Can Notre Dame football find its footing against the tenth-ranked Trojans in South Bend?
This game has an exciting tone and tenor. Notre Dame football has its fourth consecutive prime-time game against a ranked opponent. The Irish were thoroughly handled last week by Louisville. Head coach Marcus Freeman has the unenviable task of getting this team up and ready to play again. Freeman and the Irish must ignore the noise while preparing for this game.
Offensive coordinator Gerad Parker is under fire for Notre Dame football’s lack of production against Power Five opponents and Freeman for his in-game management. USC’s 109th-ranked defense could be the elixir for the Irish offense.
The Trojans are a team looking for respect. They’re undefeated but seem to continue a slow descent in the rankings. While style points don’t matter in the Playoff era, USC is being judged on how they win, not the fact they’ve been to the pay window six times this season. Saturday night should live up to the hype when the #10 Trojans travel to South Bend to take on the #21 Irish.
Notre Dame football is a favorite on Saturday.
Odds: Notre Dame -2.5/USC +2.5
Total: o/u 60.5
Money Line: Notre Dame -150, USC +125
Notre Dame is 4-2 against the spread and on the money line but 2-4 against the total. USC is 2-4 against the spread, 6-0 on the money line, and 5-1 on the team total.
Players to Watch:
Sam Hartman: It’s close to a pick ’em Saturday night. The late “Gorilla” Monsoon would call this the irresistible force meeting the immovable object with USC’s offense versus Norte Dame’s defense—the key to Saturday’s game for the Irish rests on Sam Hartman’s right arm. The Wake Forest transfer had another awful game against Louisville and looks to rebound.
Notre Dame’s Secondary: The Irish secondary has to make plays against the Trojan receiving corps. Defensive coordinator Al Golden should have the tape of the Arizona game and last season’s Oregon State tape cued up.
Notre Dame’s Offensive Line: The Irish offensive line also looks to rebound from an underwhelming performance. They’ll be checking for Georgia transfer Bear Alexander. They need to open holes for the running game.
Keys to Victory:
Notre Dame football has to get off the mat. They did not play well last weekend. How do they get up and get ready for yet another prime-time game? That’s the price of wearing the Golden Dome. We’ll see if offensive coordinator Gerad Parker has a counter for what Alex Grinch will try.
Grinch has plenty of tape on how to slow the Irish offense. Conversely, how do Al Golden and the Irish slow an offense averaging 51 points per game? There’s a formula for that. However, Notre Dame football has to score touchdowns when they get stops.