Looking at the Notre Dame defense

LOS ANGELES -- There seems to be a recurring theme each week in which the Trojans offense faces a defense that is better than the one before. This week against Notre Dame, USC's offense will be going head-to-head with one of the more complete defenses it will face this season.

The first two games for the Fighting Irish defense might be a little misleading. The defense gave up 23 points to USF and 35 points to Michigan. Since that time, the Irish D has tightened things up, giving up only 17 points per game during Notre Dame's four-game winning streak.

Defensive line
Like California, the Irish defense lines up in a 3-4 formation with three down linemen and four linebackers. However, the Golden Bears' D-line played more to shade on the guard rather than the tackle, resembling more of an "over front". Notre Dame's D-line plays more true to the base formation, lining its two defensive ends head up over the offensive tackles.