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Game 7: USC vs. Notre Dame

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USC (5-1) at Notre Dame (4-2)

Notre Dame Stadium at 7:30 p.m. eastern on NBC

Te'o-ND-USC.jpgIrish to Watch: Junior LB Manti Te'o

Rated the nation's top linebacker, Te'o admits he was nearly a Trojan before changing his mind on National Signing Day.  Now, he leads Notre Dame in tackles (54), tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (3.0).  He will keep Matt Barkley's mind racing as he switches between dropping in coverage and attacking the line of scrimmage.

Click the link to learn more about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish:
release_20111017aaa.pdf

3 Keys

One-Dimensional

Halfway through the season, the Irish feature one of the most balanced offenses in the country with the 29th ranked passing attack and the 31st best ground game.  The Trojans' defense has been stout against the run (19th), but weak versus top passers (105th).  The best bet is to stop RBs Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray, which will force inconsistent sophomore QB Tommy Rees to win the game for Notre Dame.

Spread the Rock

The Notre Dame coaches have had two weeks to prepare for the vaunted Matt Barkley to Robert Woods aerial combo.  Early on at least, all Irish eyes will be glaring at USC's #2.  Assuming Marqise Lee is good to go, Barkley will have room to disperse the pigskin to several other dangerous weapons before coming back to Woods in crunch time.

All About the Ball

The turnover dam broke open last week, which is just in time to capitalize on Notre Dame's Achilles' heel.  Brian Kelly's team would be undefeated if not for 15 giveaways and a -7 turnover margin.  Of course, the Trojans were snowed under by a barrage of turnovers in their only loss.  Win the ball...win the day.  

USC has won 4 straight at Notre Dame, including a 38-0 shutout led by Stanley Havili in 2007.
Havili-ND-07-SH.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

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Let's Beat the Irish! FIGHT ON!

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