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College Football
Preview
Notre Dame vs Ohio State
When: 1:00 PM ET, Friday, January 1, 2016
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona



BATTLEFROG FIESTA BOWL STORYLINES

1. No. 7 Ohio State and No. 8 Notre Dame were each only a few plays away from clinching a spot in the College Football Playoff but instead will have to be content with a New Year’s Six Bowl when they square off in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 1. The defending-champion Buckeyes were in the top four until a 17-14 home loss to Michigan State in the penultimate game of the regular season knocked them out of a spot in the Big Ten title game. The Fighting Irish spent a week in the top four as well but dropped after closing the campaign with a 38-36 setback at Stanford.

2. Notre Dame’s explosive offense averaged 34.8 points – 31st in the nation – despite making a change at quarterback and losing top rusher C.J. Prosise down the stretch. Prosise (ankle) could be back for the bowl game but will be going against an Ohio State defense that finished second in the nation while allowing opponents an average of 14 points. Buckeyes co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash is set to leave to take the head coaching job at Rutgers after the bowl game, but former NFL and college head coach Greg Schiano was brought in to ease the transition and will serve as the co-defensive coordinator moving forward.

3. The Fighting Irish and the Buckeyes both switched quarterbacks during the season, though Notre Dame’s change was injury related. Malik Zaire went down in the second game of the season at Virginia and sophomore DeShone Kizer stepped in to throw for 2,600 yards and 19 touchdowns while adding nine scores on the ground. Ohio State went back and forth between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett before settling on Barrett, who will get the starting nod in the Fiesta Bowl.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Ohio State -6.5

ABOUT NOTRE DAME (10-2): The Fighting Irish suffered their two losses by a total of four points on the road at No. 1 Clemson and No. 6 Stanford. “Our scout teams have done a great job all year,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told reporters. “We're going to lean on them again one more time to provide us with the kind of look necessary to prepare our defense. But no, we know the challenge that Ohio State brings, and we're going to have to do a great job of preparing our defense.” That defense allowed an average of 22.4 points in the regular season and was at its best against the pass, limiting opponents to 195.9 yards through the air.

ABOUT OHIO STATE (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten):
Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 1,672 yards and 19 touchdowns but was critical of his usage after logging just 33 yards on 12 carries in the lone loss to Michigan State. Elliott bounced back with 214 yards and two scores the following week and figures to be a big part of the offense in the bowl game. Elliott is one of several Ohio State stars, including Jones and presumptive top-5 pick defensive lineman Joey Bosa, who could be headed for the NFL draft in the spring.



PREDICTION: Ohio State 28, Notre Dame 27
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Notre Dame 10-2 L1 34.8 22.4 7-0 3-2 10-2 0-0 0-0
Ohio State 11-1 W1 35.0 14.0 6-1 5-0 1-0 0-0 7-1
Last Meeting
Notre Dame Ohio State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
1/2/06 ND 20 OSU 34 348 62 286 617 275 342
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Notre Dame B. Quinn 64.4 286 0 0
Ohio State T. Smith 67.9 342 2 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame D. Walker 16 90 5.6 3
Ohio State A. Pittman 21 136 6.5 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame M. Stovall 9 126 14.0 0
Ohio State T. Ginn 8 167 20.9 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Notre Dame D. Walker 3
Ohio State T. Ginn 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Notre Dame D. Kizer 63.3 2596 19 9
Ohio State C. Jones 62.3 1459 8 5
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame C. Prosise 157 1029 6.6 11
Ohio State E. Elliott 262 1672 6.4 19
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame W. Fuller 56 1145 20.4 13
Ohio State M. Thomas 49 709 14.5 8
Touchdowns Player TD
Notre Dame W. Fuller 13
Ohio State E. Elliott 19
Quickchart Matchup
Notre Dame Notre Dame Off vs  Ohio State Ohio State Def
Notre Dame 471.9 yards
Ohio State 303.5 yards
Notre Dame 5.8 yards/rush
Ohio State 3.4 yards/rush
Notre Dame 8.9 yards/attempt
Ohio State 5.7 yards/attempt
Ohio State Ohio State Off vs  Notre Dame Notre Dame Def
Ohio State 428.9 yards
Notre Dame 362.4 yards
Ohio State 5.6 yards/rush
Notre Dame 4.5 yards/rush
Ohio State 7.7 yards/attempt
Notre Dame 6.9 yards/attempt