The Citrus Bowl Will Feature A Top 25 Matchup With No. 17 LSU and No. 14 Notre Dame: What To Watch
Orlando, FL — Both Notre Dame (9-3) and LSU (9-3, 6-2 SEC) had College Football Playoff aspirations coming into the season. However, they suffered embarrassing losses landing them in the Citrus Bowl. LSU loss to Troy at home, 24-21; Notre Dame suffered a 41-8 defeat at Miami.
The Fighting Irish and Tigers will look to send their seniors out with one last win, catapulting into spring football with things to work on. Most notably, the passing game.
Both teams are ending the year with a tough opponent, after player equally tough schedules. The Tigers can avenge their 31-28 loss to the Fighting Irish in the 2014 Music City Bowl, which Notre Dame won with a 32-yard field goal as time expired.
Notre Dame Vs. The SEC
Notre Dame hasn’t played the SEC much. The Citrus Bowl will be a good barometer to gauge the program vs. an SEC blue blood.
The Fighting Irish is 1-2 vs. their last three SEC opponents, including a 42-14 loss to Alabama in the National Championship, and a one-point loss to Georgia earlier this season in South Bend.
Old School Football
The Citrus Bowl Presented by Overton’s will feature two great running backs who have NFL futures, Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and LSU’s Derriuce Guice.
Guice comes into the Citrus Bowl with 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, he is averaging more than 2 yards per carry less than last season. Also, Guice did not play in LSU’s loss to Troy. Look for the Junior to get back on track in Citrus Bowl.
Adams was at one point in the Heisman conversation. He has rushed for 1,386 yards this season, scoring nine touchdowns. The Junior is a big play threat averaging, 7.3 yards per carry, with several 70 plus yard runs on the season.
Sub-Par Quarterback Play
LSU and Notre Dame rely on the run and their defenses because their quarterbacks are limited.
Tigers’ quarterback Danny Etling is a transfer from Purdue and has done a great job of protecting the football. Etling will play with a chip on his shoulder, as he grew up a Notre Dame fan but was never offered.
“Once I began loving football more than basketball, I grew up thinking I’d be a quarterback for Notre Dame,” Etling told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “But they barely recruited me. I was a pro-style quarterback and they were going in a different offensive direction…”
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush had an inconsistent year and rough end. Over his past three games, Wimbush has five touchdowns with four interceptions, completing 44.7 percent of his passes.
But Wimbush can do some damage with his legs, coming into the Citrus Bowl with 765 yards on the ground and 14 rushing touchdowns.
Matchup To Watch: Notre Dame’s Offensive Line vs. LSU’s Defensive Line
Notre Dame comes into Camping World Stadium with the Nation’s seventh-ranked rushing attack, 279 yards per game. Thanks to their talented offensive line with two first-round draft picks on the left side and seniors at center and right guard.
LSU gives up 126.4 yards on the ground, playing a lot of run-heavy teams in the SEC West. Whoever can establish their presence, controlling the line scrimmage in this matchup will win the game.
The Fighting Irish will try to get Wimbush evolved on the ground, limiting his mistakes through the air. The Tigers will attempt to get Notre Dame in third and long situations, attacking on first and second down.
Prediction: Notre Dame will be without some its top pass catchers and LSU has the better quarterback.
LSU 27 – Notre Dame 17