Notre Dame vs. USC fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 24
Game Time: 8:00 ET
Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Notre Dame (11-0) vs. USC (5-6) Game Preview
One Reason Why Notre Dame Will Win
There’s no need to get cute here. Run, keep running, and run a little bit more until the Trojan defensive front can prove it can generate consistent stops.
Syracuse was able to keep the Irish from going off, but the game got out of hand quickly. Northwestern was able to hold down Dexter Williams and company, too. But against USC, get Williams in space and let him hit home runs against a suddenly leaky back seven.
UCLA got a massive day out of Joshua Kelley in last week’s shocking win, helping the ground game hammer out 313 yards with big dash after big dash. It was the third 200+ yard rushing game in the last five the Trojans allowed.
But there’s a bigger problem for USC. The D isn’t generating enough takeaways.
Last year’s Trojan defense forced 25 turnovers. 2011 was the last time USC went through a season generating fewer than 20. This year, the D has come up with a mere nine takeaways with just three interceptions on the year.
Yes, Notre Dame will run the ball, and yes, Ian Book has thrown five picks. But the passing attack has been deadly, hitting Syracuse for 292 yards and throwing 20 touchdowns or more in every game he’s played in so far.
One Reason Why USC Will Win
In terms of pressure, it’s all on the other side of the field.
This isn’t a Pac-12 championship season. There’s no College Football Playoff appearance coming, the UCLA loss was horrendous, and head coach Clay Helton is all but fired. But ruining Notre Dame’s CFP dream would make the season.
It has to start be getting even more pressure from the defensive front. USC hasn’t been bad at doing things in the backfield, and the pass rush hasn’t been awful. Get to Williams before he can get on the move, and pressure Book – the two things are a must, and no one has been able to consistently do it.
Offensively, everything has been a struggle. Even when JT Daniels has been great, it hasn’t translated into wins. However, he’s coming off a 337-yard day against UCLA, and he’s had a few three touchdown days including in the win over Washington State.
Notre Dame’s secondary has been a killer so far, and it’s been able to hold down just about everyone. Daniels has to avoid the key interceptions – he’s thrown two in three of the last five games – and he has to do a better job of moving the chains.
He has to try playing this with no pressure on his shoulders.
What’s Going To Happen
Notre Dame isn’t going to blow it now.
USC will come up with a few big moments to make it seem like a miracle is possible, but the Irish defense has been too good – especially in the secondary – and the offense is pouncing on every opportunity.
The Irish are just four quarters away from going to the College Football Playoff. When things start to get a little tight, the offensive line will take over, and Williams will take care of the rest.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Notre Dame 34, USC 20
Line: Notre Dame -11, o/u: 54
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5
Must See Rating: 5
5: Beef tenderloin for Thanksgiving
1: Turkey for Thanksgiving