Behind enemy lines: Notre Dame

This year’s installment of the tradition-rich USC-Notre Dame rivalry features two of the more prolific offenses in the country to date.

Despite starting the year 0-2, Notre Dame has rebounded well, vaunting itself into the top 25 ranked offenses in the country. The Irish stand at 22nd in yards per game with 467. While USC has thrived on the passing game so far, Notre Dame features a solid, balanced offensive scheme. Sophomore gunslinger Tommy Rees has the Irish ranked 32nd in the country with 277.8 passing yards per game. By contrast, USC is 25th nationally with 301.5 ypg.

The Notre Dame ground game has also done its part, offering an exceptional compliment to the passing game. The play of California native Cierre Wood (650 yards) and steady senior Jonas Gray (395) have the Fighting Irish ranked 30th nationally in rushing yards per game with 194 per game. USC’s rushing stats pale in comparison to Notre Dame’s, with the Trojans posting just 133.5 rush yards per game, good for 77th in the country.

What does all this mean? Well, as good as USC’s offense has been this season, Notre Dame’s has outshoen the Trojans’ through the first six games. To make matters worse for ‘SC, starting running back Marc Tyler, freshman phenom wide receiver Marqise Lee, and corner back Torin Harris are all recovering from shoulder injuries and remain questionable for Saturday’s contest.

Rees has Notre Dame rolling the past two weeks, guiding the Irish to back-to-back 500 yard performances while tossing 6 touchdowns and no interceptions in the process.

If the Trojans are to pull off a victory in South Bend this weekend, they must limit the production of Notre Dame’s offensive assault. USC is used to shootouts, and another one could be in store this Saturday.