Notre Dame’s rivals for 2022 (by Santiago Rubio)

by Santiago Rubio (Grá 

In my previous analysis I wrote about the prospects that the prestigious Notre Dame squad will have for 2021, therefore my focus continues  in the future of the Irish, this time for the 2022 season. It will be a promising year for the South Bend team, since some of the players I mentioned will have consolidated in the team, two examples are the talented QB Tyler Buchner,  one of the best passers of his class, and defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio. 

QB Tyler Buchner (247sports)

There are situations that are yet to be defined, but Notre Dame already knows ten of its twelve opponents for 2022 and in the faithful style of the Irish on their pilgrimage, the schedule is made up of huge and heavy crosses, powerful and complicated teams that they will have to dominate if they intend to play in January 2023 for the national title. These are the scheduled matches for Notre Dame in 2022.

 Ohio State, September 3

 After announcing that both universities had agreed on a series of “home and home” matches in 2014, fans will finally be able to see this great battle after 8 years of waiting. What a way to open the season!…Traveling to Columbus, in one of the most difficult stadiums to play and face another giant of college football like the Buckeyes, it will undoubtedly be a war of titans between two of the most successful programs in history. Both Notre Dame and Ohio State will have their current prospects showing their talent in this meeting that will take place at “The Horseshoe”. It will be interesting to see the duel between the Irish wide receiver, Kevin Austin, against the phenomenal safety prospect of the Buckeyes Lejond Cavazos, especially if by that year Cavazos reduces his time in the 40 yards, his current time is 4.4 seconds.  

The Buckeyes will be a difficult rival for the Irish (J. Rebilas/USA TODAY)

After the intense battle in Columbus, the Irish will see the rest of September a little bit calmer, facing Marshall and Cal in South Bend, it will certainly help Notre Dame recover from the game against Ohio State and generate good momentum for their October march. Notre Dame should win both games comfortably.

 Marshall, September 10

 It will be the first time that the Thundering Herd and the Fighting Irish face each other on the gridiron. Coach Doc Holliday’s wards have a seven game winning streak in bowl games, however Marshall is not a powerhouse in the USA Conference and for that reason Notre Dame’s 2021 prospect Lorenzo Styles Jr could be Tyler Buchner’s target and make a couple of catches for a touchdown.

 Cal, September 17

 The last battle these two teams faced was in 1967, the Irish punched the Golden Bears 41-8 at Notre Dame Stadium and history may repeat itself in 2022 with another forceful victory on a brilliant afternoon for the Irish defense in which aggressive defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio will dominate the trenches and sack the QB a couple of times.

 Stanford, October 15

 The first game for the Irish in October will be their imminent fight against the Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium, a game that as usual, always generates emotions regardless of the teams record in the season, it is a game of tradition, of rivalry. The three Stanford offensive linemen freshmen who played in 2019 are expected to solidify the Cardinal’s offensive line in 2022: Walter Rouse, Barrett Miller and Jake Hornibrook. The fight on the scrimmage line will be challenging for Gabriel Rubio and defensive end Ovie Oghoufo. The Irish must not let their guard down.  

On October 15 the Irish will collide with the Cardinal (South Bend Tribune/Michael Caterina)

Navy, October 22

 The Irish will make the trip to Annapolis for another great rivalry match against Navy, in a game that could be key and that should help to find rhythm and motivation at the beginning of November, it is a game in which the boys from South Bend should win decisively, however, being a game of intense rivalry, there is nothing written. Olsen Perry will probably be the Midshipmen quarterback and Irish safety Kyle Hamilton will be there to stop his receivers.

 Clemson, November 5

 Their first game in November will be none other than Clemson, Notre Dame will host the Tigers in a game that could be decisive for both squads, since both have great prospects that will be ready for their search for the national championship, however, Clemson has yet to find out who will succeed Trevor Lawrence after he sets out on his journey to the NFL. The Tigers made an offer to Drake Maye, who surprisingly rejected Alabama and will apparently play with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Texas-born QB Eli Stowers also rejected the Tigers’ offer and will play in his state for Texas A&M. If there was instability with the QBs at Clemson Tyler Buchner could have the advantage, playing at a high level, however Clemson’s defensive line could complicate this duel for the Irish in their journey through 2022.

Difficult duel Notre Dame will hold against Clemson in 2022 (South Bend Tribune/Michael Caterina)

 Southern California, November 26

 After the clash with the Clemson Tigers, the Irish will travel to the Los Angeles Coliseum to face their staunch rival; Trojans against the Irish, this will be another game that could be key for the Notre Dame season. Last year when USC visited the Notre Dame Stadium, the true freshman QB, Kedon Slovis, was on the verge of saving the Trojans, however the Notre Dame secondary closed the lanes to their receivers and the Irish were victorious 30-27. History can be repeated with CB Philip Riley playing splendidly and perhaps having an interception.

 Until today the other three Notre Dame opponents from the ACC, have not yet defined the dates for their games; North Carolina, Boston College, and Syracuse.

The 2022 season may seem distant when not all the prospects Notre Dame hopes to have ready to fight that fall are yet to come. The other two rivals are still to be defined to complete the 12 games that the Irish will play, however the future is promising for the South Bend team because they have already tied up high level players and will surely join even more. The 2022 season could be a successful one for the Irish, they must win the big games, play the four quarters intensely against Ohio State and Clemson.  Notre Dame must accelerate the pace in the rest of their matches to be able to get a chance to fight again for the national championship.

 Go Irish!

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