- Erik McKinney, RecruitingNation
Neither the USC Trojans nor the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will enter Saturday night's game ranked in the top 25, but Saturday's 83rd installment of the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football will carry plenty of significance for both teams, as a win or loss for these teams could shape the rest of their respective seasons. The Fighting Irish (4-2 overall) are riding a four-game winning streak with an offense clicking better than it has previously with head coach Brian Kelly. In the first night game at Notre Dame Stadium in 21 years, the Irish will host the Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12), who are looking to start a new winning streak against Notre Dame after last season's tough loss.
• Scoring offense: 32.3 points per game (No. 36 overall)
• Rushing offense: 194 yards per game (No. 30 overall)
• Passing offense: 273.5 yards per game (No. 29 overall)
• Total offense: 467.5 yards per game (No. 22 overall)
Quarterback: No. 11 Tommy Rees (6-foot-2, 215 pounds, So.)
After contributing heavily to Notre Dame's turnover issues early in the season, throwing four interceptions in the first two games, Rees has turned things around in a big way. He has thrown for 1,503 yards with a 66 percent completion rate and 14 touchdowns against six interceptions. He has been especially good in the last two games, throwing for 515 yards and seven scores in blowout victories. Rees has shown that he can be careless with the ball at times -- he threw three interceptions against the Trojans last season. But he has shown tremendous growth in recent weeks and has the Notre Dame offense rolling.
Notre Dame is looking for a second consecutive victory over USC and a fifth straight overall on Saturday in South Bend.