Five Answers: USC

Notre Dame took the field Saturday night with glittering helmets and artificial noise out of a new sound system. However, what the Irish lacked was the disciplined, mistake free football they had played in the weeks leading up to the big game. We asked five questions going into the game against the Trojans; now we have the answers.

The Notre Dame faithful is still feeling the effects of the disappointment that came from Saturday night's disaster against USC. Here are the answers to the five questions/points we brought up prior to the game.

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

Answer One: No! The Irish ran the ball only 14 times against the Trojans for 41 total yards. What is even more disturbing is the performance of Cierre Wood who rushed for a whopping one yard per carry average on five rushes.

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?

Answer Two: No! The Irish posted seven quarterback hurries but no sacks on the night. Aaron Lynch posted two of those hurries but the rest of the pressure applied to Matt Barkley came from two outside linebackers and two cornerbacks and the junior signal-caller handled most of it with ease.

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

Answer Three: Yes! A bye week proved costly as the Irish came out looking as if they had already won the game before the first snap was taken. Brian Kelly loves taking the ball first and the plan for this game was to have a solid drive from the outset.

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?

Answer Four: Ben Turk was solid punting the ball and the Irish got a spark when George Atkinson III returned a kickoff for a 96 yard touchdown. Overall it was a solid ST performance but in the grand scheme of things, a loss is a loss.

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?

Answer Five: From the comments of those we've talked with it seems the majority of recruits fully enjoyed their experience. It seems the Irish staff did a solid job giving time to each of those who came to the game officially and unofficially. While I'm sure Irish fans expected a pledge or two out of the weekend, recruiting has changed so much over the years as kids like to experience big game atmospheres even if they may not have a program high on their lists.


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