Notre Dame Football: Preview, prediction vs. LSU in Citrus Bowl

Notre Dame football looks to bounce back from a tough stretch with a big win over the LSU Tigers in the 2018 Citrus Bowl.

Losses in big games seem to be piling up against head coach Brian Kelly and his Fighting Irish squad, but many of those losses could be concealed with a significant win over LSU. While Kelly will always be on the hot seat in the minds of almost everyone outside of athletic director Jack Swarbrick, a win here should do a lot to improve his stock.

The Irish don’t have much of a history with the Tigers, as the two teams have met only 11 times prior to this year’s matchup. The Irish have taken six out of the 11 games, but have won only one of the three bowls games in which these two programs have faced off.

With one season set to end on a high note and another to end on a low one, here’s how to watch it all go down this Monday:

Date: Monday, Jan. 1
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Venue: Camping World Stadium
TV: ABC
Live Stream: ABC Live Stream or WatchESPN

Keys to Victory

The key to victory for the Irish in any given game this season has been the battle in the trenches. With quarterback Brandon Wimbush’s passing woes limiting the Irish’s aerial attack, offensive coordinator Chip Long has remained committed to the run game throughout the entirety of the 2017 season. Look for the Irish to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

LSU’s claim to fame on offense has been rooted in quarterback Danny Etling’s ability to take care of the football. Etling has thrown 14 touchdowns to only two interceptions this season and could see a similar performance against an Irish secondary that has been exploitable over the past few weeks. Look for LSU to maintain a conservative approach in a game that could be decided by a field goal or less.

Prediction

In any other circumstances I would be hesitant to pick the Irish to pull this one off, especially considering how they’ve been playing as of late. However, nearly a month off of football favors the team without the momentum much more than it favors the team with it. With that said, this game could easily be molded by what takes place over the first few possessions.

The Irish have played poorly against top competition this season, but they’ve also had success against middle of the pack ranked teams. The Tigers come in ranked 17th in the country, a pretty good sign for a head coach that has struggled the way Kelly has against top competition. Look for a month of rest to pay off big for the Irish as they pull out a close one in Orlando.

Final Score: Notre Dame 23, LSU 20