With quarterback Matt Barkley out with a shoulder injury, USC backup quarterback Max Wittek reportedly guaranteed the Trojans a victory Saturday over No. 1 ranked Notre Dame at Los Angeles Coliseum.
Reuters Senior linebacker Manti Te'o leads the Irish with 13 sacks this season, and has them on the verge of a national championship.
Senior linebacker Manti Te'o leads the Irish with 13 sacks this season, and has them on the verge of a national championship.
The Fighting Irish are 11-0 for the first time since 1989 and can earn a first national title game berth with a win over rival USC. As of now, if they win, it is believed Notre Dame would face No. 4 Alabama for the title.
Seen to have an outside chance at a lesser bowl game, let alone a national championship, Notre Dame have shocked the country with the nation's best defense. Led by senior linebacker and Heisman candidate Manti Te’o Notre Dame has let up only 10.1 points per game, are sixth in total yards allowed, and fifth in rushing.
After surviving a 29-26 triple overtime marathon against Pittsburgh, the Irish continued their unbeaten streak allowing just six points to Boston College, and shutout Wake Forest 38-0 last week. Notre Dame totaled 584 yards against Wake, and quarterback Everett Golson tossed three touchdowns and 346 yards, with running back Cierre Wood tallying 150 rushing yards, most coming on his 68-yard touchdown burst in the first quarter.
The Trojans were supposed to have the season Notre Dame is having this year, but at 7-4 USC has lost three of their lost four games, including last week’s 38-28 loss to UCLA for the Pac-12 South title.
Barkley returned for his senior year rather than entering the NFL draft, so he could lead the Trojans to a national title, but instead USC’s best player has been receiver Marquis Lee. He’s amassed 107 catches for a nation-leading 1,605 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Last week against the Bruins, Lee snagged nine catches for 158 yards and a touchdown, but USC’s three turnovers ultimately decided the game.
With Barkley injuring his throwing shoulder, redshirt freshman Wittick will fill in against the Irish, and for the season he’s gone 8-for-9 for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Saturday will be Wittick's first career start, and he doesh have history on his side. The Trojans have won nine out of the their last 10 meetings against Notre Dame. The Irish last won in 2010.
Prediction: Wittick will have difficulty against Te'o and the Irish defense, but Lee will make enough plays to keep USC in the game. Still, as long as Golson avoids turnovers, Notre Dame should win a very tight game.
Predicted Score: Notre Dame 24, USC 17
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