Week 8 College Football Breakdown with Joe Lisi: USC vs Notre Dame & LSU vs Ole Miss

Notre Dame Fighting Irish player in action

Ariana Sanchez

Friday, October 20, 2017 5:41 PM GMT

Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 5:41 PM GMT

Week 8 College Football breakdown with Joe Lisi: This is the companion article to Joe's picks on the USC-Notre Dame &  LSU-Ole Miss games this Saturday.

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USC vs. Notre Dame

Line: Notre Dame -3.5

Notre Dame is 3-2 since 2012 over the Trojans and has won those games by 7.6 ppg. However, USC defeated the Fighting Irish last season at home by a score of 45-27.

USC is coming off of an emotional home win over Utah in which the team stopped the Utes on a two-point conversion with just under one minute to play. On the other hand, Notre Dame had a bye week and will have an extra week of preparation for this game.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold is completing 62% of his passes for 2,063 yards with 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions entering this contest.

USC’s offense is rushing for 180 yards per game and passing for 296 yards per game entering this match-up on Saturday. The Trojans are converting 46% of their third downs this season and the offensive line has allowed 10 sacks through 7 games.

If USC’s offensive line can protect Darnold, it will allow him time to challenge a Notre Dame secondary giving up 231 passing yards per game to opponents this season. Entering this game, Notre Dame has recorded 13 total sacks through 6 games and has not faced the type of wide-open offense that the Trojans possess in this game.

Notre Dame has played teams such as: Temple (251 ypg), Georgia (171 ypg), Michigan State (197 ypg), Boston College (168 ypg), Miami (OH) (241 ypg), North Carolina (212 ypg) which are not explosive offenses for a passing perspective in 2017. This is the match-up to watch play out on Saturday night.

Defensively, the Trojans are very solid in the front seven and have recorded 22 total sacks through 7 games (3.1 sacks per game). USC did have 4 sacks in last week’s win over Utah last weekend.

USC is allowing 146 rushing yards per game and is giving up 238 passing yards to opposing offenses. The Trojans are holding opposing offenses to 36% on their third-down situations.

Notre Dame enters this game as a run-heavy offense that is averaging yards per game and is passing for 163 yards per game in 2017. The Irish are converting 39% of their third-down attempts and cannot afford to trade score for score with the Trojans in this contest.

Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush is completing 52% of his passes for 782 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Notre Dame’s five wins in 2017 against Temple, Boston College, Michigan State, Miami (OH) and North Carolina have combined overall record of 14-20 or .411%.

USC’s six wins in 2017 against Western Michigan, Stanford, Texas, CAL, Oregon State and Utah are a combined 21-19 or .525%.

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LSU vs. Ole Miss

Line: LSU -6.5

LSU has won 3 of the last five over Ole Miss by 8.6 points per game since 2012. However, the last two games in Oxford, the Tigers lost to Ole Miss by an average margin of defeat of 12.0 ppg.

LSU is coming off of two emotional wins over Florida and Auburn. LSU won both games by a total of 5 points.

The Tigers are rushing for 191 yards per game and the offense is passing for 201 yards per game. LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada has done an excellent job of mixing up formations and utilizing motion to get his playmakers out in “space”.

Canada has been more aggressive on first and second downs which have helped with the progression of quarterback Danny Etling. Entering this game on the road, Etling has completed 59% of his passes for 1,252 yards with 7 touchdowns and 1 interception.

LSU has rushed for 186.5 yards per game in two wins over Florida and Auburn.

The key to this contest will be the rushing attack of LSU against the front seven of Ole Miss.

In three games vs. Alabama, Auburn and Vanderbilt the Rebels have allowed 293 rushing yards per game. The Rebels gave up 365 rushing yards to Alabama, 326 to Auburn and allowed 188 rushing yards in the win over Vanderbilt last weekend.

If Ole Miss is going to challenge LSU offensively, the Rebels must try and run the football to keep offensive balance. LSU is entering this game allowing 144 rushing yards per game and allowing 177 passing yards to opposing offenses.

Ole Miss is rushing for 105 yards per game and is passing for 357 passing yards per game this year. Quarterback Shea Patterson is completing 65% of his passes for 2,143 yards with 17 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.

Over the past three games against Troy, Florida, and Auburn, the LSU defense has tightened up allowing only 143 passing yards per game.

Over, the past two wins, the defense held both Florida and Auburn to 5 of 23 on third downs (21%) and recorded 8 total sacks (4.0 per game). LSU enters this game with 23 total sacks and is holding opposing offenses to 36% on third downs this year.

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