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Notre Dame Football

ISD Game Predictions: USC

November 25, 2022

It’s Friday again, and that means game prediction time once again.  Notre Dame is looking to extend their win streak this season, and their win streak over the Trojans.  USC would love nothing more than to stop that win streak and put themselves in the playoff hunt with a win.  Which team comes out on top on Saturday?

Mike Frank

My gut is telling me that this is the year USC finally beats Notre Dame.  I’m just not sold Notre Dame has enough talent on defense to slow down a highly-confident and explosive USC offense.  I think USC’s offensive line is better than many think, and I’m very concerned that Notre Dame’s defense won’t be able to disrupt Caleb Williams, and get him on the ground when they do.  However, Al Golden has been in this situation before and seems to always pull the rabbit out of the hat.  

But here is the real key to the game.  How much can Notre Dame score on the USC defense?  I expect USC to score in the low 30s.  Can Drew Pyne and the ND O keep pace with the Trojan offense?  That will be the difference in this game.

My head is telling me to pick USC, but I’m just not sold they’ll be physical enough and disciplined enough to win.

Notre Dame 33, USC 31

Greg Flammang

This is a game where the Irish need to get out of the first quarter tied or with the lead. Falling behind to an offense like USC’s has the potential to take them out of what they want to do offensively and puts more pressure on Drew Pyne to perform. Fortunately, the trends work in Notre Dame’s favor here. 

In their last four games, Notre Dame has been tied or ahead in all of them. For their part, in the last four USC has been tied in one and down in three. Should this happen again, the chances of a Notre Dame victory go way up. 

The Irish defense has been surging late, but Caleb Williams presents a challenge they have not seen. He can win even when the play is failing around him. This is the type of game Al Golden was brought in to win, with his NFL pedigree. It paid off against Ohio State, North Carolina, and Clemson. Notre Dame needs it to pay off one more time. 

Offensively the line needs to lead the way, the Irish don’t have a chance without it, and keeping the ball safe is a must. USC’s defense has lived off of turnovers all season, they have been leaky otherwise. Run the ball and ask for 2-3 big time throws from Drew Pyne to carry the day is the formula. 

And finally, can Marcus Freeman bring out a performance in his team against a ranked USC  Irish fans haven’t seen since 1992? I believe he can. 

Notre Dame 27, USC 23

Jamie Uyeyama 

This Oklahoma team has a scary good offense and scary bad defense. 

Whoops, did I say Oklahoma? I meant USC. This Lincoln Riley team is very similar to those OU teams he took the College Football Playoff so you can understand the confusion.

Caleb Williams is a special player and this offense is as good as there is in college football. I think it's an even more difficult challenge than the one Notre Dame had against Ohio State. In saying that, the Irish defense is a lot better now than they were in week one. I think they will be up to the challenge and limit USC as much as possible.

I think the USC defense is going to have a tough time keeping Notre Dame's offense off the field as well. I know the recipe the Irish need to cook up to win this game and I think they have ingredients to get it done. 

The Irish dominate the time of possession and do just enough to get to Williams to have a mostly frustrating day. 

Notre Dame 31, USC 24

Christian McCollum

The Irish's most complete offensive game isn't quite enough against a high-powered Trojans offense that hits its stride in the second half.

Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison prove to be the difference-makers, connecting on several chunk plays and a pair of touchdowns after intermission. The Irish defense holds up quite well in the first half as Ben Morrison continues to show why he's the best freshman cornerback in the country.

Notre Dame's offense is as sharp as it's been all day and surprisingly comes out and finds rhythm in the passing game. By the time the Trojans adjust, Notre Dame has answers and leans back on its dominant running game.

Drew Pyne throws for 250 yards and Audric Estime and Logan Diggs combine for 250 total yards, but Notre Dame is unable to come up with the final touchdown it needs in the fourth quarter.

USC 35, Notre Dame 31

Matt Freeman

The streak continues. Lincoln Riley's introduction to the Notre Dame rivalry goes about how you'd expect. Notre Dame uses its physicality to stop the Trojans on offense and pounds them into submission on the ground.

Audric Estime gives a Robert Hughes performance as it's almost not fair in the fourth quarter as he runs for 68 yards in the final 12 minutes.

Benjamin Morrison puts a stamp on it with a pick six. 

Notre Dame 30, USC 23

Andrew Mentock

USC hasn’t seen an all-around defense on par with Notre Dame’s this season. Even when the Trojans faced a quality pass defense against Oregon State, which allows 6.1 yards per pass attempt, the offense struggled. QB Caleb Williams threw for just 180 yards while completing 44.4% of his passes in a 17-14 win. 

I don’t expect Williams to play this poorly on Saturday, but I do think the Irish force him to make some uncharacteristic mistakes. 

This game is close early, but the Irish offense allows them to control the pace of the game by running for 275+ plus, and Notre Dame picks another top-10 victory. 

Notre Dame 34, USC 28

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