages 175.9 yards tries to take advantage of a defense giving up 164.6 yards per game.
Freshman Tommy Rees will be making his first start at quarterback for Notre Dame.
Rees showed signs of brilliance when he took over for the injured Dayne Crist (out for the season with a knee injury) two weeks ago against Tulsa. But he also threw three interceptions.
Rees will need help from starting running back Cierre Wood, who took over the No. 1 job after Armando Allen’s Irish career ended with the first of two hip surgeries.
Rees threw the ball 54 times against Tulsa, but that number will likely have to be less against a Utah team that has the 25th best pass defense, giving up 189 passing yards per game.
Notre Dame just doesn’t have the talent to hang with Utah. Utes win 38-20.