The rivalry, which has been going strong since 1926, is one of the most anticipated college football games of the season. This season will be no different, but for the Trojans, it is a game that necessitates a victory. At 3-2, USC is in danger of falling to .500 and may not recover given the difficult schedule on the horizon.
For Notre Dame, the Irish are looking to use the contest as a turning point heading into a bye week. The Irish have a tough schedule approaching as well, and a victory over the Trojans could instill a good deal of confidence going forward.
USC Trojans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: Notre Dame (-10.5 at -112)
Over/Under: 59 (O: -115 | U: -105)
USC will be the fourth opponent Notre Dame faces whose offense averages over 400 yards of total offense per game this season. So far, the Irish are 2-1 allowing a high of 23 points.
But USC’s offense is a different breed and got some favorable news this week. Backup quarterback Kedon Slovis, who had been starting in the wake of an injury to starter J.T. Daniels, has been cleared to start Saturday.
Slovis cleared the concussion protocol and will assume his place as the starter. With Slovis under center, the Trojans have successfully been moving the ball well through the air. He has completed nearly 78 percent of his passes this season, second-best in the nation.
Meanwhile, a trio of running backs has allowed USC to throw different dimensions into its offense. Vavae Malepeai, Markese Stepp, and Stephan Carr have all seen a fair amount of carries this season and have helped power a mighty Trojans offense.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame allows a little over 300 yards of total offense per game this season, including about 150 yards rushing. The Irish haven’t struggled to defend the run, but it has had its share of issues and inconsistency. For example, Notre Dame allowed just 4 total rushing yards against Virginia, followed up by 118 yards against Bowling Green last week.
With a strong backfield like USC, the Irish will really have to bear down and prepare to face three different styles of runners.
Offensively, Notre Dame will counter with quarterback Ian Book and his 169.2 passing efficiency. He’s thrown for only 1,254 yards in five games — not eye-popping — but has completed 65.5 percent of his passes and 13 touchdowns.
Notre Dame has been an under team while USC has not been strong against the spread. Both bode poorly for the Trojans. It’s a game that could produce a matchup nightmare for Notre Dame with a three-headed monster in the USC backfield.
Pick: Even if USC doesn’t win or cover, they’ll give USC quite the game. But in this case, even in South Bend, the Trojans could cover the spread in a game that will hit the over. Notre Dame wins it 38-30 in the end, but taking USC against the spread and with the over should turn out well.