LSU is headed back to the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day, where a showdown with Notre Dame awaits. LSU also played in the Citrus Bowl last season.
The Tigers and Fighting Irish are playing for the 12th time overall, with the most recent meeting being a 31-28 Notre Dame win in the 2014 Music City Bowl. LSU and Notre Dame played eight times between 1970-1998, forming a semi-regular rivalry that now only takes place in bowl games.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had the following to say about the impending matchup.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron
- On whether outside linebacker Arden Key will play after missing LSU’s last two regular-season games: “I expect him to play. I’ve been on the road but as far as I know he’s going to play. We won’t start practice until next Monday, I’ll know more by next Monday.”
- On returning to the Citrus Bowl: “We had a tremendous time last year and look forward to playing a great Notre Dame team. It should be a big, physical football game like fans expect. Notre Dame will bring a lot of fans like we will, and I expect a tremendous atmosphere.”
- On facing Notre Dame: “After the Troy loss we dug deep. Have to give players all the credit. We feel this is the best thing that could have happened to LSU [following that loss]. Notre Dame, a marquee matchup. I’ve been to many a bowl in my career and the Citrus is one of the best I’ve been to.”
- On growing up watching Notre Dame: “I grew up watching LSU and Notre Dame. A lot of defensive battles. They would replay Notre Dame games every Sunday morning in Louisiana. So you became familiar with Notre Dame football.”
- On his history against Notre Dame as an assistant coach at Miami and Southern California: “Being at Miami, it was a great rivalry going up to Notre Dame. The ’88 game was very memorable, and the next year them coming down to the Orange Bowl. At USC, it’s one of the greatest rivalries. Just the upmost respect. It’s a tremendous challenge.”
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly
- On LSU: “Outstanding athletes, physicality up front. Certainly LSU is known for that great running back, and they’ve got another one in [Derrius] Guice. They fit the profile of the SEC with great skill at the back end. Offensively, Matt Canada has done a nice job of diversifying. Dave Aranda one of best defensive coordinators. Ed’s got a great staff. It’s a different team from ’14, but the talent is still there.”
- On Derrius Guice: “I only saw a little bit of him. We don’t get to watch outside that much, but I got a chance to see a little here and there. I think it’s his physicality. What stood out is his ability to run over guys. Another in a line of great backs at LSU.”
On what sticks out about LSU: “What stands out is the way they finished. Playing great against Texas A&M. They settled into who they are. They have an identity. 9-3 coming out of the SEC is quite a year.”