The 85th edition of this historic rivalry kicks off at 6:30 tonight.
SOUTH BEND, IN- It’s no secret that the Southern California Trojans (4-2) have fallen on hard times recently, but rest assured that the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (4-2) are not taking that as a sign of weakness. Brian Kelly‘s team will not underestimate USC when these two historic squads take the field at Notre Dame Stadium in front of a nationally televised audience tonight. Despite the recent hardships that the USC program has gone through, they have not given up on themselves and they continue to play hard.
The week after Lane Kiffin was fired, the Trojans successfully defended their home field with a 38-31 victory over Arizona, it’s first victory under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. In that game back on October 10th, USC’s offense gained 546 yards, collected 27 first downs, converted 6-of-13 third downs and did not commit a single turnover. Embattled quarterback Cody Kessler threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns in that game. Running back Silas Redd led all USC ball carriers with 80 yards.
On top of that, Orgeron’s defense only surrendered 10 first half points to the Wildcats that night. Considering how well this team bounced back after the removal of it’s coach, Notre Dame is expecting the same intensity from USC tonight. There are other factors to consider as well. The biggest factor being that the Men of Troy haven’t lost in South Bend since 2001, they have gone 5-0 since then (Most recent victory was in 2011). The Trojans also haven’t lost consecutive games in this series since the Bob Davie era (They lost three straight between 1999-2001).
Another interesting statistic is that despite the Golden Domers winning two of the last three meetings between these two teams, USC has gone 12-6-1 against Notre Dame since 1994. That includes eight victories in a row between 2002-2009. With recent history on their side the Trojans will have plenty of motivation heading into tonight’s game.
It would take more than USC’s bad luck to work in Notre Dame’s favor in order for Brian Kelly to coach his team to victory tonight. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82