The Georgia Bulldogs opened the 2017 season with a 31-10 win over Appalachian State this past Saturday in Sanford Stadium. Next up the Bulldogs travel to South Bend, IN, where they face off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday night in the shadows of Touchdown Jesus at legendary Notre Dame Stadium. Saturday’s game will mark the first time the Bulldogs have played north of the Mason-Dixon line since 1965, when they upset Michigan in Vince Dooley’s second season as coach.
Saturday’s game will be only the second time Georgia has faced Notre Dame with the only other meeting resulting in a 17-10 victory by the Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl to win the 1980 National Championship.
Notre Dame is located in Notre Dame, IN, and has an enrollment of approximately 12,300 students. The Fighting Irish are coached by Brian Kelly, who is in his eight-season at Notre Dame (59-31). Kelly is 1-1 versus SEC teams as the head coach of Notre Dame. The Irish return 15 starters from a team that posted a 4-8 record in 2016.
Notre Dame competes as an Independent in football. Notre Dame has one of the most storied histories of any team in college football including 11 claimed National Championships and a leading 7 previous Heisman trophy winners (Notre Dame is currently tied with Oklahoma and Southern Cal for most Heisman winners).
The Irish opened its season at home last Saturday and cruised to a 49-16 win over Temple. Notre Dame tallied 606 yards of total offense, including 422 on the ground. The Irish had three players go over 100 yards, including running backs Josh Adams (161) and Dexter Williams (124) plus quarterback Brandon Wimbush (106). Wimbush made his first career start at quarterback and went 17-for-30 for 184 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception. Wimbush’s week 1 performance against Temple opened some eyes but he is expected to face stiffer competition this week when facing off against Georgia’s defense. Likewise, Georgia’s defense will need to deliver a solid performance to hold the multi-faceted Notre Dame quarterback in check.
Georgia enters the game Saturday ranked No. 15 in both the AP and USA Today coaches polls. On the heels of their win over Temple last week, Notre Dame enters the game Saturday ranked No. 24 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the Coaches poll.
Currently, Vegas has the Bulldogs listed as a 4 underdog (note Georgia was initially only a 1 point underdog but the line adjusted based on Eason’s injury) for Saturday with the total being shown at 58.