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USC vs Notre Dame Players and Matchups to Watch

NCAA Football: Miami at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As this roller coaster season comes to an end, the USC Trojans football team heads into their final game of the season against their long awaited rival the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Trojans have been one of the hottest teams in the country as they enter this game on a seven game winning streak. Despite the team clicking on all cylinders, there is a lot riding on this game and the Trojans hope for a little help to play in the Pac-12 title game.

DeShone Kizer

The Fighting Irish have struggled all season to stay consistent as they are on the way to their first losing season since 2007. Kizer has been one of the lone bright spots for Notre Dame all year. The junior quarterback is in the top 25 nationally in passing touchdowns and total offense. He is a projected first round draft pick in the upcoming NFL draft due to his good arm strength and ability run if needed. If Notre Dame wants to have a chance to win this game they will need a big game from Kizer. As USC’s defense has found there rhythm especially in the secondary, Kizer might be have to use his legs more to help move the chains. His 546 rushing yards are second on the team.

USC Secondary vs Notre Dame Receivers

USC boast some talented athletes in there secondary that make it dangerous for any quarterback to throw against. They are led by Thorpe finalist Adoree’ Jackson who is one of the most explosive corners in the nation. Sophomore Iman Marshall has become one of the best corners in the Pac-12 due to his physically and tough demeanor. Notre Dame’s receiving core is led by Equanimeous St. Brown and Tori Hunter Jr. St. Brown is 6-5 and will be a tough matchup for anyone who lines up against him. He leads the team with 45 catches, 777 yards, and eight touchdowns. Hunter Jr is second on the team with 38 catches and 521 yards. Quarterback DeShone Kizer will be looking for his top two targets against a secondary who be looking to make big plays.

Special Teams

Both teams head into this game with very explosive punt returners that could definitely change the outcome of this game USC has All-American Adoree’ Jackson who is always looking to take a return to the house. He is the all-time leader in school history for kick-off return yards. Jackson is 11th in the nation in punt return yards with 236 yards and has one touchdown. Notre Dame has their own weapon in the return game with CJ Sanders. Sanders is 15th nation in kickoff return yards with 657 yards and two touchdowns. Punters on each teams will try their best to keep the ball away from these returners all game.