Notre Dame vs Pittsburgh Preview – Brian Kelly Factor

Notre Dame has been one of the biggest stories of the 2018 college football season. They enter Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh with a 6-0 record, with wins over Michigan, Stanford, and Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh enters 3-3 with wins over Georgia Tech and Syracuse.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 48-21-1. The Irish are 16-5 against Pitt since 1988. During Brian Kelly’s coaching career, he is 6-2 against Pitt – 4-1 at Notre Dame and 2-1 at Cincinnati.

Brian Kelly’s Cincy History vs Pitt

  • 2008 and 2009 were both extremely dramatic for Kelly. 2008 was the Big East finale that Cincinnati won 45-44 to clinch the outright Big East championship and Orange Bowl bid. In 2009, the Bearcats overcame a dramatic 21 point deficit to win and clinch a 12-0 season. Shortly after, Kelly moved on to Notre Dame. Would he have gotten the job had Cincy lost that game and finished 11-1? Who knows.
  • The name to know from 2009 is Dion Lewis, who ran the ball 47 times and picked up 197 yards and 3 TDs. Former second round pick Isaiah Pead was the Cincinnati RB.
  • The 2007 loss featured LeSean McCoy running for 137 yards and Larod Stephens-Howling (who spent time with the Arizona Cardinals) also running for 100 yards.

That Notre Dame loss

So what happened in 2013 when Notre Dame lost to Pitt?

  • Pitt won 28-21 over the 23rd ranked Irish on 11/9/13
  • Tom Savage completed 22-35 passes, 243 yards and 2 TD and James Connor carried the ball 10 times for 35 yards, 2 TD and also had 2 receptions. WR Tyler Boyd had 8 catches for 85 yards and Devin Street hauled in both of Savage’s TDs.
  • The only notable name from Notre Dame was Will Fuller who was a non factor (1 catch, 5 yards)

What will happen in the 2018 edition of the game? Many fans around college football are against the idea of Notre Dame making the playoffs due to their lack of conference affiliation, therefore lack of conference championship game. Can Pitt pull off the historic upset? Or will the Irish continue to roll in their bid for the CFP?

For more college football talk, you can follow me on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports 

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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