USC vs. Notre Dame: Why Rivalry Matchup Is Must-Win for Brian Kelly

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USC vs. Notre Dame: Why Rivalry Matchup Is Must-Win for Brian Kelly
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

On Saturday night, the Irish are taking on the Trojans under the lights in Notre Dame Stadium. This marks another chapter in Notre Dame's most prolific rivalry and another battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh.

In his first encounter with USC, Brian Kelly went to Southern Cal with a freshman quarterback and got a 20-16 win, capping off a three game winning streak to end the season entering their bowl game. In that game, Rees' play was very shaky, throwing three interceptions against the Trojans.

On the other hand, the Irish ran for 147 yards between their two headed monster of Hughes and Wood.

Fast forward to this year, the Irish have home field advantage and pretty good momentum coming into this game, following their two opening losses. The Irish have a new two-headed monster in Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray, combining for the nation's 30th best rushing yards per game.

In the passing game, Tommy Rees is finally starting to get comfortable again in the offense, connecting with Michael Floyd who is having a standout season.

On the other sideline, the Trojans are coming to town riding on a 5-1 record, led by quarterback Matt Barkley. The Trojans are averaging right under 300 yards per game in the air, with Barkley connecting most with Robert Woods.

Saturday's game could be a must win for Brian Kelly and the Irish, if he wants to keep this season and his career in control.

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