J.J.'s keys to the game

John Jackson played in the 1988 USC vs Notre Dame game when the teams were ranked #1 and #2 in the country. He also caught 14 passes for 200 yards in the contest at South Bend in 1989. In this feature J.J. gives his keys for the upcoming game between the Trojans and the Irish.

The toughest thing for SC will be staying fresh for two tough games in a row.  Not that UCLA was tough, but the hype leading up to the game and the emotion will no doubt be draining. 

Secondly, the offense can't turn the ball over.  While that is always important for this SC team it holds true because they have proven that if they don't turn the ball over they can score a lot of points.  I don't think ND will score more than 20 points on our defense.  The only way they will score more is from help from our offense on turnovers. 

The way Carson is playing right now I feel SC might be the best team in the country.  Carson has confidence, a hot hand and more importantly he is spreading the ball around which makes any team impossible to defend.  He is utilizing all five of his skill positions at all times and that is why they are so dangerous. 

Notre Dame is strong against the run and it will be important for SC not to abandon the run even though this will not be one of those games where we come out and run the ball down anybody's throat.

I think ND has a tougher offense than UCLA but they are also one dimensional to an extent because I don't think their quarterback will face a more challenging defensive scheme that the one he will see on Saturday.  Pete will find a way to expose the ND pass game weaknesses.  Not to take anything away from the Irish offense but they haven't seen this yet and you need to have both aspects of your game working to beat this defense.  Caryle Holiday is a good quarterback but does he have the arm to beat USC...the Trojans forced Ell Roberson of Kansas State to throw the ball and he did so you have to tip your hat on that day.  If the Irish show up with only one dimension Carroll will take that away and force them to beat us with their weakness.   

Ty Willingham is no doubt the biggest factor of Notre Dame that concerns me.  I have the utmost respect for his game plan preparation and knowledge of how to attack an opponent.  People need to understand that this man was a two-time Coach of the Year at Stanford!!  That's almost unheard of with the talent they have.  He took Stanford from a very, very average team to respectability.  That was the biggest loss for Stanford, look at where they were the last two or three years and look where they are now.  My main wish for Ty is that he does well and gets an NFL job so SC doesn't have to compete against him. 

This will be a much tougher game but SC exposes the ND pass offense and wins by 4. 


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