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Looking Ahead: Irish Opponents in Week 5

With the Irish picking up a loss in Death Valley, ND's strength of schedule just became more important if they hope to make the playoff.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Irish Schedule Opponent Score Record
Texas Longhorns @TCU Horned Frogs L 50-7 1-4
Virginia Cavaliers Open Date N/A 1-3
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets North Carolina Tar Heels L 38-31 2-3
UMass Minutemen FIU Golden Panthers W 24-14 1-3
Clemson Tigers Notre Dame Fighting Irish W 24-22 4-0
Navy Midshipmen Air Force Falcons W 33-11 4-0
Southern Cal Trojans Open Date N/A 3-1
Temple Owls @Charlotte 49ers W 37-3 4-0
Pittsburgh Panthers @Virginia Tech Hokies W 17-13 3-1
Wake Forest Demon Deacons Florida State Seminoles L 24-16 2-3
Boston College Eagles @Duke Blue Devils L 9-7 3-2
Stanford Cardinal Arizona Wildcats W 55-17 4-1

Irish Opponent Week 5 Record: 6-4  Irish Opponent Season Record: 32-21

Like in previous weeks, the top of the Irish schedule continued to free fall in week five. Against an admittedly tough TCU team, Texas looked like a high school squad losing 50-7. The Horns trailed 30-0 at the end of the first quarter, and the only reason it didn't get worse was because TCU took their foot off the gas pedal. Texas's lone TD came with five minutes left against TCU's backups with the game already completely out of reach. TCU QB Trevone Boykin looked like a Heisman contender with a 5TD and 300+ yard afternoon. For Texas, the offensive woes continued as QBs Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes combined for 13/28 passing and just 122 yards. Georgia Tech continued their slide losing their third straight 38-31 at home against North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets raced out to a 21-0 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. Their defense and an untimely three-and-out gave UNC two more possessions in the half, and the Heels scored TDs on both of them turning a potential blowout into a tight 21-14 game at halftime. In the second half, the Tech defense allowed a run of 21 unanswered points that turned an 11 point lead into a ten point deficit. Tech was able to close the gap to seven points, but QB Justin Thomas's Hail Mary attempt was intercepted as time expired. UMass picked up their first win of the season in a 24-14 win over Florida International. Minutemen QB Blake Frohnapfel had a nice day throwing for 363 yards and 3 TDs. Defensively, UMass limited the Panthers to just 188 total yards. The game probably should have been more lopsided, but FIU was able to capitalize on two UMass turnovers that led to both Panther TDs.

Next week's opponent, Navy, beat Air Force to move into pole position in the race for the Commander in Chief's Trophy. Midshipmen QB Keenan Reynolds had 300 total yards and one passing TD while RB Chris Swain added 50 yards and two TDs on the ground. Navy was also helped by four Air Force turnovers, two of which were followed by Navy scores. The win means Navy will enter Notre Dame Stadium with a 4-0 record on Saturday. Temple also improved to 4-0 with an easy win at Charlotte. Running back Jahad Thomas had a solid day on the ground surpassing the century mark and adding two TDs for the Owls. QB PJ Walker had a bit of an off day throwing for just 116 yards on 11-23 passing, but two of his completions went for TDs. Temple was also helped by winning the special teams battle. The Owls blocked a punt, and returned it for a TD while Charlotte kicker Blake Brewer missed two first half FGs that would have given the 49ers the early lead.

Pitt won a low scoring ACC battle against Virginia Tech on the road in Blacksburg. Neither team had much success on offense, but the Hokies were simply terrible finishing the day with just 100 total yards, nine rushing yards, and three turnovers. Pitt RB Qadree Ollison had an excellent game stepping in for the injured James Connor. The redshirt freshman had 122 yards and a TD on 19 carries. Pitt QB Nathan Peterman found limited success passing, but did throw for a TD without any interceptions. Wake Forest lost a closer than expected matchup at home against Florida State. Star FSU RB Dalvin Cook left the game with a hamstring injury, but took one of his two carries for a 94 yard TD. After a late rally, Wake had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but QB Kendall Hinton threw the game's only INT with less than 30 seconds left after the Deacons had driven inside the FSU red zone. The loss drops Wake to the bottom of the ACC Atlantic standings. Joining Wake in the Atlantic cellar is Boston College. The Eagles lost a miserable 9-7 game to Duke in Durham. The game featured as many punts and points as both offenses struggled all game long. The stout BC defense held Duke to just 33 rushing yards on 35 attempts and kept the Devils out of the endzone, but Ross Martin's three FGs were enough to make the difference. BC QBs Troy Flutie and Jeff Smith combined for just 8/21 passing and 141 yards, although Flutie threw for the game's only touchdown. Rounding out the week, Stanford made a big statement blowing out Arizona 55-17. The Cardinal racked up 570 total yards, and QB Kevin Hogan had as many incompletions as TDs (2). On the ground, Christian McCaffery rushed for 156 yards and two TDs while Barry Sanders added one score and 76 yards. The win moves Stanford into pole position in the PAC-12 North division. If they can keep it up, ND could have a chance to add a huge resume building win at the end of the season.