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Notre Dame

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College football preview: Notre Dame at Pittsburgh

Records: No. 24 Irish (7-2); Panthers (4-4)

When: 8 p.m. today

Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

TV: ABC

Radio: 1190 AM, 107.3 FM

On the Web: To watch a video preview for the game, go to “Irish Insights” at www.journalgazette.net

3 matchups to watch

Notre Dame’s interior offensive linemen vs. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald: The 6-foot, 285-pound Donald is coming off one of the most impressive individual defensive performances of the season. The senior had 11 tackles with six tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and had a sack in Pitt’s 21-10 loss to Georgia Tech last week. The six tackles for loss is the most a player had in a game this season, and Donald leads the nation in tackles for loss with 19 1/2 . The Irish will have left guard Chris Watt back after the senior missed last week’s game because of a PCL injury. Watt said he made adjustments this week in practice and feels he can perform. Notre Dame will also need two first-year starters to handle Donald with junior Nick Martin at center and freshman Steve Elmer at right guard. Martin has started every game this year, and Elmer is making his third start on a line that has allowed seven sacks this season.

Notre Dame’s pass rush vs. Pittsburgh’s offensive line: The Irish had success getting into an opponent’s backfield and getting to the quarterback before playing Air Force and Navy. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt had two sacks and the team had seven tackles for loss in a 14-10 win over USC on Oct. 19, and Prince Shembo had three sacks, Tuitt had one and the Irish had seven tackles for loss in a 37-34 win over Arizona State on Oct. 5. The Panthers have given up 29 sacks and 56 tackles for loss.

Notre Dame cornerbacks Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell vs. Pittsburgh receivers Devin Street and Tyler Boyd: Pitt has struggled to run the ball, averaging 122.5 yards, so the Panthers have relied on quarterback Tom Savage to find their two top receivers. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Street has a team-high 690 receiving yards and four touchdowns. The 6-2, 185-pound Boyd leads Pitts with six touchdown catches and has a team-high 45 receptions for 644 yards. The Irish are giving up 205.7 passing yards per game. The 5-11, 190-pound Russell has a team-high five pass breakups, and the 6-foot Jackson has an interception and two breakups.

Prediction: Notre Dame 13, Pittsburgh 10

tkrausz@jg.net

– Tony Krausz The Journal Gazette

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