The Citrus Bowl
Notre Dame plays an independent schedule in football. The Irish, this season, have beaten
Southern California and Michigan State by big margins. Yet, they have lost to Georgia and were thumped by Miami. In the losses to Georgia and Miami it was obvious the Irish had problems with squads with great team speed.
In the Miami game, the Notre Dame offensive line had trouble getting to the Hurricane defense at points of attack. Notre Dame had 109 yards rushing as a team in the contest. Miami had five sacks in the game.
In the Georgia contest the Irish were held to 55 yards on the ground. Georgia sacked the Notre Dame quarterback three times in the meeting.
In their big win over Michigan State, 38-18, they gave up 345 yards through the air, but they rushed for 182 yards against the Spartans. Notre Dame was outgained 496 to 355 in total yards against Michigan State. However, the Irish took advantage of three Spartan turnovers, scoring three touchdowns off of those turnovers. It was the difference in the game.
In the 49-14 thrashing of USC, Notre Dame ran for 377 yards, dominating the Trojan defensive front. The Irish are a solid rushing team and a bad passing team.
Notre Dame has rushed for 3349 yards this season, averaging 6.0 yards per run. They have piled up most of these gaudy rushing statistics against opponents named Miami of Ohio, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Temple, Boston College, and North Carolina State.
USC was an exception. Irish Junior running back Josh Adams ran for 190 yards against the Trojans. He averaged 10.1 yards per carry in the contest, scoring three touchdowns. Junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush rushed for 106 yards and scored two touchdowns against Southern California. Adams and Wimbush are the top rushers on the team. Adams has rushed for 1386 yards and nine touchdowns for the season. He averages 115 yards per game, with 7.3 yards per carry. Wimbush has rushed for 765 yards with 14 touchdowns. They have accounted for more than half of the Irish offensive touchdowns. Notre Dame has scored 35 touchdowns on the ground and nine through the air.
Left tackle Mike McGlinchey, a graduate student, and senior left guard Quenton Nelson are both All-Americans. They helped the Irish rush for an average of 279 yards per game this year, seventh in the nation. Four of the starting offensive linemen are seniors.
The Irish have a bad passing attack. Junior wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown is the Notre Dame leading receiver with 468 yards and four touchdowns. Chase Claypool, the second leading receiver is injured and will not play. Kevin Stepherson, the third leading receiver has been suspended, and will not play.
Defensively, Notre Dame is very active at the linebacking positions. Junior Te’von Coney leads the team with 99 tackles, 50 unassisted, and 13 tackles for losses (tfls) with three sacks. Senior linebacker Nyles Morgan is second on the team with 83 tackles, 34 solos, and 6.5 tfls with one sack. Senior linebacker Drue Tranquill was third on the squad in stops with 74, 40 unassisted, and eight tfls. Junior defensive lineman Jerry Tillery, from Shreveport, has 8.5 tfls, including four sacks. He helped the Irish hold USC to 78 yards rushing in the Notre Dame win over the Trojans.
The Purple and Gold can expect a tough grinding game from the Irish. It is a winnable game, but LSU will have to earn it.