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USC vs. Notre Dame: Building on momentum

The Trojans hope to extend their winning streak at Notre Dame to six games.

October 18, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • Will USC running back Silas Redd make an impact against Notre Dame after rushing for 80 yards in his season debut against Arizona last week?
Will USC running back Silas Redd make an impact against Notre Dame after… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

USC interim Coach Ed Orgeron hopes the momentum continues for the Trojans, who are attempting to extend their winning streak at Notre Dame Stadium to six games. Staff writer Gary Klein examines the story lines:

Carrying over

USC played five tailbacks against Arizona, a scenario that probably won't be repeated against the Fighting Irish because of injuries.

Sophomore Tre Madden, who has started every game, suffered a hamstring injury against Arizona and did not practice this week. Senior Silas Redd made his season debut against Arizona and rushed for 80 yards in 19 carries, including 43 yards in seven consecutive carries to run out the clock.

Sophomore Javorius Allen scored his first two career touchdowns, freshman Justin Davis ran for another and freshman Ty Isaac averaged 12 yards per carry. Isaac practiced sparingly this week because of an apparent injury.

George Atkinson III is Notre Dame's leading rusher with 323 yards and two touchdowns. Cam McDaniel has a team-leading 63 carries for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Amir Carlisle, a third-year sophomore who transferred from USC, has rushed for 178 yards in 38 carries and also has seven receptions.

Leading men

Cody Kessler, USC's sophomore quarterback, has completed 60% of his passes, eight for touchdowns, with four interceptions.

Notre Dame senior Tommy Rees has a 18-6 record in 24 career starts. This season, he has completed 52% of his passes, 13 for touchdowns, with six interceptions.

Rees faces a USC secondary that was torched in the last two games. Junior cornerback Anthony Brown returns to the USC lineup after sitting out five games because of a knee injury.

Caught up

USC could have nearly a full complement of receivers for the first time since the second game of the season.

All-American Marqise Lee, who sat out against Arizona because of a knee injury, practiced this week and has said he would be ready to play. Lee has 30 receptions, one for a touchdown. Freshman Darreus Rogers and senior De'Von Flournoy have returned from ankle injuries, but Victor Blackwell is doubtful because of an ankle injury.

Tight end Xavier Grimble suffered a shoulder injury against Arizona and sat out the second half. He did not practice this week, but made the trip to South Bend.

Notre Dame's TJ Jones has a team-best 33 catches, DaVaris Daniels 25. Both have four touchdown catches. Tight end Troy Niklas, who played at Anaheim Servite High, has 14 catches, four for touchdowns.

Front and center

USC's offensive line played well against Arizona, clearing the way for 249 yards rushing and allowing no sacks.

Lineman Louis Nix III leads a Notre Dame defense that ranks 23rd nationally against the run. Junior Stephon Tuitt and linebacker Prince Shembo each have three sacks. Linebacker Dan Fox is a cornerstone who rarely comes off the field.

Notre Dame's offensive line, led by left tackle Zack Martin has given up only four sacks.

USC's defensive front should get a boost with the return of linebacker Morgan Breslin. J.R. Tavai's 10-tackle performance against Arizona helped convince Orgeron that the Trojans must rotate more players in on defense, so expect Jabari Ruffin, Antwaun Woods and Anthony Sarao to get more snaps.

Could be special

Andre Heidari has made five of eight field-goal attempts, including one from 45 yards against Arizona. Kris Albarado is averaging 39.8 yards per punt and has placed 16 of his 34 kicks inside the 20-yard line.

Notre Dame's Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals against USC last season. Brindza has made eight of 11 attempts, including one from 53 yards. He also has taken over punting duties this season and he is averaging 41.5 yards per kick.

Atkinson returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against USC in 2011.

Twitter: @latimesklein

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