No. 15 Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State (7-5)
Location: Orlando | When: Dec. 28 (Noon ET) | TV: ESPN | Line: Notre Dame -3.5
HOW THESE TEAMS GOT HERE
Notre Dame: Did the Irish have the quietest 10-2 season in the country? Notre Dame started 2-0 with wins over Louisville and New Mexico. Then the first loss of the season happened in a 23-17 prime-time loss at Georgia in one of the marquee games of September.
Notre Dame got blown out the next time it went on the road. The Irish lost 45-14 at Michigan on Oct. 26 to drop from No. 8 to No. 16 in the AP poll.
Despite five straight wins to close out the season — including a 32-point drubbing of Navy — Notre Dame held steady in that area of the polls for the rest of the season.
Iowa State: The Cyclones got vaulted up the Big 12 bowl pecking order thanks to a fanbase that will travel well to Orlando. ISU lost at home to Iowa in Week 2, thanks to a late game punt that bounced off a blocker, and fell by two points at Baylor to end September.
The Cyclones moved to 5-2 with three consecutive Big 12 wins but then lost back-to-back games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. ISU beat Texas after that Oklahoma game and then took care of business against Kansas before losing at Kansas State to end the season.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
Look past the records and look at the points spread for this game. It should be a lot closer than you’d expect for a game between a 10-win team and a seven-win team. Iowa State lost by a combined three points to Oklahoma and Baylor, the two teams that met in the Big 12 championship game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool: The 6-foot-4 receiver has become a downfield threat capable of winning any 50-50 ball that’s thrown his way by Ian Book.
Claypool has scored at least a touchdown in each of Notre Dame’s last four games. That includes a four-TD performance in a seven catch game against Navy. For the season, Claypool has 59 catches for 891 yards and 12 scores.
Iowa State QB Brock Purdy: The sophomore QB followed up his breakout freshman season with another stellar campaign. Purdy has been asked to chuck the ball a lot this season too. Iowa State throws the ball nearly 38 times a game to just 32 rushing attempts per game.
Purdy is 295-of-445 passing for 3,760 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s also spread the ball around a bunch. Four ISU receivers have at least 30 catches and 600 yards.
NFL DRAFT PROSPECT
Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet: We’re taking a risk here, as Kmet has said that his plan is to return to school in 2020. But plans change, and it wouldn’t be stunning to see him renege on that plan (which apparently would include pitching for the Irish baseball team again). If Kmet does declare, there’s a great chance he could be TE1 in this year’s class. The 6-6, 258-pounder still needs some refinement in his game and doesn’t have a ton of experience. But he has the chance to be a dominant receiver at the position and develop into a serviceable blocker. Kmet’s physical traits are excellent, and a patient team will be rewarded in time. He has star potential.
— Eric Edholm
WHAT’S ON THE LINE
Notre Dame: The Irish have already accomplished a 10-win season for the third straight year. An 11th win in 2019 would give Notre Dame at least 11 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1988 and 1989 when the Irish were a combined 24-1 under Lou Holtz.
Iowa State: A win puts the Cyclones at 8-5 for a third consecutive season under Matt Campbell. It’s been a long, long time since Iowa State won eight games in three consecutive seasons. How long? Thirty-two years. ISU was 24-11 from 1976-78 under Earle Bruce before Bruce went to Ohio State.
Nick Bromberg: Notre Dame -3.5
Sam Cooper: Notre Dame -3.5
Picks from the Yahoo Sports College Podcast
Pat Forde: Notre Dame -3.5
Pete Thamel: Notre Dame -3.5
Dan Wetzel: Notre Dame -3.5
Sean Sullivan: Notre Dame -3.5
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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