Kelly's Keys to Victory: USC
"There's a great sense of anticipation and excitement in playing in a game of this caliber."
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly enters his eighth game leading the Irish against USC, and as any other figure in this rivalry will tell you, it's larger than any one game.
"The history, and, you know, the history and tradition of it," Kelly said. "The great players that have played in this game across, you know, the decades. I think that's what stands out when people talk about Notre Dame, USC; it resonates."
In this latest installment, Notre Dame's greatest task will most likely be on the defensive side of the ball. Trojan sophomore QB Sam Darnold is a Heisman Trophy candidate, and Kelly knows just how difficult it will be to bottle him up.
"You know, he just has that knack of making plays when it looks like you've got everything covered," said Kelly. "Just a great arm and great arm strength. I think what probably separates him from the other quarterbacks is just his ability to find that open window in tight spaces with a quick, quick release. I mean, that ball comes out of his hand as well as anybody that I've seen."
While Notre Dame will aim to contain USC's quarterback, the Irish will also be working their's back into the fold. Brandon Wimbush returns as the starter since injuring his foot three weeks ago, and Kelly hopes this is another step in his QB's progression.
"He's done a lot of really good things to get us to where we are today," he said. "Yeah, there has to be some improvement in some other areas, but from a productivity standpoint, he's done some really good things and he's only going to get better."