No. 3 Notre Dame (4-0, 3-0 ACC) at Pittsburgh (3-3, 2-3), Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
Line: Notre Dame by 10 1/2.
Series record: Notre Dame leads 49-21-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Fighting Irish moved up to No. 3 in the polls basically by default following a not particularly inspiring win over Louisville combined with Georgia’s loss to Alabama. Notre Dame very much controls its destiny but needs to avoid a misstep against the Panthers, who have dropped three straight following a 3-0 start. An upset win over a long-time rival would provide Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi a much-needed boost.
Notre Dame’s offensive line vs. Pitt’s front seven. Though the Panthers have struggled of late, they remain one of the most aggressive pass-rushing teams in the country. Pitt leads the nation in total sacks (29) and faces a massive group from the Fighting Irish that has given up just eight sacks in four games. If the Fighting Irish can protect QB Ian Book, Pitt’s secondary has been vulnerable, giving up 11 touchdown passes during the team’s current three-game slide.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Notre Dame: RB Kyren Williams. The sophomore has topped 100 yards rushing in three of four games this year and his 121.5 yards rushing per game ranks sixth in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Pitt: WR Jordan Addison. The freshman leads the ACC in receptions (36) and has been one of the few constants on an offense that has largely operated in fits and starts. If senior QB Kenny Pickett misses his second straight game due to an ankle injury, Addison will need to be a security blanket for replacement Joey Yellen.
FACTS & FIGURES
Book needs two TD passes to slip by current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees into second all-time in career TD passes at Notre Dame. … The Fighting Irish have won 10 straight games dating to last season, the longest active streak by a Power Five team in the country. … Notre Dame’s 261.0 yards rushing per game ranks second in the ACC. Pitt’s run defense leads the nation. The Panthers are giving up just 61.5 yards a game on the ground. … Though Notre Dame leads the series by a comfortable margin, the games are typically close. Seven of the last eight meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less. … There will be fans at a Pitt game at Heinz Field for the first time in 2020. Capacity has been set at 5,500 in the 68,400-seat stadium.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.