The Notre Dame Fighting Irish offense has a chance to do something no other team in school history has done in Saturday’s showdown with arch-rival USC Trojans.
The Fighting Irish have scored 35 points or more in five straight games for the second time in school history. No Notre Dame team has done so in six straight games.
Marcus Freeman can also become the second first-year Notre Dame coach to defeat four ranked teams in one season after Terry Brennan did so in 1954.
All that comes secondary to spoiling USC’s playoff bid by beating the Trojans for the fifth consecutive time and for the first time in the Los Angeles Coliseum since 2012.
“Focus on preparation. Saturday will get here before we know it, but we have to prepare, prepare, prepare,” Freeman told the media. “Continue to get better at the things we do really well and continue to fix the things we need to improve at.”
The Trojans have done a solid job of putting a one-point loss to the Utah Utes behind them with four consecutive wins, but three of those have come by one score.
With a victory, head coach Lincoln Riley would join Howard Jones (1925) and John Robinson (1976) as the only USC coaches to win 11 games in their first seasons.
The Trojans are 0-2 against Notre Dame in matchups of first-year coaches. Brennan defeated Jess Hill 23-17 in 1954 and Brian Kelly topped Lane Kiffin 20-16 in 2010.
Morrison To Be Tested
The Trojans haven’t shown the ability to stop anyone as of late, having allowed 35.4 points over the past five games, which means Notre Dame will get their points.
That puts the onus on the Fighting Irish defense to hold in check the No. 3 scoring offense in the country. The first team to 40 points could be the victor in this game.
Notre Dame has one of the top freshmen in the country in defensive back Benjamin Morrison, who has five interceptions in the last three games, including a pick-six.
Morrison will likely draw Jordan Addison, but the Fighting Irish could be weakened on the opposite side of the field as Cam Hart, who has played the most snaps on defense (568) in the country this season, will likely be questionable with a shoulder injury.
Williams States Heisman Case
The Heisman Trophy race has come down to two players – Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (-100) and USC quarterback Caleb Williams (even money).
Williams isn’t the runner he was as a freshman at Oklahoma but has more than made up for it with superior passing ability, which has resulted in 33 touchdown passes.
Addison is the top option as he leads the team in catches, yards, and touchdowns, but the secondary options – Tahj Washington, Mario Williams, Brenden Rice, and Kyle Ford – can be just as lethal with the ball in their hands for the No. 7 passing attack.
The Trojans may have more luck on the ground against the Irish, which could mean big games for Travis Dye and Austin Jones, both of whom go for over six yards per rush.
Notre Dame vs USC Game Injuries
Notre Dame vs USC Head-to-Head
The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series 50-37-5, but the Trojans have had the edge in the Coliseum, going 23-20-4. Notre Dame has a 17-13-2 advantage when both teams are ranked, but USC is 11-6-2 when it is the higher-ranked team of the two.
Notre Dame vs USC Game Information
- Game: Notre Dame (8-3) vs USC (10-1)
- Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
- Day/Time: Saturday, Nov. 26, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Notre Dame vs USC Live Stream: ESPN
Notre Dame vs USC Betting Lines
Notre Dame vs USC Picks & Prediction
The Trojans are 5½-point favorites at home according to the NCAAF lines. USC is 10-0 as a favorite and 6-0 at home. Notre Dame is 2-1 as an underdog this season.
The highest-scoring game in the history of the rivalry was a 55-24 win for USC in 1974, but this one could top that number. There have been only three occasions where both teams scored 30 or more points and two of those happened in the last 20 years.
USC is listed at -220 in our Vegas NHL lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Trojans, you have a chance to win $45. Notre Dame is +180, offering a chance to win $180 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives USC a 68.75% chance to win, with Notre Dame a 35.71%.
Notre Dame vs USC Trends
Notre Dame vs USC Edge
Notre Dame vs USC Results
Notre Dame vs USC Game Summary