The Trojans have been road warriors for the past three years, with eight-straight wins away from the Coliseum during that span.
USC hasn’t lost a true road matchup during the regular season since its’ last trip to South Bend in 2019. It just so happens that the Trojans will be invading Notre Dame Stadium this Saturday to renew its’ rivalry with the Fighting Irish. Anticipation is high for both sides, considering the rivalry was on hiatus in 2020.
Quarterback Kedon Slovis stated at Pac-12 Media Day this past July, that he embraced the boos from the crowd and took it personal the last time USC visited the legendary venue. His quotes leaked out to Notre Dame fans afterwards and they’ve been waiting for the signal-caller’s return.
After all, the Trojans have lost four of their last five meetings to the Fighting Irish, including the last three. USC (3-3) is approaching the battle unranked, meanwhile Notre Dame (5-1) is No. 13 in the country. The Trojans are coming off a double-digit loss at home, and the Fighting Irish are coming off a bye-week.
Brian Kelly is a future hall of famer, and Donte Williams has the interim tag behind his name. However, both coaches understand the tradition and magnitude of the rivalry. The Jeweled Shillelagh is one of College football’s most coveted trophies. So it’s no surprise why these two teams put it all on the line in order to take home the hardware.
Notre Dame had won 26-straight home games until Cincinnati pulled off the upset earlier this month. Now Kelly’s team will try to protect the house for the remaining four games. For some reason the Trojans seem to play their best football away from home and they always feed off the crowd.
Motivation shouldn’t be an issue for Williams’ squad either. The Trojans are going to try their best to extend the road winning streak to nine games.
Slovis put together a great performance in South Bend in 2019. The Arizona native completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts, for 255 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also coming off a 400-yard passing performance in last Saturday’s loss to Utah.
Notre Dame is coming off a gutsy road victory over Virginia Tech. Kelly played both Jack Coan and Tyler Buchner at quarterback in that clash. Regardless of the matter, the two combined for 221 yards through the air, one touchdown and two interceptions. It would be a complete shocker if Kelly didn’t utilize his team’s bye-week.
There’s no denying something has to give. College football fanatics want to see USC’s star wideout Drake London match wits with Notre Dame’s All-American safety Kyle Hamilton. The Trojans’ defense better have an answer for the Fighting Irish’s star tight end Michael Mayer.
The game will come down to which team can dominate in the trenches. USC has an experienced defensive line and Notre Dame has some youth sprinkled across the big boys up front. Both offenses should be able to put up some points.
The Trojans’ defense will have a daunting task of slowing down stud rusher Kyren Williams, considering the unit ranks 70th in the FBS in total yards allowed. Notre Dame’s defense won’t have it much easier either, especially in the secondary. The Fighting Irish rank 86th nationally in passing yards allowed, and the Trojans’ offense has a lot of firepower.
The battle under the lights will likely come down to which offense has the ball last. Still, the team that makes less mistakes will come out victorious in one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend.