This rivalry dates back to 1929. In that first meeting Notre Dame beat USC 13-12. Notre Dame won the following year as well in 1930. USC took the next two match-ups in 1931 and 1932. A lot of things have changed since those first four meetings, but what hasn’t changed is the competitiveness of this storied rivalry.
Notre Dame leads the series 46-36-5 (.561). Last year when they met the Irish took down the Trojans 24-17. This was the second consecutive year that Notre Dame has beaten USC. They are still a long way away from the record for most consecutive wins in the series. Notre Dame holds that record with 11 straight wins from 1983-1993.
This year’s game will be held in South Bend with a 7:30pm start time. The 9th ranked Irish enter this contest on a two game win streak and currently hold a record of 4-1. Their only loss of the season coming to #3 Georgia in Athens. For the Trojans they currently sit at 3-2. USC has already played three ranked opponents this season, beating two of them, #23 Stanford and #10 Utah. The first loss for USC was in week three on the road against BYU and the second in their most recent game at #17 Washington.
Ian Book will once again be under center for the Irish, but the Trojans haven’t had as much stability at the quarterback position, mostly due to injuries. USC coach Clay Helton confirmed on Tuesday that quarterback Kedon Slovis has been medically cleared to return and will start. Slovis was injured early in USC’s fourth game, against Utah.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is 6-3 all-time against the Trojans. On Kelly’s radio show this week he was asked if it is easier to have players mentally prepared when facing a rival. Kelly responded with “I think it’s a challenge each week. You know there’s so many distractions today for 18 to 21 year olds. To get them where you need them to be, it requires the whole week”. Anytime you play USC you’ll have to be mentally strong for all four quarters to come out with the win. Another win here will really help strengthen the Irish’s chance of another College Football Playoff appearance.