Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 26, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 34 of 55 NOV. 26, 2018 35 BY BRYAN DRISKELL USC RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE There might not be a more erratic rushing of- fense on Notre Dame's schedule this season. The Trojans ranked a disappointing 100th nationally through 10 games, averaging only 139.6 yards per game. In addition, their 4.1 yards per rush ranked 84th in the land. USC rushed for 219 yards in its season-opening victory over UNLV Sept. 1, 253 yards in a win over Arizona Sept. 29 and 332 yards in a win over Or- egon State Nov. 3. It was also held to minus-five yards in a defeat at Texas Sept. 5, 51 yards in a win over Colorado Oct. 13, 73 yards in a loss to Utah Oct. 20 and 97 yards in a setback to Califor- nia Nov. 10. Senior running back Aca'Cedric Ware rushed for more yards (730) in the first 10 games of the 2018 season than he had his first three seasons in a USC uniform. Like the rest of the run game, Ware was hit or miss this season. He racked up a career-best 205 yards in the win over Oregon State and went for 173 yards in the victory over Arizona. However, he produced just 59 yards (3.3 yards per carry) in a loss to Stanford Sept. 8 and was held to just eight yards on four rushes in the defeat at Texas. Notre Dame ranked 41st in the nation at stop- ping the run through its first 10 contests, giving up 138.9 yards per game. Against non-option teams, the Irish were surrendering just 121.8 yards per outing, which would have ranked it 22nd in the country. The Fighting Irish defense held seven of its first 10 opponents to less than 120 yards, and only three of those opponents averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry. Advantage: Notre Dame On PaPer Fifth-year senior Toa Lobendahn (50) — who has started all 42 games in which he has appeared, at four different spots (18 at left tackle, 11 at center, eight at left guard and five at right guard) — is one of four returning starters on USC's offensive line. PHOTO COURTESY USC GAME PREVIEW: USC

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