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Up Next: Notre Dame vs USC

📷 credit: @ndfootball on Instagram

The #13 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-3) will host the #5 ranked USC Trojans (10-1) on Saturday, as Notre Dame looks to keep their winning streak alive. The Irish are coming off their most impressive win of the season, defeating Boston College 44-0. The Irish will need to play at that level or higher this coming week as USC presents a more challenging opponent. Coach Freeman had this to say on Wednesday about facing USC…

“It’s a rivalry for us and what a huge rivalry. I’m still learning. I think last year, my first year here, I knew it was a rivalry. It was during the middle of the season, but now it’s the last game of the year. Me being the head coach, you really try to study up on the history. It’s a long-lasting rivalry that has gone back to the 1920s and has been played over 90 times. I want our plays to know about and understand the rivalry. You don’t have to turn on the film to realize it’s a great opponent we’re going to play on Saturday.”

Game Details

Date: Saturday, November 26

Time: 7:30 PM ET

Where to Watch: ABC

📷 credit: @ndfootball on Instagram

Limited Series History

Notre Dame Leads Overall 50-37-5

2021- Irish 31-16

2019- Irish 30-27

2018- Irish 24-17

2017- Irish 49-14

2016- Trojans 45-27

2015- Irish 41-31

2014- Trojans 49-14

2013- Irish 14-10

2012- Irish 22-13

2011- Trojans 31-17

2010- Irish 20-16

2009- Trojans 34-27

2008- Trojans 38-3

2007- Trojans 38-0

2006- Trojans 44-24

2005- Trojans 34-31

2004- Trojans 41-10

2003- Trojans 45-14

2002- Trojans 44-13

2001- Irish 27-16

2000- Irish 38-21

Breaking Down USC

USC is led by first-year head coach Lincoln Riley, who owns a 10-1 record and ranks first in nearly every category in the PAC 12. Coming from Oklahoma, Riley is known for his high-scoring offenses and for getting the most out of his offensive talent. Along with several other transfers, this is one of the reasons Caleb Williams followed him to USC after playing with him last season at Oklahoma. After a rough season a year ago, Lincoln has quickly returned this team to its winning ways.

Stacking Up Notre Dame vs USC

Offensive Players to Know

Caleb Williams— QB #13

2022 Stats: 3480 passing yards, 33 TD; 316 rushing yards, 7 TD

Coach Freeman had this to say about facing Caleb Williams… “He’s special. He is a rare talent. The things he does with the ball in his hands, the decisions he makes, the ability to put the ball into tight spaces, and his ability to make plays with his legs. He’s so hard to bring down. We have a challenge in front of us.”

Austin Jones— RB #6

2022 Stats: 455 rushing yards, 5 TD; 191 receiving yards, 1 TD

Jordan Addison— WR #3

2022 Stats: 765 receiving yards, 8 TD

Thaj Washington— WR #16

2022 Stats: 549 receiving yards, 4 TD

Mario Williams— WR #4

2022 Stats: 508 receiving yards, 4 TD

Defensive Players to Know

Tuli Tuipulotu— DL #49

2022 Stats: 38 tackles, 3 passes defended, 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Shane Lee— LB #53

2022 Stats: 65 tackles, 1 pass defended, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 TD

Eric Gentry— LB #18

2022 Stats: 52 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception

Mekhi Blackmon— DB #6

2022 Stats: 49 tackles, 11 passes defended, 3 interceptions

Max Williams— DB #4

2022 Stats: 60 tackles, 5 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions

📷 credit: @usc.fb on Instagram

Keys to Victory

1. Force Turnovers

Despite Caleb Williams being highly efficient with the football, he has yet to face a defense like Notre Dame. The Irish bring a physicality that USC has not seen up to this point. This defense must take advantage of every opportunity that is afforded them to win this game.

2. Establish the Run

Even though USC knows that Notre Dame likes to run the ball, the Irish must look to get the rushing attack established in order to set the tone of the game. Whether it be Diggs, Estime, or Tyree, Notre Dame must establish a solid rushing attack in order to control the clock and open up opportunities for the passing game to be efficient. This may also be a great opportunity for the Irish to throw a few slant routes to running backs as well and let them make USC’s defense pay.

Final Take

This game presents Notre Dame with an incredible opportunity to make a name for itself going into next season. It also presents the Irish with keeping USC out of the college football playoffs. Either way, Marcus Freeman and his staff need to have a great game plan going into this game in order to come out on top. Some of Notre Dame’s most memorable moments came against USC and this game will hopefully be no different. When asked about what Notre Dame was playing for against USC, Coach Freeman had this to say…

“Our motivation is understanding the rivalry and the opportunity to be called a winner. That’s something I believe in. The chance to be called a winner is the greatest achievement there is. That is our motivation. It’s the opportunity to play against a great opponent and the chance to be called a winner. That’s all the motivation we need.”

Go Irish!

📷 credit: @ndfootball on Instagram


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