Notre Dame vs. LSU Preview & Predictions

Notre Dame and LSU each had disappointing seasons by their lofty standards, but still have a chance to end the year on a high note with a big victory in the Music City Bowl. Who will come out on top?


Notre Dame: 7-5

LSU: 8-4 (4-4 SEC)

Last Meeting: LSU won 41-14 in 2007 Sugar Bowl

Notre Dame Outlook:

Head coach Brian Kelly announced that redshirt freshman Malik Zaire will be making his first career start in this game over Everett Golson, who started every game this season. Zaire relieved Golson at the end of the USC game and performed well, though the game was already a blowout.

The Irish fell apart down the stretch, losing five of their last six games of the year after starting the season 6-0. A large part of that was due to offensive struggles headlined by poor quarterback play, so a spark from Zaire would make the Irish a much tougher team to face.

LSU Outlook:

The Tigers have one of the youngest teams in the nation, which has led to some inconsistent play this season, but they're still extremely talented.

Freshman running back Leonard Fournette leads the Tigers' potent rushing attack and has come on late in the season, while their defense is finally starting to play up to LSU standards.

What to watch for:

Whoever can get out and control the game early will probably control the rest of the game. LSU's offense is predicated around running the ball (and they're really good at it), meaning they'll probably be able to control the clock if they get a lead.

On the flip side, the Tigers have a terrible passing attack. Notre Dame needs to keep this game close or take a lead to force LSU to throw the ball, which will probably stagnate the Tigers' offense.

Prediction: LSU wins 20-17

Having a quarterback make his first career start against LSU's defense is never a good idea, even if he won't play the whole time. I expect the Tigers to confuse Zaire and create some early momentum, which they'll ride the rest of the way.

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