Notre Dame vs

South Carolina

at Jacksonville
Fri, Dec 30
12:30 PM Pacific
Rotation: 263
Odds: South Carolina +3, Total: 50

Game Analysis

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Lean – Notre Dame (-3 -115)  27   South Carolina  20

South Carolina ended the regular season with consecutive wins as double-digit underdogs versus Tennessee (63-38) and at Clemson (31-30) but Notre Dame was the better team over the course of the season and there is a lot of time for momentum to dissipate between the regular season and a bowl game. Teams that won their final two games as underdogs of more than 7 points in both games are just 1-4 straight up and 1-4 ATS in their bowl game, and those two impressive wins are weighted the same as the other 10 games that the Gamecocks played this season. The Gamecocks are also hurt more by player absences than the Irish are – on both sides of the ball.

Notre Dame will be without quarterback Drew Pyne, who started 10 of the 12 games and transferred out but opening day starter Tyler Buchner is healthy again and scheduled to start. Buchner wasn’t any more or less impressive in his two games than Pyne was, and I made no adjustment for the change at quarterback. He could be much better but I didn’t see that in losses to Ohio State and Marshall to start the season. There is also a chance he could be worse, but coaches obviously thought he was better than Pyne before the season started and Pyne probably wouldn’t have transferred if he thought he’d be starting next season. Top receiver, TE Michael Mayer, has opted out to prepare for the NFL and while his numbers weren’t off the chart (7.7 yards per targe on 105 targets and a 55% success rate) he was targeted more than twice as much as any other players on the team, and I calculated his value at 1.0 points.

Notre Dame was only 0.1 yppl better than average offensively this season and they become a bit worse than average without Mayer. South Carolina’s defense was 0.4 yppl better than average (5.7 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 6.1 yppl against an average defense) but they’ll be without 4 contributors to that unit. DT Zacch Pickens, cornerbacks Cam Smith and Darius Rush and safety Devonni Rush have all opted out. The team’s best CB Marcellas Dial is still with the team but not having Smith and Rush will force some less experienced corners into the game (they usually play nickel coverage). Reed is a non-factor and Pickens’ value isn’t too significant. Overall, I valued those losses at 1.8 points against a Notre Dame team that is likely to run the ball a lot against a defensive front that allowed over 200 rushing yards per game at 5.6 yards per rushing play (to teams that would average 5.2 yprp). I project 388 yards at 5.7 yppl for the Irish in this game.

South Carolina’s offense was also just 0.1 yppl better than average this season (5.8 yppl against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average team) but the absence of top running back MarShawn Lloyd and some key receivers makes them significantly worse on that side of the ball. Lloyd averaged 5.2 yards on his 111 runs while the other backs combined for just 3.6 ypr. Spencer Rattler was 0.6 yards per pass play better than average this season and finished the season with two strong games, but he’s be without Josh Vann and Jalen Brooks, whom coach Beamer just confirmed would not be playing due to some off the field issues. All-SEC WR Antwane Wells is still available, but replacing Brooks and Wells, who combined for 10.4 yards per target on 77 targets is going to be an issue. The trio of reserve receivers that will be stepping into those roles have combined for just 7.1 YPT. Lloyd’s absence lowers the expected yards per rushing play by 0.5 yprp and not having Brooks and Vann lowers the expected yards per pass play by 0.6 yppp and it may make it tougher for Wells to operate with even more attention focused on him. The top two tight ends are also no longer with the team (a combined 441 yard at 7.4 YPT) but I didn’t adjust for that as those numbers are nothing special. I’ve downgraded South Carolina’s offense by close to 3.3 points per game.

Notre Dame’s defense was 0.6 yppl better than average this season but the Irish will be without edge rusher Isaiah Foskey, who had 11 sacks and was 4th on the team in tackles. Foskey is worth a bit more than a point by himself based on my algorithm and his absence should allow Rattler to have a bit more time in the pocket as the next highest sack total on the Irish defense was just 3 sacks. I project 286 yards at 5.0 yppl for the Gamecocks in this game.

The Irish have a significant advantage from the line of scrimmage but the Beamer family tradition of having great special teams is alive and well with Shane Beamer, as the Gamecocks have elite special teams that are 1.6 points per game better than the good Irish special teams units. My math favors Notre Dame by 6 points and the Irish apply to a 69-29-2 ATS bowl situation.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Notre Dame
  • South Carolina


  • Run Plays 38.0 31.0
  • Run Yards 191.5 161.0
  • YPRP 5.0 5.2


  • Pass Comp 16.0 16.7
  • Pass Att 25.3 28.6
  • Comp % 63.2% 58.3%
  • Pass Yards 199.9 189.5
  • Sacks 1.6 2.9
  • Sack Yards 8.9 19.6
  • Sack % 5.9% 9.3%
  • Pass Plays 26.9 31.5
  • Net Pass Yards 191.0 169.9
  • YPPP 7.1 5.4


  • Total Plays 64.9 62.5
  • Total Yards 382.5 330.9
  • YPPL 5.9 5.3


  • Int 0.7 0.7
  • Int % 2.6% 2.3%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.3
  • Turnovers 1.3 1.0
  • Points 30.7 21.8
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