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The "Lou" Bowl, IT Staff Shares Gator Bowl Predictions

By: Murray O'Connell | Writer | Twitter: @MurrayOConnell | Profile: @MurrayOConnell


Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press


No, not that USC. Not the one in which their star player once upon a time had to return his Heisman trophy for reportedly accepting improper benefits while in school, a violation at the time of NCAA rules.


But the other USC, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. Many Irish fans would probably admit that upon hearing who the Irish would be facing in the 2022 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida this year, their minds began to wander as they tried to visualize what an actual gamecock is. I am not one with nature, nor was I ever a big Steve Irwin fan, so I can only surmise it has to be some sort of flying rooster, maybe?


What Irish fans do know with certainty is something that both schools have in common, and that something is a scrawny coach that fiercely paced the sidelines, won a national championship, and spoke with a lisp that paired well with his self-deprecating humor.


Lou Holtz, who coached the Irish from 1986-1996, then would later coach the Gamecocks from 1999-2004, and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.


Holtz’s first year at SC resulted in an 0-11 record. Soon though, just like he did at Notre Dame, Holtz would have that program turned around, resulting in two consecutive Outback Bowl victories. Holtz would retire after the 2004 season, occasionally returning to Notre Dame as a dignitary.


It is safe to say that Holtz made one team relevant again, and a few years later put the other team on the map. How will his former schools do against each other as they battle it out in Friday's Gator Bowl? The staff at the Irish Tribune shared their thoughts.


Murray O'Connell- Writer


So you’re telling me the Irish will be without their star player on offense, and Michael Mayer? They will also be without their all time sack leader on defense? Oh wait, there’s more! They will be starting a quarterback who last saw any meaningful action in September. Speaking of quarterbacks, the one they will be facing will be, according to most experts, a late day one to day two pick in the NFL draft and could be considered a "Caleb Williams lite." The same Caleb Williams that passed for over 230 yards and ran for what seemed like a thousand yards against Notre Dame. That’s the type of quarterback Notre Dame will be facing in the Gator Bowl? If the Irish could get their running game going, I think it will be a relatively tight game for the first half, but I don’t think Notre Dame will be able to stop a quarterback like Spencer Rattler and the Gamecocks pull away late.


South Carolina 38

Notre Dame 24


Mike Stacey - Writer


Notre Dame’s contest against South Carolina in the Gator Bowl comes with a lot of question marks. In the world of sit outs and transfers, Notre Dame will enter this game without notable players such as Drew Pyne, Michael Mayer, and Isaiah Foskey. Will former starter Tyler Buchner be a go for this game? If so, with limited reps, can he outperform what we saw from Drew Pyne this year? Can the receivers make up for the production the Irish will be losing with Mayer out? And lastly, can the D-line make up for the loss of Notre Dame’s all time sack leader? Now, South Carolina will also have some opt outs including their leading rusher, which should help even things up. At the end of the day, I can see this game going either way, but if Freeman has his boys ready to play I think ND squeaks one out in Jacksonville.


Notre Dame 31

South Carolina 28



Photo Courtesy of Garnet and Cocky


Chris Studer - Editor


Bowl games in the modern era have seemed to have lost their mystic. Especially for big schools that are not playing in New Year's six or Playoff games. It is understandable given that top talent does not want to risk getting injured and hurting their draft stock (prime example for Irish fans: Jaylon Smith). But with that being said, as a fan I desperately want Freeman to take these games seriously and improve that win column for the Irish in bowl games. Playing against the Gamecocks will be a tough test without the offensive star Mayer and defensive stud Foskey. However the Gamecocks will also be without some stars on their end. Big plays incoming on offense, defense and special teams! Expect the Irish to utilize the ground game and allow Buchner to gain some confidence with short passes and screens. Spencer Rattler (USC's QB) will not be playing with any lack of confidence. Expect these teams to put up some points.


Irish 38

Gamecocks 31


Patrick Byrne - Writer


Run, run and run some more. This will be the game plan for Notre Dame against the South Carolina Gamecocks. But wait, Notre Dame is without their starting quarterback. Actually, they're not, as Tyler Buchner (the starting QB at the beginning of the season) returns and takes over for a good but not great Drew Pyne. What Buchner brings to the offense will be the difference, as the running game will be able to open up even more, allowing the Irish offensive line to maul and drive their way to 200+ yards rushing in the game. But the Irish will be without Michael Mayer, how will they move the ball? This is certainly problematic as Mayer was the "do everything" tight end for Notre Dame and the best player on the field most games he played in. But, Mayer was also a crutch for Drew Pyne, as he was consistently double if not triple covered and Pyne would still throw him the ball (most of the time successfully because that's how good Mayer is). Buchner won't have this to fall back on, nor will he need it, as he'll simply take off if no one is open to gain 7-8 yards or more each time. Carolina can't run the ball and they won't, being forced to throw in an attempt to keep up with Notre Dame's Navy-like run tendencies and time of possession advantage.

Notre Dame 41

South Carolina 17



Photo Courtesy of @NDFootball

Luciano Antonini - Founder and CEO


I believe South Carolina will be arguably Notre Dame’s toughest opponent the entire year. We’ve seen the Gamecocks play spectacular their last two games vs top 10 teams in Clemson and Tennessee. But they’ve also struggled against the likes of Texas A&M, Florida, Vanderbilt, etc. It really just depends on what kind of team we see this Friday. I also think that the outcome will come down to how prepared Tommy Rees, Tyler Buchner, and the offense are. With top receiving target Michael Mayer not playing and Tyler Buchner not playing since the dark days of Marshall and Ohio State; Will Rees have Tyler prepared? Or will we see the same team we did at the start of the season? However, one thing is always consistent, my faith in the Irish…Notre Dame wins!


Notre Dame 31

South Carolina 20


Liam Gaudet - Editor

Nothing has come easy this season for the Irish, and I don't expect that to change here. In a season where the only constant is unpredictability, it's hard for the majority of fans to predict how this matchup will go, especially with key pieces missing on both sides of the ball. With Buchner back at the helm, I could see the staff wanting to control the pace of the game on the ground, playing keep away from a red-hot South Carolina offense. I like to think the guys up front will get a tremendous push, and that scores will be at a premium for the majority of the game. Look for Rees to lull the gamecocks defense to sleep with read options and up the gut runs before choosing his shot to take the top off the secondary. I think even without the likes of Isaiah Foskey, the defense will be able to slow down the Gamecocks offense and blanket their receivers enough to tip the scales in our favor.


Notre Dame 27

South Carolina 21


Nicholas Kremer - Editor

Here we go, Irish fans. One last chance to watch our beloved Notre Dame football team in game action until the Spring. This one is tough for me; Notre Dame has both of its best players sitting out of the game, and a QB that hasn't played since September. On the flip side, South Carolina is HOT right now, coming off wins against Tennessee and Clemson to close out the season. Spencer Rattler gets a shot to impress NFL scouts, so I expect him to play out of his mind. With that being said, I think the Irish have more talent across the board in this one. I look for a heavy dose of the run game, and an emphasis on confusing Rattler on defense. In the end, the Irish will come out on top in a CLOSE one.


Notre Dame - 27

South Carolina - 24



Photo Courtesy of Jason Invester



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