USC vs. Notre Dame prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Trojans and Fighting Irish.
When: Saturday, Nov. 26 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
TV Broadcast: ABC
The wins just keep on coming for USC (8-3). After opening the season 1-3, the Trojans have strung together seven consecutive wins and now sit in second place in the Pac-12 South division behind Colorado. On Saturday, Clay Helton’s team took on rival UCLA and handed the Bruins a 36-14 loss.
As for Notre Dame (4-7), it has been an ugly, ugly season for Brian Kelly’s team. One week after the Fighting Irish registered a 44-6 victory over Army, they fell to Virginia Tech, in South Bend, to the tune of 34-31.
The storied all-time series between the Trojans and Fighting Irish still favors Notre Dame, 46-35-5. The Irish won last year’s meeting in South Bend, 41-31.
What To Know About USC
During halftime of USC’s win over UCLA, Helton acknowledged that his young quarterback, Sam Darnold, had just as many moments of genius as he did mistakes. It was an up-and-down performance, but it turned out okay for the redshirt freshman. Darnold completed 25-of-36 passes for 267 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. De’Quan Hampton caught both touchdowns and ended up with three grabs for 51 yards.
Ronald Jones II proved once again how dangerous he can be on the ground, though. The Trojans’ tailback exploded for 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Justin Davis added 48 yards on 15 carries.
What to Know About Notre Dame
DeShone Kizer had an average showing in the Irish’s loss to Virginia Tech. He connected on 16-of-33 throws for 235 yards and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was caught by Chris Finke, who had just the one catch for 31 yards. Miles Boykin also had one grab for 18 yards, and that also resulted in a touchdown.
In the running game, Josh Adams really packed a punch with 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Kizer added 69 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Offense: USC – Darnold has had a spectacular season, and he has a ton of chemistry with JuJu Smith-Schuster and his other weapons.
Defense: USC – The Trojans are allowing 21.7 points per game (No. 24), and Notre Dame gives up 26.3 points per game (No. 55).
Special Teams: USC – Adoree’ Jackon is explosive in the return game.
Coaching: USC – Helton isn’t the one on the hot seat right now.
Matchup To Watch
Sam Darnold vs. DeShone Kizer
This matchup has two elusive quarterbacks, and both have strong arms. The game will come down to whichever one has a bigger game. If Notre Dame collapses the pocket and gets Darnold moving laterally, the Irish’s linebackers will have to close in a hurry because he’s shown an ability to improvise once the protection breaks down. The same goes for Kizer, but USC will have to guard against his ability to pick up yards when he pulls the ball down.
Spread: USC -17
Over/Under: No line as of publication
USC vs. Notre Dame Prediction
Darnold is going to get his first taste of the USC-Notre Dame rivalry, and he’s going to get his first win over the Irish as the Trojans’ starting quarterback, too. Darnold will hook up with Daniel Imatorbhebhe for a couple of touchdowns, and Smith-Schuster will catch one as well. Kizer will do all he can, but the Irish will go down without a real fight.
USC vs. Notre Dame Score Prediction: USC 45, Notre Dame 28