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Central Michigan Vs Notre Dame Game Preview: How The Irish Can Avoid The Letdown Before OSU

Co-Written By Philip Kowalis & Ryan Fravel I Recruiting Analyst & Reporter I Twitter: @Fravel_Ryan

Photo via CMU Athletics

Notre Dame returns home this week to face Central Michigan University.

Central Michigan enters the contest with a record of 1-1 after losing their season opener to Michigan State 31-7, and then defeating New Hampshire 45-42 on a 47-yard game winning field goal by kicker Tristan Mattson. Meanwhile, the Irish used a big fourth quarter to break open a close game and defeat NC State 45-24 in their first true road game of the season, to improve to 3-0. In this article, we will take a look at two impact players for the Chippewas who the Irish need to account for, as well as give 4 keys to the game for Notre Dame.

Photos via CMU Athletics & HERO Sports


1. QB Bert Emanuel (#3)

When talking about Central Michigan's best players you have to mention their Quarterback Bert Emanuel. Emanuel is one of the most electrifying quarterbacks in the MAC and is insanely fun to watch. If I could give Notre Dame fans a familiar comparison to the Chippewas quarterback it would have to be former Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Like Wimbush, Bert is an elite runner in open space and is big enough to shake off would be sacks to make something out of nothing. While he is an elite runner, like Wimbush, his biggest weakness is his passing ability. Through 2 games Emanuel has only completed 50% of his passes for 280 yards 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. However, even with his short comings as a passer if the Notre Dame defense is not able to keep contain, Bert Emanuel will make them pay dearly.

2. CB Donte Kent (#4)

On the other side of the ball it all starts with 3 year starting Cornerback Donte Kent who has been a lockdown corner for the Chippewas defense since he was a true freshman back in 2020. Kent is a First Team All-Mid-American Conference cornerback and was ninth in the country in pass breakups in 2022. When talking about the most elite corners in college football Kent fits the bill perfectly. So far through his career he has racked up 144 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 34 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. Kent will give whichever Irish wide reciever he faces some fits for sure and is a guy you need to look out for at all times if you are Sam Hartman.

Now, let’s take a look at what the Irish must do to secure a victory over the Chippewas this week.

Photo via WNDU


Photos via AP News

#1. Control The Line Of Scrimmage On Both Sides Of The Ball

Notre Dame comes into the game averaging 194 yards per game rushing the football on the season, while CMU is only allowing 86 yards rushing a game and is holding opponents to just 3.8 yards per carry. The Notre Dame offensive line struggled at times against NC State. It will be important to get off to a fast start against the Chippewas and establish the running game early.

On Defense the Irish are holding opponents to just 99.7 yards per game on the ground, good for an average of just 2.6 per carry. The Chippewas will provide a challenge to the Irish rush defense as CMU is averaging 179 yards rushing per game. The ability to stop the CMU running game will be important for the Irish to come out of this game with a victory.

Photo via NC State Athletics

#2. Clean Up The Mental Mistakes From Last Week

Notre Dame played a very sloppy game a week ago against NC State being penalized 10 times for a total of 82 yards. Notre Dame needs to show a return to form of the first two weeks and play a mistake free game, as sharpness and precision will be necessary with Ohio State looming next week.

Photos via The Athletic & On3

#3. Get Tobias Merriweather & Deion Colzie Involved In The Passing Game

Merriweather has been underwhelming so far this season as he has not yet lived up to the hype he received in fall camp. Merriweather has just three catches for 50 yards (Long Of 45) to this point in the season, not the production expected from someone tabbed as being WR1 coming out of fall camp.

After a promising season opener against Navy, Colzie has been MIA the past two weeks.

This could be the perfect chance to get the duo incorporated into the offense as Sam Hartman should be able to feast on a porous CMU secondary that through 2 games has given up 772 passing yards and six touchdowns.

Getting both Merriweather and Colzie involved in the pass game will be very important as the season progresses.

Photo via AP News

#4. Win The Turnover Battle

Turnovers will be essential to upset-minded Chippewas in this game. The Irish have done a good job of protecting the football thus far this season turning the ball over only three times on lost fumbles. The Irish defense intercepted three passes last week against NC State and the Irish secondary have recorded five interceptions on the season. The Notre Dame defense has also forced five fumbles, but have yet to record a fumble recovery.

Photo via NBC Sports


At the end of the day if you are Notre Dame you cannot afford to come into this game overconfident and looking ahead to the looming matchup with Ohio State. The Irish have been here before twice and lost both times to Stanford and Marshall. Freeman needs to have the guys mentally prepared to go out against a Chippewas squad who has nothing to lose and handle business. Then you can worry about the Buckeyes. Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this article. GO IRISH! BEAT CMU!


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