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CFB Data Preview: Notre Dame VS Central Michigan

Some data cuts going into Notre Dame’s 2023 matchup against Central Michigan!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Notre Dame at NC State Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

So the Irish have Central Michigan up next on the docket and well…..the Chippewas leave a lot to be desired in the area of football.

So, without a lot of ado, let’s dig into the data.

Opponent History

This will be the first time Notre Dame football meets up with Central Michigan, so there’s no real historical comparison to draw upon.

Schedule Overview

Central Michigan finished out their 2022 season with a 4 – 8 record. They tended to lose by large margins and their closest losses were to Ball State (16 – 17) and Western Michigan (10 – 12). Their marquee victory was a 41 – 0 shutout of Bucknell. But they posted other sizeable wins against Akron, Northern Illinois and Buffalo.

Through two games of the program’s 2023 outing, the Chippewas are 1 – 1. Their season opener was a whopping 7 – 31 loss to Michigan State (not completely unexpected). They followed up with a slim 45 – 42 win against New Hampshire.

If we’re using recent schedule performances as a key metric, I’m not imagining that the Irish will have much to worry about.

Total Yards

Through the 2022 and 2023 seasons, Central Michigan has averaged 363 total yards of offensive output. A lot of that came early on in 2022, with a slight rebound against Norther Illinois and Buffalo before a nosedive in the season’s last three contests.

They tallied up 219 yards of total offense against Michigan State and followed that up with 440 against New Hampshire.

Through the early part of the 2022 season, the passing game dominated the Chippewa’s offensive strategy, ranging from 46% to 88% of total yards. Between the late part of 2022 into 2023, the ground game has taken a much more prominent role, ranging from 54% to 72% of total yards.

Passing Details

Central Michigan’s efficiency with passing the ball has dropped of significantly in recent games. In their last four games, their overall completion % has ranged from 40% to 55%.

Rushing Details

Between 2022 and 2023, the Chippewas have averaged 38 rushing attempts per game. They utilized the run gam a lot less in the first half of their 2022 season and ran the ball 41 times against Michigan State and 52 times against New Hampshire. They don’t have a track record of getting a ton of yards for these attempts, but they stick with it.

Turnover Distribution

Turnovers have been a really ugly stat line for Central Michigan. Across the 2022 and 2023 seasons they’ve average 2.2 total turnovers per game. For the bulk of 2022 it was a mix of fumbles and interceptions, with fumbles carrying a little bit more than their fair share.

But in their last three matchups interceptions have taken center stage. They’ve wracked up 6, including two against Eastern Michigan and two against New Hampshire. Not something I imagine Central Michigan is happy about but given how Notre Dame’s secondary fired back into action last week it could be another great day for the Irish defense.

Final Thoughts

If we’re going by the numbers, I wouldn’t put a lot of money Central Michigan walking out of Notre Dame Stadium victorious on Saturday.

The Irish defense is really starting to get into a groove which spells big trouble for the Chippewa’s shaky offense. Even with JD Bertrand likely out, Central Michigan’s current reliance on the run game won’t bode well.

And if the Irish’s secondary carries over their energy from the NC State game, it could turn into a really brutal night for the interception prone Central Michigan QB room.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve got full confidence in a modern, Notre Dame offense not having me yelling or throwing things. I’m not a betting man myself but I’d take Notre Dame by a wide margin (if you want to wager the peanut butter pretzels from Target I’m all in, though).

Cheers and Go Irish!!