LSU is a perennial bowl participant and is getting familiar with Orlando.
This is the 18th consecutive season that the Tigers have gone to a bowl game and the second consecutive season their destination has been Orlando. Last season, they defeated Louisville 29-9 for their second consecutive bowl victory. They have been to the Citrus Bowl four times, three of them coming in the last 14 years.
LSU is 11-6 during its current bowl streak and 25-22-1 overall in bowl games.
A look at Notre Dame’s season:
Best regular-season win: 49-14 vs. USC on Oct. 21
Worst regular-season loss: 41-8 at Miami on Nov. 11
Here are 5 things to know about the Fighting Irish:
1. Glad to be back
The biggest wild card in bowl games is the motivation of the respective teams. Perennial bowl participants that find themselves in relatively unglamorous bowls sometimes lose their edge, and in most years Notre Dame could be one of those teams.
But coming off an aberrational 4-8 season last year, the Irish should be excited to be back in a bowl — any bowl — and play accordingly.
2. Fading down the stretch
The Irish were 8-1, ranked No. 3 and flirting with the CFP with three weeks left in the season.
Their only loss was a one-pointer to Georgia in early September before they won seven straight. But then they went to Miami and got blasted, squeaked by Navy and lost to Stanford.
So the team that arrives in Orlando might not look quite as imposing as the one that headed to Miami in the second week of November.
3. Another notch on the bowl belt
This is the first time Notre Dame has played in the Citrus Bowl, making it the 16th different bowl in which the university has participated. The Irish are 17-18 all-time in bowl games (they declined to participate in bowls from 1925-1968).
4. The Irish can run the ball
The Irish’s offense has had most of its success running the ball. It ranks seventh in the country at 279.1 rushing yards per game, led by Josh Adams’ 115 yards per game. Notre Dame ranks 103rd in passing offense at 175.8 yards per game. In an anomaly, despite the success rushing the football, Notre Dame ranks just 107th in time of possession (28 minutes per game).
5. Defense is solid
Notre Dame ranks 32nd in scoring defense and 44th in total defense, though the defense hasn’t played its best of late. Three of the last four opponents have scored at least 37 points.