Notre Dame vs. USC - October 15, 2005
Yes, I have been busy and haven't posted in awhile. But, as you can see from the post prior (below) this one, we are approaching an event that is very important to my confidence and well being - the Irish versus the Trojans. This game has turned into a measuring stick, chance for humiliation, and rivalry game all in one.
I am very excited this year because our team is no longer making mistakes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the game, as our new coaches are successfully planning games based on our opponents' strengths and weaknesses.
How does one beat USC? A better, more pertinent question is how CAN Notre Dame beat USC. I think the following needs to happen.
1. The IRISH offense must put 35 on the board.
We need to score 5 touchdowns to give ourselves a CHANCE. USC will score 28 in their sleep against most all teams, so we need to give ourselves a chance to be in the game in the 4th quarter.
2. Notre Dame must win the Special Teams game.
This is a huge area in every game that often goes unnoticed until the 4th quarter. Special Teams points are always nice, but more importantly our coverages must be perfect to prevent USC from gaining large chunks of yards. DJ Fitzpatrick must have a great game and we must put USC as far back in the field position battle as possible.
3. The IRISH must WIN the time of possession.
This stat is as important to our defense as any, in my mind. Luckily we have a football coach that has engineered some of the most backbreaking and lengthy drives in recent football memory (i.e., first drive of the second half for the Patriots in last years Super Bowl against the Eagles) We must have great balance and have a few 12 to 15 play drives that eat the clock up. The more time the Irish have the ball, the fewer plays and chances USC's offense will have. 3 and outs for the Irish offense will be very crippling to our chances of winning. Giving USC 3 to 5 fewer possessions a game will be key to supporting our defense.
4. The Irish must limit USC's big plays.
We must make them earn their score with long drives. 50 Yard bombs or runs by Bush could make for a long day for the Irish. The Irish defense has not been blitzing, and has been giving themselves more defenders around the ball, hoping for mistakes by the other team.
Of course a positive turnover battle, and big plays for the Irish will be needed. These are given factors, and the above were things that must occur if both teams play turnover free football.
My prediction. Since I think the Irish offense will work efficiently and eat up the clock, and since I think our defense will slow down the Trojans and wait for a big turnover, the Irish will be in the game late. The game will come down to one final possession for the Irish, needing a touchdown on an 80 plus yard drive with 1:30 and one timeout. Yep, you guessed it. We score late, and its going to be a damn good time. Pete Carroll will be very upset, but who fucking cares.
IRISH 38 TROJANS 35
I just ordered my shirt.