The Irish have played three straight top 25 primetime games, and this game makes it four straight. They lost two of the three, and their playoff hopes look dead. USC keeps winning and scoring 50 points a game, but the defense has been horrendous.
The Fighting Irish enter this matchup with an overall record of 5-2 this season and most recently lost by 33-20 against the Louisville Cardinals. Sam Hartman (2 touchdowns) completed the contest by passing for 254 yards over 22/38 passes with his quarterback rating at 115.6, throwing three interceptions, and finishing up his day at 7.4 yards per attempt for Notre Dame. Jeremiyah Love also carried five times for 37 yards for Notre Dame during this contest and ended it on 7.4 average yards per carry average. Notre Dame ran at a moderate pace of 1.6 yards per carry and finished with 44 yards on 28 attempts for 298 total yards (4.5 yards per play). Their passing defense allowed 17 out of 24 pass attempts to complete for 145 yards at 70.8% completion rate while they gave up 40 rush attempts totalling 185 yards (4.6 yards per rush attempt).
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have amassed an average of 437.9 yards per game in Division 1, placing them 34th overall in yardage average. Their offense has also accrued 355 yards of penalties on 42 infractions for 21st overall in terms of helping opponents. They average 171.0 yards per game via their ground game and have run for 1,197 yards this year. Furthermore, they have managed three interceptions while losing four fumbles and earned 147 first downs. Regarding their ability to score, the Fighting Irish currently stand in 35th place among Division 1 teams, with an average of 34.1 points scored per outing. So far this campaign, they have thrown for 1,868 yards through the air at an average rate of 266.9 passing yards per contest which ranks 41st.
The USC Trojans enter this matchup undefeated for this season. Their last matchup against the Arizona Wildcats ended with them winning 43-41, with Caleb Williams throwing for 14/25 with 205 yards through the air and one touchdown. He recorded a quarterback rating of 138.1, throwing no interceptions during the entire game. Marshawn Lloyd led all runners for the Trojans with 15 carries for 86 yards (5.7 average per carry) over 15 attempts, totaling 351 total yards of action played out in 58 plays that counted 351 yards total. The USC Trojans ran 33 different times and amassed 146 yards for an average of 4.4 yards per attempt, earning them an average of 4.4 average yards per attempt in running game play. They allowed opponents 203 yards on 42 attempts – equivalent to an average 4.8 average yards per run allowed. They completed 25 of 35 pass attempts, totaling 303 yards at an incredible completion percentage of 71.48%.
The USC Trojans average 51.8 points per outing when it comes to scoring touchdowns, ranking 55th in college football rushing average and 3126 total yards acquired this season. USC has notched 23 aerial and 17 rushing touchdowns while amassing 151 1st downs offensively and being penalized 51 times, totalling 472 yards; they’ve turned over their opponent four times as a team.
The Trojans rank 81st nationally regarding opponent scoring, giving up 27.0 points per contest and allowing an average of 4.2 yards per rushing attempt and 157.0 yards per contest through their running game, for a total of 942 yards in 6 games. On pass defense they allow 1,586 yards, ranking them 119th nationally with 264.3 yards per game through their pass game at 60.2% completion rates per contest; overall, they’ve yielded 421.3 yards per contest and allowed 15 touchdowns via air in addition to 6 touchdowns running game for a 112th-place overall performance this season.
The Notre Dame defence will have to be on top of their game in this one, while USC needs to play better than they have all season on defense. The Trojans’ defense is why I like the Irish to cover.
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