Citrus Bowl: 10-win season on the line for Notre Dame, LSU

Jan 02, 2018, 06:19
Citrus Bowl: 10-win season on the line for Notre Dame, LSU

Asked what jumped out at him most in reviewing video of Notre Dame's games this season, LSU coach Ed Orgeron snickered.

Notre Dame held LSU on the ensuing possession to wrap up the win, its 10th victory of the season. Book, who entered the game in the second quarter, was 14 of 19 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Then came a jaw-dropping play that gave Notre Dame its first January bowl win since the 1994 Cotton Bowl. Along the way, the Tigers registered an upset of Auburn and scored more than 30 points in four of their last five games.

Notre Dame and LSU appear to be playing a game of "How many players can we lose before the game?"

Notre Dame beat LSU 21-17 in the Citrus Bowl on Monday, thanks to this insane last-minute catch by Boykin.

Alas, when the Irish square off against LSU, they'll be without wideout Kevin Stepherson - the team leader in touchdown receptions - and tight end Alize Mack, both of whom will be serving suspensions for off-the-field indiscretions.

Notre Dame and LSU's seasons followed contrasting paths. Two weeks later, the Tigers were upset by Troy in Death Valley. The Tigers defeated Louisville 29-9 past year. But the Tigers, while certainly talented, have struggled this season, and are missing three of their starting front seven.

Greenberg's pick: Notre Dame, 27-23. Coaching at Notre Dame raised his profile significantly, so much that he was pursued by other schools after just one season in South Bend, per a report from Irish Illustrated.

Following Elko's lead, the Irish have improved in scoring defense (62nd nationally to 31st), pass efficiency defense (79th to 39th), rush defense (72nd to 49th), turnovers gained (14 to 20) and sacks (14 to 22) since 2016 with Monday's Citrus Bowl against LSU left to play. LSU will be without three defensive starters, however: edge rusher Arden Key and linebackers Corey Thompson and Donnie Alexander.

Last time the teams met, the Irish had ended the regular season on a similar slump, but were buoyed by a new spark on offense thanks to quarterback Malik Zaire.

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