Notre Dame vs. LSU: Citrus Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Notre Dame vs. LSU: Citrus Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Bowls College Football Playoff

Notre Dame vs. LSU: Citrus Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the Citrus Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.

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Citrus Bowl
Notre Dame (9-3) vs. LSU (9-3)


Date: Monday, January 1st
Game Time: 1:00 pm
Venue: ABC
Network: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
9 out of 39

2017-2018 Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Citrus Bowl

Yeah, Notre Dame might have had bigger dreams after getting off to such a great start, but considering where the program was last year at this time, this isn’t a bad bowl to be in.

Now, the Irish have to actually win this, or else all the good things the team did during the year – like blowing out USC and beating NC State and Michigan State – will be seen as a quirky blip.

Brian Kelly might be the Teflon coach, but get ready for eight months of articles about the Notre Dame head man’s record over the last few years – and at least one written about what it would take to get Bob Stoops to listen.

LSU wasn’t supposed to have a big season. 8-4 is hardly okay for the powerhouse program, but it was a rebuilding year that wasn’t expected to be anything special. There were some blips – like the Troy loss – a second straight Citrus Bowl win would be a terrific stepping-stone for the Ed Orgeron era.

Tomato/To-mah-to. So this isn’t technically a New Year’s Six game – big deal. It’s on around the same time as the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, LSU and Notre Dame is a stronger national matchup than Auburn vs. UCF, and this could be one of the best matchup of the day.

It’s a marquee-name lead-in to the College Football Playoff. Throw in that it’s being played on ABC – the Peach is on ESPN – and this might just feel like a bigger game.

Here’s Why LSU Will Win The Citrus Bowl

Derrius Guice is playing. Star DE Arden Key isn’t, but the main man at running back is giving it a go, even though he should be pulling a Leonard Fournette and sitting this out.

The Notre Dame run defense was shredded late in the season by Wake Forest, Miami and Navy, and then couldn’t handle Bryce Love in the loss to Stanford. Assuming Guice is off to the NFL after this, there might be 30 carries in his near future.

Notre Dame doesn’t really have a passing game. Everything revolves around the ground attack, and if that’s to working, it’s uh-oh time. Brandon Wimbush can throw a little bit, but as a team, the Irish complete just 51% of their passes. That’s not a plus against a terrific Tiger secondary that gives up just 185 yards per game.

LSU is unbelievably careful with the ball. Call QB Danny Etling a game manager all you want, but he doesn’t give up picks with just two on the year – the Tigers threw just four – for an offense that gave up a nation-low eight turnovers. On the year, the Tigers are 6-0 when winning the turnover battle.

Here’s Why Notre Dame Will Win The Citrus Bowl

Notre Dame running game, it’s time to start working again. Not only are the Tigers without Key up front, but they’re also missing starting linebackers Donnie Alexander and Corey Thompson to injuries. LSU still has several fantastic defensive playmakers, but having two senior veterans in a game like this would’ve been a big, big help.

Again, the Notre Dame running game. It might have gone bye-bye for a stretch late in the season, but the key parts were also banged up. Playing Miami, Navy and Stanford had something to do with the problems, but QB Brandon Wimbush and RB Josh Adams weren’t right, and it showed. Now they’ve had a month to get healthier, and the ground attack should be ready to roll.

LSU allowed over 200 yards against Mississippi State and Troy – losing both games. This is a terrific Tiger run D, but again, it’ll be without some key parts.

Will the kicking game matter? LSU got past a few early problems helped by the emergence of freshman Connor Culp, but he missed three of his last five field goal tries. Notre Dame’s Justin Yoon has been impressive, nailing 12-of-16 field goals on the year and six of his last seven going back to September.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Citrus Bowl

This would be a nice feather in Ed Orgeron’s cap if he can get this. For all the concern and all the worry about whether or not he could handle the gig, a ten win season and a bowl victory would be a nice launching point to what should be a stronger 2018.

This is important for Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long. The running game was so good and so dominant early in the year, the fizzle in the final stretch was puzzling. For some reason, the Irish came out throwing against Miami and Navy, but against LSU, and ground attack has to start rolling right away.

This is the showcase for the Notre Dame star offensive linemen. OT Mike McGlinchey and OG Quenton Nelson are first round, top 20-caliber players who have to take over right away. For this work, the Irish need to run, run, and run some more. These two will be the key.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Citrus Bowl?

Get ready for the Derrius Guice show.

This will be a better, stronger Notre Dame team with the time off and the backfield stars healthier. The defensive losses for the Tigers will be an issue, but the offense will be too efficient and too effective when the ground game gets into a groove.

Etling won’t screw up, he’ll keep the chains moving, and Guice will be a machine with a 150-yard day to control the clock and keep the Irish O off the field.

Notre Dame will turn it over three times, LSU just once, and that will end up being the big difference in the second half. Wimbush will make the mistakes Etling won’t.

Final Score

LSU 27, Notre Dame 23
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets


LSU -3, o/u: 51.5

ATS Confidence: 2
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 4
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Citrus Bowl History, Results

Dec. 31, 2016 LSU 29, Louisville 9
Jan. 1, 2016 Michigan 41 Florida 7
Jan. 1, 2015 Missouri 33 Minnesota 17
Jan. 1, 2014 South Carolina 34 Wisconsin 24
Jan. 1, 2013 Georgia 45 Nebraska 31
Jan. 2, 2012 South Carolina 30 Nebraska 13
Jan. 1, 2011 Alabama 49 Michigan State 7
Jan. 1, 2010 Penn State 19 LSU 17
Jan. 1, 2009 Georgia 24 Michigan State 12
Jan. 1, 2008 Michigan 41 Florida 35
Jan. 1, 2007 Wisconsin 17 Arkansas 14
Jan. 2, 2006 Wisconsin 24 Auburn 10
Jan. 1, 2005 Iowa 30 LSU 25
Jan. 1, 2004 Georgia 34 Purdue 27 (OT)
Jan. 1, 2003 Auburn 13 Penn State 9
Jan. 1, 2002 Tennessee 45 Michigan 17
Jan. 1, 2001 Michigan 31 Auburn 28
Jan. 1, 2000 Michigan State 37 Florida 34
Jan. 1, 1999 Michigan 45 Arkansas 31
Jan. 1, 1998 Florida 21 Penn State 6
Jan. 1, 1997 Tennessee 48 Northwestern 28
Jan. 1, 1996 Tennessee 20 Ohio State 14
Jan. 2, 1995 Alabama 24 Ohio State 17
Jan. 1, 1994 Penn State 31 Tennessee 13
Jan. 1, 1993 Georgia 21 Ohio State 14
Jan. 1, 1992 California 37 Clemson 13
Jan. 1, 1991 Georgia Tech 45 Nebraska 21
Jan. 1, 1990 Illinois 31 Virginia 21
Jan. 2, 1989 Clemson 13 Oklahoma 6
Jan. 1, 1988 Clemson 35 Penn State 10
Jan. 1, 1987 Auburn 16 USC 7
Dec. 28, 1985 Ohio State 10 BYU 7
Dec. 22, 1984 Florida State 17 Georgia 17
Dec. 17, 1983 Tennessee 30 Maryland 23
Dec. 18, 1982 Auburn 33 Boston College 26
Dec. 19, 1981 Missouri 19 Southern Miss 17
Dec. 20, 1980 Florida 35 Maryland 20
Dec. 22, 1979 LSU 34 Wake Forest 10
Dec. 23, 1978 N.C. State 30 Pittsburgh 17
Dec. 23, 1977 Florida State 40 Texas Tech 17
Dec. 18, 1976 Oklahoma State 49 BYU 21
Dec. 20, 1975 Miami Univ. 20 South Carolina 7
Dec. 21, 1974 Miami Univ. 21 Georgia 10
Dec. 22, 1973 Miami Univ. 16 Florida 7
Dec. 29, 1972 Tampa 21 Kent State 18
Dec. 28, 1971 Toledo 28 Richmond 3
Dec. 28, 1970 Toledo 40 William & Mary 12
Dec. 26, 1969 Toledo 56 Davidson 33
Dec. 27, 1968 Richmond 49 Ohio 42
Dec. 16, 1967 Tennessee-Martin 25 West Chester 8
Dec. 10, 1966 Morgan State 14 West Chester 6
Dec. 11, 1965 East Carolina 31 Maine 0
Dec. 12, 1964 East Carolina 14 Massachusetts 13
Dec. 28, 1963 Western Kentucky 27 Coast Guard 0
Dec. 22, 1962 Houston 49 Miami Univ. 21
Dec. 29, 1961 Lamar 21 Middle Tennessee 14
Dec. 30, 1960 The Citadel 27 Tennessee Tech 0
Jan. 1, 1960 Middle Tennessee 21 Presbyerian 9
Dec. 27, 1958 Texas A&M Commerce 26 Missouri Valley 7
Jan. 1, 1958 Texas A&M Commerce 10 Southern Miss 9
Jan. 1, 1957 West Texas 20 Southern Miss 13
Jan. 2, 1956 Juniata 6 Missouri Valley 7
Jan. 1, 1955 Omaha 7 Eastern Kentucky 6
Jan. 1, 1954 Arkansas State 7 Texas A&M Commerce 7
Jan. 1, 1953 Texas A&M Commerce 33 Tennessee Tech 10
Jan. 1, 1952 Stetson 35 Arkansas State 20
Jan. 1, 1951 Charleston 35 Emory & Henry 14
Jan. 2, 1950 St. Vincent’s 7 Emory & Henry 6
Jan. 1, 1949 Murray State 21 Sul Ross State 21
Jan. 1, 1948 Catawba 7 Marshall 0
Jan. 1, 1947 Catawba 31 Maryville 0


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