We have finally reached that point in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football offseason where we can talk about this year’s opponents without thinking about it all as an event still months away. The conference media days are underway (remember conferences?) and camp is just right around the corner. So, we’re dedicating each day (other than Chick-fil-A Day) to Notre Dame’s 2021 opponents, and starting off those days with a quick look preview. Join the conversation in the preview and the editorial in their respective comment sections, and/or use the FanPost/FanShot feature to share something more in depth.
Game 2 - Notre Dame VS Toledo
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
When: September 11
How to Watch: NBC at 2:30 PM Eastern Time
The Toledo Rockets
The Toledo Rockets had a respectable 4-2 record in their 2020 season. If we all remember, or maybe you don’t because things changed so quickly last season, the MAC scheduled a 6-game schedule for all members. All teams in the MAC played only conference games, too. Toledo tied for second place in the MAC West with Western Michigan. They did pretty well considering there were only 6 games. Additionally, their starting QB Eli Peters fell to a knee injury that sidelined him for the final two games of the shortened season. Carter Bradley, who played for the injured Peters, will take over as the starting QB for 2021.
On defense, the Rockets are returning all 11 of their starters from 2020. They had some stats for interceptions that did not break the bank, but they are coming back with some strong and veteran defensive backs. Additionally, Toledo got a transfer from Georgia in the offseason. He is not on defense but plays wide receiver. Matt Landers Jr. went to the Rockets from the Bulldogs at a whopping 6-5, 200 pounds. He should be a great addition to their offense which already has a strong offensive line.
The Irish and the Rockets will be playing their first ever contest against one another. In fact, this will only be the 6th time that the Irish have played an opponent from the MAC. The Irish are 5-0 all-time vs the MAC, and all games have come in the Brian Kelly era. This will also be the 6th different MAC opponent that the Irish have played.
They put out a video spot to purchase season tickets this coming season for a full stadium.
Toledo’s Top 3 Players
- Isaiah Winstead, Jr. — WR
- Dyontae Johnson, Jr. — LB
- Bryant Koback, Jr. — RB
Ok, listen. I definitely will respect that Toledo is bringing back a lot of talent and experience that they had last season. It seems like they are destined to do pretty well in the MAC in 2021. As a friend of the MAC, I have to respect the hustle especially in putting up Big 12-esque point totals and then some (#MACtion). However, there are some circumstances that no one can overlook.
This game will be the first home game in Notre Dame Stadium in 2021 and thus the first time that Notre Dame Stadium will be full since 2019. The place is going to be absolutely JUMPING. I predict a very electric atmosphere because fans have been chomping at the bit for a “normal” home gameday again. A full stadium with all of the events and students back should equate to a fun time. Brian Kelly has continued the streak of not losing to unranked teams, and that should continue. I think Toledo will be hyped too, but I just do not see this being too much of an issue for the Irish. They will feed off the eager crowd for what should be a fun opening home game.
Difficulty 1-10: 3
Early win or loss prediction: Irish win