Notre Dame Football: Silas Redd

Notre Dame prediction: Week 7 vs. USC

October, 18, 2013
Another must-win for the Irish against a Trojans squad playing with house money.

When USC has the ball: Tre Madden is doubtful and Silas Redd is coming off his first game of the season after a meniscus tear. The Irish's front seven gets Sheldon Day back but loses Jarrett Grace for the season. It needs to generate the same kind of pass rush and play with the reckless abandon it did two weeks ago against Arizona State, when it notched six sacks and made life difficult for Taylor Kelly. USC has two extremely talented receivers in Nelson Agholor and Marqise Lee, who is expected to play, and Notre Dame's corners need to tackle well and limit the big plays, the way they did in last year's win in L.A.

When Notre Dame has the ball: Continue to pound the rock up the middle. If ever there were a game in which the Irish's advantage in the trenches should show itself, this one is it. Notre Dame is stronger and deeper than USC, and it should try to pick up where it left off the last two games as it builds a run game and takes some pressure off Tommy Rees, who has struggled in his last three games and must protect the ball better than he did against Oklahoma and ASU.

Intangible: Notre Dame is coming off a bye and is playing its third home night game in as many years after a 21-year absence from prime-time home affairs. But the Irish are also favored and must essentially win out to get a BCS bowl berth, and they have not beaten USC at home since 2001. The Trojans are playing their second game under interim coach Ed Orgeron and came out firing in his debut against Arizona. This is really the third straight game USC is playing Notre Dame when it has nothing to lose, as it was banned from the postseason in 2011 and was already a four-loss team during the 2012 meeting. The Trojans are talented, though, and capable of making the Irish pay for any gaffes they might make.

Prediction: Notre Dame 24, USC 13. The Irish finally play within themselves, take care of the football and control the game from start to finish against a team it is capable of doing that to.
Mel Kiper Jr. is taking the week to look at 2014 NFL draft prospects by position groups. Not surprisingly, Notre Dame makes its presence felt at the defensive end spot.

Kiper lists Stephon Tuitt as his No. 2 defensive end prospect for this draft class, pending Tuitt's decision on the NFL following this fall. He loves the junior's burst, and he says that, combined with nose guard Louis Nix, Tuitt can help the Irish form a scary defensive front this season.

Right behind Tuitt? That would be fellow ballyhooed 2011 recruit Aaron Lynch, now at USF. Kiper sees Lynch as a matchup nightmare this season, which is hardly a surprise considering he will be playing in the Big East two years after notching 5.5 sacks as a true freshman against Notre Dame's schedule in 2011.

Jadeveon Clowney tops the list, which should be a foregone conclusion at this point considering most analysts were in agreement that the South Carolina star would have been the No. 1 overall selection in this past month's draft.

Kiper this week has also looked at top-five receivers , top-five running backs and top-five safeties , many of whom -- Marqise Lee, Silas Redd, Damien Williams, Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards — Notre Dame will see during the 2013 season.

Did you know? Notre Dame at USC

November, 23, 2012
As always, hats off to the folks from ESPN Stats & Information, along with both schools' sports information departments, for these tidbits.
  • Notre Dame has allowed a touchdown on 6.7 percent of its opponents’ possessions, the lowest percentage in the nation. Red zone defense has been key for the Irish, allowing a touchdown on 24.1 percent of their opponents’ red zone drives, the lowest percentage for any FBS team in the past eight seasons. Overall, Notre Dame's opponents have seven touchdowns and five turnovers in 29 red zone possessions.
  • USC has scored a touchdown on 64.6 percent of its red-zone possessions, 39th in the nation. The Trojans have scored a touchdown on 29.2 percent of their goal-to-go rushes, tied for 86th nationally. Notre Dame has allowed one touchdown and minus-31 rushing yards on 18 goal-to-go rushes. Every other team in the nation has allowed at least three such touchdowns.
  • Notre Dame is the only team that has not allowed a touchdown drive longer than 75 yards. Every other FBS team has allowed at least two.
  • The Irish have allowed 14 plays of 25 yards or more, tied for second-fewest nationally. They have allowed one 25-yard touchdown, tied with Florida and Alabama for the fewest in the country.
  • Everett Golson has completed 70.8 percent of his passes thrown 10 yards or longer in his past two games after completing 44 percent of those throws in his first eight games. Four different receivers have at least two catches on a throw of that distance over the past two weeks. T.J. Jones has six catches on seven targets.
  • Marqise Lee has more receiving yards (821) in his last four games than 52 FBS teams during that time span. Lee has gained more yards after the catch (837) this season than any player from a BCS school and leads the nation with eight 100-yard receiving games. Notre Dame’s opponents are averaging 68.4 yards after the catch per game and have allowed just one player to gain 100 yards in a game this season (Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma). Lee has five more catches and 264 more receiving yards than the Irish's entire receiving corps. Lee has gained at least 100 yards receiving in eight of his 11 games, including five straight dating back to a victory over Colorado. Notre Dame has not a 100-yard receiving game from a receiver this season.
  • Robert Woods entered the season on the Biletnikoff Watch List after leading USC with 111 catches and 1,292 receiving yards last season. But Lee has emerged as USC’s clear No. 1 receiver, gaining more yards after the catch (837) than Woods has total yards (721). Woods is not getting downfield with the same consistency as last season, as he has 12 catches and four touchdowns on 31 pass attempts thrown 15 yards or longer downfield. Last season, he had 20 such catches and seven touchdowns on 42 pass attempts of that distance.
  • USC is averaging 160.5 rushing yards per game and has gained 10 or more yards on 16.6 percent of its rush attempts. Curtis McNeal has filled in nicely for an injured Silas Redd, gaining 324 yards in USC’s past two games. He will face a Notre Dame defense that has allowed just three running backs to rush for 80 or more yards this season.

Irish lunch links

August, 1, 2012
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