Notre Dame: Irish catch big break against Clemson

Notre Dame (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images)
Notre Dame (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame gets a little luck of the Irish before its matchup against Clemson.

The University of Notre Dame football team got a little “luck of the Irish” this week just ahead of its Cotton Bowl semi-final matchup in the College Football Championship. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 4 p.m. on December 29th in AT&T Stadium down in Arlington, Texas.

However, Notre Dame earned a small victory this week when news broke that one of Clemson’s defensive standouts would be suspended for the game.

Three Clemson players were suspended for the game for testing positive for a banned substance. It appears that all three players tested positive for a substance called ostarine, which is a performance-enhancing drug. All three were notified of the results and the likelihood that they will not be playing in the game.

Those players included defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, and backup offensive linemen Zach Giella, and Braden Galloway.

Losing a little offensive line depth is never desirable, but the real headliner here is obviously Lawrence. The massive tackle is one of many stars on the Clemson defensive line but is currently projected to be selected in the first round of next year’s NFL Draft.

Lawrence has proven very effective against the run, as you’d expect from a 6-foot-4, 350-pound behemoth. However, he has also shown the ability to get after the quarterback. He primarily uses his size and strength to overpower his opponent but can get to the passer in other ways as well.

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In any event, Clemson will be without those services, which is a boon for Notre Dame who will be looking to get senior running back Dexter Williams going. It will still be an uphill battle for Notre Dame, as the Clemson defensive line still sports three other potential first-round draft picks.

However, the absence of Lawrence can only help. If Notre Dame can keep the Clemson pass rush at bay, and give Ian Book some time, they have a shot in the game. One way to neutralize that pass rush is to control the clock and possession with a strong run game.

The game will still be a tough one for the Irish but they will certainly take the small victories where they can.