5 Things We Know About Notre Dame Through 9 Games

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish's 42-30 win over Pittsburgh moved the Irish's record to 8-1 and reinforced their bid for a College Football Playoff berth. What did we learn from Saturday? What takeaways have we gleaned from the season so far? Here's 5 Things We Know About Notre Dame Through 9 Games.

5. We're still worried about the defense

The Irish have given up 22 points or more in each of their last eight games. It's a testament to the explosiveness of the offense that Notre Dame is 7-1 in those games, but that stat is still troublesome enough to give us pause. With a season-ending "elimination game" of sorts looming against Stanford, Notre Dame is going to have to cinch things up in all three levels of the defense or risk leading themselves into a massive letdown against the Cardinal.

4. The running game is deeper than expected

Star running back C.J. Prosise suffered a concussion early in ND's win and is listed as "day-to-day," but many wondered how the Irish would fare without their star back. Turns out, just fine.

The Irish got a lot of production from Josh Adams (147 yards), who had his second big game of the year filling in for Prosise. While he'll still likely go back to being a backup when Prosise returns, knowing that he can take some pressure off of Prosise is a big plus for Notre Dame down the stretch.

3. Notre Dame is streaking at the right time

Notre Dame has now won two straight road games against quality opponents, showing that they're playing their best ball when the games count the most. The Irish now have two easy home games (Wake, BC) to tune up before their showdown against Stanford, giving them the chance to get healthy at be at their absolutel best for the postseason.

2. DeShone Kizer is very, VERY good

Many thought Notre Dame was doomed when Malik Zaire went down, but that hasn't been the case. DeShone Kizer has stepped up in an incredible way, is playing better than Zaire was expected to. Not only that, but he's playing this best football of late, passing for 262 yards and five touchdowns while picking up another score on the ground in their victory over Pitt. If Kizer keeps playing this well, and he should, Notre Dame has a great chance to run the table.

1. The resolve of this team is remarkable

The laundry list of season-ending injuries which have plagued the Irish would have taken down 99% of the teams in the FBS. Notre Dame is something special. The guys have rallied behind head coach Brian Kelly, not accepting a predetermined fate while building a lasting legacy for themselves in South Bend. Notre Dame is in fantastic position to earn a College Football Playoff. It's a minor miracle that such is the case, but it's been well earned.

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Related Topics: College Football, Brian Kelly, NCAA Football, Malik Zaire, Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame Fighting Irish football news, CJ Prosise