Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Notre Dame’s Josh Adams (33)
CITRUS BOWL PRESENTED BY OVERTON’S STORYLINES
1. Two storied programs face off on New Year’s Day, when No. 15 Notre Dame takes on 14th-ranked LSU in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It’s the first trip to the Citrus Bowl and the 16th different bowl game for the Fighting Irish, while the Tigers are playing in the game for the second straight year and fifth time overall. Notre Dame holds a 6-5 edge in the all-time series, including a 31-28 win in the most recent meeting in the 2014 Music City Bowl.
2. Both teams lean heavily on their ground games and boast 1,000-yard rushers. Notre Dame’s Josh Adams (1,386 yards, nine touchdowns) should be fresh after seeing his production drop off late in the season, as he averaged 8.9 yards per carry in his first eight games but just 3.7 over the final four contests. Derrius Guice (1,153 yards, 11 TDs) was a workhorse down the stretch for the Tigers as he carried the ball at least 19 times in each of the last six games, including a regular season-ending 45-21 win over Texas A&M in which he had 28 rushes for 127 yards.
3. Notre Dame’s defense thrives on turnovers, but it hasn’t been causing them lately. The Fighting Irish had 17 takeaways through their first seven games but only three in their last five. They might have a tough time producing takeaways against an LSU team that committed only eight turnovers all season, four of which came in a loss to Troy on Sept. 30.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: LSU -3
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (9-3): The Fighting Irish have the nation’s seventh-best rushing offense thanks to Adams and quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who has rushed for 765 yards and a team-high 14 touchdowns. Wimbush has passed for 1,818 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions, but four of those picks came in the last three games – two each in losses to Miami (Fla.) and Stanford – and he will be without Chase Claypool, the team’s second-leading receiver who has a shoulder injury. The defense was solid for much of the season but has allowed an average of 226.3 rushing yards over the last four games.
ABOUT LSU (9-3, 6-2 SEC): The Tigers lean on Guice and the ground game, as well as one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. LSU gives up just 311.7 total yards per game and is effective stopping both the run and the pass, ranking in the top 25 nationally in both categories. Guice is a weapon, but part of the reason he has so much room to run is the efficient season quarterback Danny Etling has had, as he has passed for 2,234 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions.