Trojans Piling Up The Midseason Awards Before Battling Notre Dame

Jonathan Daniel

The Trojans have arrived in Indiana and are beginnign their final round of preparations with a light walk-through practice today before taking the field tomorrow night in South Bend. Players have already taken to social media to discuss their excitement for the upcoming rivalry tilt, with most of the discussion focusing around the weather.

Coach Orgeron continues to preach the importance of "one team, one heartbeat" heading into the teams first road trip under new leadership, as once again treats were involved. Players were given cookies by the coaching staff last night and have already decided upon a movie, that of which the staff kept disclosed, to prep for game day.

We now know that Tre Madden and De'Von Flourney have now been downgraded to doubtful, while Marqise Lee and Morgan Breslin both traveled with the team to South Bend which certainly helps their chances of playing. That being said, the battered Trojans have named both starters game-time decisions for the primetime showdown.

While players begin to relax this afternoon and take in the sights around Indiana, the Trojan Marching Band is in full preparation mode for what shood be an equally exciting half time in South Bend for the first time since 2011 when the Trojans pulled off the upset road victory. But first, the USCTMB will take part in the pep rally from the Naval Pier.

In light of the upcoming game, we take a look back at some of the best performances from the Trojans through the first half of the season. Most notably, the play of defensive lineman Leonard Williams and the unheralded contributions from running back Tre Madden, who leads the team in rushing yards and total touchdowns.

Phil Steele's Midseason All-Pac12 Team

First Team Selection: Morgan Breslin DL, Leonard Williams DL

Second Team Selection: Tre Madden RB, Devon Kennard OLB

Third Team Selection: Marqise Lee WR, John Martinez OG, Hayes Pullard LB, Dion Bailey LB

Notre Dame Game Notes

This marks the third time in the last four seasons that neither USC nor Notre Dame enters this matchup ranked in the AP Poll. Prior to that, at least one of these teams was ranked (sometimes both) in eight straight seasons.

•Notre Dame has lost five straight home games to USC, last winning in 2001. Only one team has ever won six straight games AT Notre Dame (Michigan State from 1997-2007).

•Notre Dame's defense is a far cry from last year's unit. In just six games this season, the Fighting Irish have already allowed 153 points. In 13 games a year ago, they only allowed 166 points fueling their undefeated mark.

•USC's defense started fast but has struggled in the last two games. In the first four games, it allowed 11.0 points and 230.5 yards per game. In the last two, it has yielded 46.5 points and 560 yards per game.

Fast Facts For Saturday

The Trojans and Fighting Irish are among only 3 NCAA FBS schools that have never played an FCS (formerly non-Division I-A) opponent since the divisions were established in 1978. Theother school is UCLA, the Trojans' opponent later this season.

This news comes after watching Oregon State (5-1, 3-0) falter at home against FCS opponent Eastern Washington, giving the Pac-12 its first loss against an FCS opponent since Colorado fell just last season to Sacramento State.

Much known for their physicality and aggression, USC's defense currently is 13th nationally in sacks (3.0, second in Pac-12), 15th in rushing defense (107.2, first in Pac-12), 16th in tackles for loss (3.0, second in Pac-12) and 19th in total defense (340.3, second in Pac-12). The defense has also recognized the need for improvement after allowing the most passing yards of the entire season last week in a seven-point victory over Arizona.

The Trojans and Fighting Irish will square on NBC Saturday Night at 4 PM PST. Get your popcorn ready folks, as USC looks to win its sixth straight games in South Bend as both teams sit just outside the nation's top-25 ranks.

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