NOTRE DAME, Ind.--This week's game is the first that Head Coach Brian Kelly and the Irish have clearly defined as their own rivalry this season.
“I do know about the Bush Push, I’ve learned so much about USC and Notre Dame, like the tension between the two teams, so I’m excited to play against them, especially with our fans too, once the Crimson and White come, I can’t wait to play against these guys, it’s going to be exciting,” Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell said.
Despite all of the hype, it won't change how the Irish prepare.
“This is a huge game for both teams and this is a must-win game for us and personally for me, I have to approach it like any other game, execution and attention to detail,” Irish running back Amir Carlisle said.
The Trojans are looking to rotate more players in on defense against the Irish, proving they have got depth, with five out of their six top tacklers returning from last season.
“They’re very talented on defense, they’ve got a lot of guys that can run and make plays,” Irish offensive tackle Zack Martin said.
Although USC's program is rebuilding after the recent firing of its head coach, the Irish expect to see the best from the Trojans, a team that hasn't lost to Notre Dame in South Bend since 2001.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for them and their program they’ve built there. They’ve had a tremendous amount of success for a long, long time and you definitely respect what they’re about and what they do,” Irish quarterback Tommy Rees said.
USC is coming off of a 38-31 win over Arizona last week and like the Irish, they have four wins and two losses on the season.