There is nothing more common than seeing LSU and Notre Dame playing on New Year’s Day, and that will be the case this year as well as the two come face-to-face in the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2018. Both teams enter this game at 9-3, and both have performed the same against the spread this season as well, coming into the contest 7-5.
This will be the 48th bowl game for the Tigers, who have a 25-22 record. They will be appearing for the 17th straight season. Last season they were also in the Citrus Bowl, downing Louisville 29-9.
Notre Dame will be appearing in their 36th bowl game, coming into the contest with a 17-18 record. The number of bowl appearances is actually quite deceiving, as the Fighting Irish refused to participate in bowl games for four decades, finally breaking with tradition in 1970. The last time that Notre Dame was in a bowl game was on January 1, 2016 when they lost to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, 44-28.
These two teams have actually faced each other and a bowl game three times before. The first was back in 1997 when LSU defeated Notre Dame 27-9 in the Independence Bowl. In 2007, the two faced off in the Sugar Bowl, where the Tigers also won that contest 41-14. In 2014, the two teams competed in the Music City Bowl, where the Fighting Irish were the victors 31-28.
Ed Orgeron is in his first full season as the Tigers had coach. He took over late last season after longtime head coach Les Miles was released, and earned the job with a 6-2 stretch run. His record with the Tigers is 15-5, and he is 31-32 overall, including his times at the head coach at USC. Orgeron is 1-0 in bowl games.
Orgeron was named as the head coach full-time prior to the season, and that decision looked like it was in serious jeopardy when the Tigers lost to Troy 24-21 to fall to 3-2. It looked like this was going to be another lost season at LSU, but victories over Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M helped to give this team six victories in their final seven games of the season, giving them a 9-3 record. The Tigers enter the game ranked 17th in the country.
It is a stingy LSU defense that is leading the way, allowing an average of 18.8 points per contest. They are allowing slightly over 311 yards per game, with the defense giving up just 185.2 yards passing each contest.
While there are many playmakers on the LSU defense, it starts with Devin White who leads the team in tackles with 127, two times the number of the second leading tackler on the Tigers defense. Christian LaCouture is second with 63 tackles, and tied for second in sacks with 6.0.Andraez Williams leads the team in interceptions with five.
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Brian Kelly is in his eighth season with the Fighting Irish, and boasts a 68-34 record at Notre Dame. Kelly has had impressive records at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati, combining to post an overall record of 239-91-2. He has led teams to nine Division-I bowl games, posting a 5-4 record, and he is 11-4 in the Division-II playoffs.
The Fighting Irish looked like they were on their way to the national playoffs as they opened up the season 8-1, but a crushing defeat to Miami and a loss on the last weekend of the season to Stanford drops them to 9-3. Notre Dame is averaging 35.3 points per game while giving up 21.8.
It is the rushing game of Notre Dame that leads the way, as they have totaled 3349 yards rushing and are averaging 279.1 yards per game. Josh Adams leads the team in rushing with 1386 yards and nine touchdowns. Brandon Wimbush, the quarterback for the Fighting Irish, is second on the team in rushing with 765 yards and has scored 14 touchdowns. He has also thrown for 1818 yards and 16 scores, but is completed only 49.8 percent of his passes.
Tigers vs. Fighting Irish Betting Lines
LSU is on a roll, while the Fighting Irish stumbled down the stretch. While Kelly has done a great job coaching at Notre Dame, these are the kind of games that the team simply has not won over the last 20 years. Take the Tigers to win this game in a contest where the total is in the mid-50s.