- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

MASSACHUSETTS (0-2) at No. 6 NOTRE DAME (3-0), 3:30 p.m. (NBC)

Line: Notre Dame by 29.

Series Record: First game.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The Fighting Irish are seeking to stay in contention for the College Football Playoff and can’t afford a loss to UMass. The Minutemen are looking for their first win against a ranked opponent and their first win against a Power 5 conference opponent since moving up to FBS in 2012.

KEY MATCHUP

Massachusetts WR Tajae Sharpe vs. Notre Dame CB KeiVarae Russell. Sharpe owns the school record with 188 catches and has six 100-yard receiving games in his last 10 played. The 6-foot-3, 188-pound senior is a dangerous receiver with 22 catches for 294 yards through two games. Russell is fourth on the team with 15 tackles, including a sack, a forced fumble and two pass breakups, but hasn’t been as dominant as expected after being suspended from school for a season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Massachusetts: QB Blake Frohnapfel. He is in his second year running the UMass offense after transferring from Marshall. He threw for 3,345 yards, including a school-record 589 yards vs. Bowling Green, and 23 touchdowns last season and has thrown for 618 yards and four TDs so far this season.

Notre Dame: RB C.J. Prosise fell two yards shy of rushing for 100 yards vs. Texas or he would have three straight 100-yard games. The converted wide receiver has run for 451 yards on 59 carries, a 7.6-yard average. That’s the second-best start in Notre Dame history. Phil Carter rushed for 499 yards through the first three games of 1980.

FACTS & FIGURES

Notre Dame scheduled UMass because it was coached at the time by former Irish offensive coordinator Charley Molnar, who was fired after a 2-22 record in the program’s first two seasons in FBS. … The Minutemen will be the eighth first-time opponent the Irish have faced in six seasons under Brian Kelly. The Irish are 4-3 in those games with losses to Tulsa, South Florida and Louisville. … UMass is 0-7 against ranked teams and has never played a top 10 opponent.


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