No. 3 Notre Dame looks to stay unbeaten vs rival USC
No. 3 Notre Dame (11-0, No. 3 CFP) at Southern California (5-6), 8 p.m. EST (ABC).
Line: Notre Dame by 10½.
Series record: Notre Dame leads 47-37-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Fighting Irish can lock up a spot in the College Football Playoff, ideally avoiding No. 1 Alabama (No. 1 CFP) in the semifinals, by completing their 10th undefeated regular season since 1945. The Trojans must win to become bowl eligible and avoid becoming the fourth USC team since 1962 to finish with a losing record.
Notre Dame RB Dexter Williams vs. USC’s rush defense. Williams has run for at least 142 yards and one touchdown in four of the seven games he has played this season. The senior, who has seven runs of 30 yards or longer, now faces a Trojans defense that allowed 289 yards rushing to UCLA’s Joshua Kelley in its last game. USC has given up 200 yards on the ground in three of its past five games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Notre Dame: DE Julian Okwara. The junior defensive lineman leads the Irish with 10½ tackles for loss, including 4½ sacks in his past four games.
USC: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. The freshman receiver leads the Trojans with 50 receptions for 656 yards. St. Brown’s older brother, Equanimeous, played for Notre Dame from 2015-17.
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame QB Ian Book ranks second in the FBS with a 72.6 completion percentage. . USC is 4-10-1 against a Notre Dame team without a loss or tie. . Irish K Justin Yoon has made 57 career field goals, tied with Kyle Brindza for most in school history. . USC WR Michael Pittman Jr. has 23 receptions for 377 yards and five touchdowns in his past four games. Earlier in the week, he announced plans to return for his senior year. . The home team has won each of the past five games in the series for the Jeweled Shillelagh. … USC hadn’t lost in 19 straight games at the Coliseum under coach Clay Helton until losing its last two in a row. … Helton’s status with the Trojans is unclear one year after winning the Pac-12, with angry fans agitating for his firing. Helton has a contract through 2023, but USC already has its first six-loss regular season since 2000, the final season before Pete Carroll took over.