Can the Irish keep their current winning streak alive?
Yes! The Irish win their third game in a row in beating USC 20-16. The Irish turn things around in the final three weeks of the season. A couple of things go differently and this very well could have been a nine or ten win season.
Can the Irish defense keep up their mastery of the last three games?
Yes! The Irish gave up a running touchdown to Mitch Mustain in the third quarter, but held the Trojans to three field goals the rest of the game.
Can the Irish offense continue to improve with Tommy Rees at quarterback?
Yes! I know there was three interceptions by Rees. However, the continued development of Tommy Rees at quarterback is a strong sign the offense is headed in the right direction. The play that really stood out by Rees was the touchdown pass to Duval Kamara. The play, originally designed to be a fade to Michael Floyd, was doubled down on by the Trojans and Rees made the call to check off and go to Kamara for the touchdown.
Will the Irish go after the Trojans with their passing game?
While the Irish did run the ball 32 times against USC, they also passed it 34 times. Weather conditions and Rees showing signs of being a freshman had the Irish dialing up the running game more often in the later stages of the game and the offensive line answered the bell.
Who will step up for the Irish and make the play that makes a difference in the outcome of the game?
It would be easy to pick out Michael Floyd for his 11-catch, 86-yard performance. However, the running of Robert Hughes (11 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown), along with the play of the offensive line really stood out. Also, have to give credit to the Irish defense for another top performance.