clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ohio State opens as 3-point favorites over Notre Dame

The Buckeyes’ first marquee matchup of the season is upon us.

Syndication: Notre Dame Insider Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

After three weeks of tune-up games, No. 6 Ohio State will now hit the road for its toughest test of the young season as the Buckeyes head to South Bend to take on No. 9 Notre Dame. Both teams come into the game undefeated, as would be expected with what has been on the schedule for both squads to begin the year. The Fighting Irish are 4-0 thus far having played in Week 0, and are coming off a 41-17 win over Central Michigan in their last time out. Ohio State, meanwhile, is 3-0 after an impressive 63-10 win over Western Kentucky.

All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Spread: Ohio State -3

We had been anxiously awaiting Ohio State’s offense to break out, and they did that on Saturday with strong performances both on the ground and through the air. Now officially the starting quarterback, Kyle McCord completed 19-of-23 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns in his best outing to date. Marvin Harrison Jr. was his top target on the day, hauling in five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown, but eight different players caught passes in the game overall. On the ground, TreVeyon Henderson showed his elusiveness and quick burst with 13 carries for 88 yards and two scores.

Defensively, Jim Knowles group did a fantastic job of limiting the explosive Western Kentucky passing attack, as the Hilltoppers’ 10 points and 284 total yards were their fewest in any game since the start of the 2021 season. The Denzel Burke-led secondary was making plays, the linebackers were flying all over the field, and the defensive line got enough pressure on Austin Reed to force some errant throws. Ohio State took the ball away four times on two fumbles and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six by freshman Jermaine Matthews Jr. to put the final icing on the cake.

Notre Dame continued its strong start to the season in its 41-17 win over Central Michigan. Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman has been a huge upgrade at QB for the Irish, throwing for 330 yards and three TDs against the Chippewas. Hartman couldn’t have asked for a much better start in South Bend, tossing 13 touchdowns without an interception to begin the season. On the ground, Notre Dame has been led by Audric Estime, as the 6-foot-1, 215-pound bruiser has rushed for 521 yards and five touchdowns on 8.3 yards per carry through four games. Estime is coming off a career-high 176 yards against Central Michigan.

On the other side of the ball, the Irish have been led by linebacker Jack Kiser. The senior has a team-high 26 tackles with a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Converted wide receiver Xavier Watts has led the way in the secondary from his safety spot, totaling 14 tackles with a pick and three pass break ups. Five different players in the Notre Dame secondary have recorded an interception, and seven different guys have been credited with a forced fumble. Like Ohio State, ND hasn't been dominant in the sack department, with six total sacks on the year from six different players. As a team, the Irish rank 14th in the nation allowing 11.8 points per game.

This will be the first real test for both teams. Notre Dame has the added bonus of playing one extra game to help prepare for this contest, but the Irish haven’t seen anyone quite like what Ohio State is capable of at its best. The Buckeyes have played one really good offense in WKU and performed well, but the Irish are far more talented than the Hilltoppers even if they aren’t as explosive. Ryan Day’s side won this matchup 21-10 in Columbus last season, and now Marcus Freeman will be looking to return the favor in South Bend.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.