Five Questions: USC

Week Seven offers a big challenge for Brian Kelly's team as the Irish host long-time rival USC. After a blowout win against Air Force and a week off, Irish fans are ready to see their team back on the field. Can the Trojans spoil the party expected for this week's special game?

Notre Dame returns to the field after a bye week to heal bumps and bruises, and to prepare for what many are describing as the season's biggest game.

While the Irish look ready to take their second straight vs. USC, Lane Kiffin knows his team must leave South Bend with a victory to silence those who doubt he has the program headed in the right direction...Which leads up to our five questions/points of interest for the Irish faithful to consider before Saturday night's kick-off.

Question One: Brian Kelly has his offense running the ball with authority. Will this continue against the Trojans?

The Irish are rushing for an average of 194 yards per contest this season. For them to have the game many expect against the Trojans this must continue.

Question Two: USC's offensive line has a mixture of youth and top talent. Can Aaron Lynch and the defensive front put pressure on Matt Barkley?

Barkley is not having a bad season, but if the Irish can get pressure on him there is a better chance he'll add to his mistake totals as seen a couple of weeks ago against Arizona State when the Trojans signal caller was sacked twice and intercepted twice.

Question Three: A night game on the big stage will have the Irish pumped. Will Notre Dame come out too high and stumble early?

The Irish are used to playing in front of big crowds. However, adding the lights will take it to another level and we could see some of the younger Irish players come out a little too hyped up. If this happens there is a greater chance for mistakes.

Question Four: Special teams look to be improving as the season progresses. Will Notre Dame get a better overall performance in this key area of the game?

While the Irish do not need to be spectacular on special teams they do need to be solid and play mistake free. In big games this is always a factor and Saturday night it could be the most important part of the game.

Question Five: With over 50 recruits and 16 of them being on official visits. Did Notre Dame's coaching staff bite off more than they can handle?

It has been well documented the number of official and unofficial visitors the Irish will have for Saturday night. While having a handful of recruits taking official visits is normal, having 16 of them on a game weekend is one of the highest totals we've seen. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say about their visit. Top Stories