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USC Trojans Football 2016: Keys to the Notre Dame Game

The Trojans need to set the tone early with a balanced but creative attack against the Fighting Irish.

NCAA Football: Southern California at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Establishing the Run

The Trojans need to set the tone early this game by taking advantage of Notre Dame’s 76th ranked rush defense, who are allowing a whopping 180.2 yards per game on the ground. In USC’s 36-14 victory over UCLA, they racked up 260 yards on ground, utilizing various runners throughout the game. Expect to see a heavy dosage of Ronald Jones with the expectation that he will have a similar performance as he did against the Bruins last week. Jones was the main catalyst in the running game last week, scampering for 121 yards while adding 2 touchdowns. Establishing the run early will set the tone and spring the Trojans forward this week against the Fighting Irish.

Utilize Exotic Plays

Running the ball early and often can soften up a defense which leads to vulnerability. A frail defense can spoil the moral of the team, and that is when you throw in that play you worked on in fall camp that you’d never thought you would use. Double reverses, flea flickers, double screens and double passes could be the knockout punch early in the game. The best situation for the Trojans to dial one up is after they receive the ball from a turnover, or after a huge run. With all of the academic violation talk, Notre Dame’s room for error is very small before they give up on the game. SC should really try to capitalize on their momentum and win streak to capture a victory and a possible PAC-12 championship birth.

Cut Down on the Turnovers

For those of you who have been reading the “Keys to the Game,” I am going to sound like a broken record here. The Trojans need to TAKE CARE OF THE FOOTBALL, this is the only concern fans have consistently had throughout this streak. As impressive as the win was last week against UCLA, they still lost the turnover battle. Giving away the ball can make this game a lot closer than it needs to be.

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