Players to watch in Saturday's Notre Dame-Miami game

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame

WR Chase Claypool

Perhaps Notre Dame’s most athletic offensive weapon, Claypool racked up nine catches for 180 yards and a touchdown in the win over Wake Forest last week, after entering the game with just 174 receiving yards on the season. The 6-foot-5, 228-pound sophomore has emerged as junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush’s most physical option in a gradually evolving passing attack. Miami will try to take away the powerful Irish rushing attack on Saturday, which should present opportunities for Claypool against the country’s No. 3 passing efficiency defense.

CB Julian Love 

With three regular season games remaining, Love — a 5-foot-11, 193-pound sophomore — has already set a school record with 14 pass break ups on the year. He also leads the Irish with three interceptions, including one in each of the last two games. On the other side, Miami quarterback Malik Rosier threw three interceptions in last weekend’s win over Virginia Tech. The turnover battle is always a crucial element, especially in a primetime game on the road. Can Love continue his interception streak on Saturday?

Notre Dame’s Julian Love (27) celebrates scoring during the Notre Dame at Michigan State NCAA football game Saturday, 23, 2017 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. Tribune Photo sequence/MICHAEL CATERINA

Miami

RB Travis Homer

In the wake of standout running back Mark Walton’s season-ending injury, Homer has taken full advantage of an unexpected opportunity in the Miami backfield. The 5-11, 195-pound sophomore leads the Hurricanes with 607 rushing yards, 6.4 yards per carry and six touchdowns in eight games. He also provided a highlight with a 64-yard touchdown run in last weekend’s win over Virginia Tech. To escape Miami Gardens, Fla., with a win, Notre Dame’s defense — which gave up 239 rushing yards and 6.0 yards per carry against Wake Forest — will have to stop Homer from going yard.

S Jaquan Johnson 

Johnson has served as Miami’s enforcer in the secondary this season, leading the Hurricanes with 58 tackles while adding two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The 5-11, 190-pound junior and Miami native forced a fumble and nabbed an interception in the home win over Virginia Tech. On Saturday, he’ll serve as the last line of defense against Notre Dame’s vaunted rushing attack. Miami has allowed six runs of 30 or more yards this season, while the Irish have produced 25 of them. Something has to give on Saturday.

Notre Dame’s Julian Love (27) gets brought down by Wake Forest’s John Wolford (10) after making an interception during the Notre Dame-Wake Forest NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN