CAMPUS CHECK IN: Is Ian Book the man for Notre Dame against Wake Forest?
SOUTH BEND – The quarterback questions for Brian Kelly won’t go away, even if the team is 3-0 on the young season.
Brandon Wimbush has seen the majority of the snaps during the contests at Notre Dame Stadium, but since an opening day win over Michigan , he’s struggled to find his consistency.
He’s complete 55 percent of his passes for 589 yards with one turnover compared to four interceptions, which included a three-pick game against Ball State in Week 2.
After holding onto beat Vanderbilt last Saturday, it appears that Kelly is ready to make a move to shake up the offense this Saturday at Wake Forest.
Per reports from Chief at Barstool Sports and Irish Illustrated, Ian Book will make the start in place of Wimbush against the Demon Deacons. He’s been rotating in a times this season, completing his three pass attempt, one which was a touchdown in the win over the Commodores last week.
The news broke after Kelly’s scheduled weekly news conference so the switch hasn’t been confirmed by the team as of now, but it appears the Irish are hoping to shake things up a bit as they continue to improve their play as the first quarter of their 2018 season comes to a close.
ILLINOIS: The Friday Night Time is the Right Time
CHAMPAIGN – Typically when a College Football team plays on Saturday, they tend to find a way to take their minds off things the night before.
Lovie Smith admitted that it was usually the case for his Illinois team this week, but something has changed.
“As a general rule, Friday night we go for entertainment. Go to see a movie. But lately our team would rather see a college game on Friday night,” said Smith of the Illni. “So for us to have the stage pretty much by ourselves that night is pretty exciting.”
While it does mess up some of the preparation schedule since they get one less day of practice, Smith is insisting that his team is quite happy to be facing No. 10 Penn State Friday night in Memorial Stadium.
His Illinois team will be a heavy underdog and there is still no word who will start at quarterback (between freshman MJ Rivers or AJ Bush, who continues to nurse a hamstring), or if a few suspended players will return. Yet Smith has no issue with the Illini losing a prep day for the talented Nittany Lions to open the Big Ten season or that it comes after a difficult loss at Soldier Field to South Florida.
“I think that everybody who plays College Football had Friday night games. So were used to that,” said Smith. “Friday night is pretty special. I understand normally that’s reserved for high school games. But to mix in a couple of college games each week is a big deal.
NORTHWESTERN: A Bye at the Right Time?
EVANSTON – This could be the best or the worst time for the Wildcats to lick their wounds.
Northwestern followed an unimpressive offensive performance against Akron in Week 2 with a collapse against MAC foe Akron at home last Saturday. A 21-3 halftime lead faded away against the Zips, who ended up winning by five for their first victory over a Big Ten opponent since 1894.
Now they have to sit on that loss for two weeks as they are on the bye in second-to-last weekend of September.
The strong start that many hope would come to fruition hasn’t for the Wildcats, who are now on their heels after two-straight losses followed an opening night win over Purdue. Once their off the bye, things don’t start easy, as Michigan rolls into Evanston on September 22nd.
So the Wildcats have a lot to think about during their off week.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Huskies vs Power 5, Chapter III
DEKALB – Once again, it’s another big time program ahead for Rod Carey and his Huskies.
After opening with a road trip to Big Ten opponent Iowa and then a home game against the Pac 12 foe Utah, Northern Illinois faces their third Power 5 school in four weeks as they visit Florida State for a 3:30 PM kickoff on Saturday.
At least the Huskies are meeting a struggling Seminoles team, who were beaten by Virginia Tech to start the season, nearly lost to Samford at home, then dropped a 30-7 decision to Syracuse. Already Seminoles fans are upset at head coach Willie Taggart, who is still in his first seasons after replacing Jimbo Fisher, who left to go to Texas A & M.
Northern Illinois did open their MAC schedule in the middle of this stretch with success, knocking off Central Michigan in DeKalb last Saturday.