A Rivalry Is Back

Campus Clash

(11) USC Trojans at (13) Notre Dame Fighting Irish

USC: The record has simply spoken for itself. Yes, they are 6-1 and that’s nice to look at and all, but they haven’t been the team that we saw around this time last year and they haven’t lived up to the expectations from so many coming into the 2017 season. Let’s look at their last game against Kyle Wittingham and the Utah Utes. They came the half. They turned it around and found a way to come back and won the game by a score of 28-27. They dominated the yards category and Darnold had himself a nice game. Where they struggled was holding onto the football and they fumbled the ball three times on Saturday. What really impressed me was their ability to run the football and get Ronald Jones involved early on. He carried the ball 17 and recorded 111 yards rushing. I’m still really concerned about their defense, especially their front four because they can’t rush the passer unless they load up the box with additional guys. This is another big game for them. It’s rivalry night and they’ll be in South Bend go see another legendary football institution on Saturday night.

Notre Dame: It’s been a while since they’ve been talked about in a positive light and it’s good to see. They’ve quietly gone 5-1 and have won four games in a row since dropping a nail-biter to the Georgia Bulldogs in week two. The fans have to be happy that the Irish have bounced back after its dismal finish in 2016. The defense has been fun to watch. They force turnovers and they know how to really make you a one-dimensional team and most importantly, they get off the field on third down when it matters the most. This is the best I’ve seen their defense look since 2012 and that’s when they made it all the way to the national title game only to fall short to Alabama. Brian Kelly entered this season on the hot seat, but now, he has the Irish sitting as a dark horse college football playoff contender and I don’t think many people had them in their predictions before it all kicked off. This is a huge game for them and it’ll always be a game to watch the Trojans of Southern California are in town for a battle.

USC Player To Watch: Tyler Petite– The Trojans lost a lot of offensive production after Juju Smith-Schuster left for the NFL. This kid has stepped in and become another receiving target for Darnold behind Deontay Burnett. He’s everything you want in a tight end. He has the wide catch radius, he can run down the seams and over the middle and he can block. I look for Darnold to target him quite a bit.

Notre Dame Player To Watch: Deon Mcintosh– They haven’t had a prolific back out the backfield since the days of C.J. Prosise. He’s such a dynamic player for them and with USC struggling to defend the run, I see him having his number called quite a bit early and often.

Final Analysis: I’ve watched this rivalry for years and years and it’s an absolute honor to preview and break this one down for you. USC has had its share of issues on the offensive line all year so Notre Dame needs to exploit that and Darnold needs to be able to hold onto the ball. He’s had a fumbling issue all season long. For Notre Dame, the ground game is here to help you!! Use it and then allow Wimbush to pass the ball.

Prediction: Notre Dame 26 USC 21