College Football
Preview
Notre Dame vs Louisiana State
When: 3:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Where: LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee

FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL STORYLINES


1. A pair of teams that expected to be challenging for a spot in the National Championship Playoff will square off when Notre Dame and LSU meet in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn. The Fighting Irish started out 6-0 but limped to the finish with losses in five of their last six games as the defense got scorched on a weekly basis. The Tigers saw their chances at a more prestigious postseason placement fall off when the offense failed to produce in back-to-back losses to Alabama and Arkansas in November.

2. The LSU defense ranked third in the nation in points allowed, limiting opponents to an average of 16.4 points. The Notre Dame defense is on the other end of the spectrum with an average of 29.3 points allowed – a number that jumps to 41.3 in the final six regular-season contests. The Irish defense was regularly put into tough positions by the offense and quarterback Everett Golson, who totaled 22 turnovers.

3. Golson and Tigers quarterback Anthony Jennings are both fighting battles for the starting job in the bowl game after disappointing campaigns. Golson threw 10 interceptions and lost three fumbles in the final six games and was replaced in a 49-14 loss at USC in the finale by Malik Zaire. “There's a way I want that (quarterback) position to operate, and it's going to operate the way that I want it to operate,” Irish coach Brian Kelly told reporters. “If you operate it the way that I want it done, you'll be the starting quarterback at Notre Dame.”

TV: 3 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: LSU -7

ABOUT NOTRE DAME (7-5):
Zaire threw for 170 yards and ran for a touchdown in relief of Golson against USC, and the Fighting Irish are expected to give both a chance to play in the bowl game. "I think both of them have different traits and we need to find a way to win the game,” Kelly told reporters, “and I think both of them can help us win.” Whoever takes the snaps will be looking to get the ball to sophomore wide receiver William Fuller, who totaled five touchdowns and averaged 109.5 yards in the final four games to help keep the contests relatively close.

ABOUT LSU (8-4, 4-4 SEC): The Tigers handed more and more responsibility to freshman running back Leonard Fournette as the season progressed, and the New Orleans native continued to step up. Fournette posted a season-high 146 yards and a touchdown in the 23-17 win at Texas A&M to close the regular season, including a highlight-worthy 22-yard TD run that included him running over a potential tackler. "He's a powerful runner,” Jennings told reporters. “He has great vision, great work ethic. Whatever's coming to him, he's been working for it throughout practice.”

PREDICTION: LSU 34, Notre Dame 24
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Notre Dame 7-5 L4 33.0 29.2 5-2 2-3 4-5 0-0 0-0
Louisiana State 8-4 W1 27.6 16.4 6-2 2-2 8-3 0-0 4-4
Last Meeting
Notre Dame Louisiana State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
1/3/07 ND 14 LSU 41 291 143 148 577 245 332
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Notre Dame B. Quinn 42.9 148 2 2
Louisiana State J. Russell 61.8 332 2 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame D. Walker 22 128 5.8 0
Louisiana State K. Williams 14 107 7.6 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame J. Samardzija 8 59 7.4 1
Louisiana State E. Doucet 8 115 14.4 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Notre Dame D. Grimes 1
Louisiana State K. Williams 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Notre Dame E. Golson 60.1 3355 29 14
Louisiana State A. Jennings 48.8 1460 10 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame T. Folston 154 816 5.3 5
Louisiana State L. Fournette 176 891 5.1 8
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Notre Dame W. Fuller 71 1037 14.6 14
Louisiana State T. Dural 37 758 20.5 7
Touchdowns Player TD
Notre Dame W. Fuller 14
Louisiana State L. Fournette 8
Quickchart Matchup
Notre Dame Off vs  Louisiana State Def
444.8 yards
305.8 yards
4.2 yards/rush
4.2 yards/rush
8.1 yards/attempt
5.4 yards/attempt
Louisiana State Off vs  Notre Dame Def
383.4 yards
401.9 yards
4.5 yards/rush
4 yards/rush
7.5 yards/attempt
7.2 yards/attempt