Preview Thursday: Week 7 

Leprechaun Notre Dame

The next slate of games presents a top-10 matchup. 

Week 7 of the college football season is here, and it represents the near midpoint of the year. Six programs are bowl eligible, including No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Michigan. 

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No. 7 Washington hosts No. 8 Oregon in a Pac-12 Conference clash in Seattle. Both the Huskies and Ducks are 5-0, and both are powered by large amounts of passing offense. 

Here are several games to watch this week. 

No. 3 Ohio State at Purdue 

Ohio State has had trouble in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

The Boilermakers and Buckeyes meet in the latest round of football in Indiana, and Ohio State is seeking a win. 

Ohio State hasn’t won at Purdue since 2013, and every Buckeyes head coach since 1947 has lost in West Lafayette at some point in their careers. 

Ryan Day is one who could be next to that list. 

“I know it’s been a difficult place to play for sure, and this team is no different,” Day said. “They’re very well coached. They have good players, and I know they’ll have a great atmosphere there. So we’re into October now, middle of the season, playing on the road in the Big Ten. All these games are critical and difficult so we’re got to have a great week of preparation and that’s just about what we expect this time of year.” 

No. 10 USC at No. 21 Notre Dame 

In recent weeks, Notre Dame has ranked within the top-10 teams in the country. 

But, after falling in two of the past three weeks, the Fighting Irish seem to be at a disadvantage against a hot USC team that has fallen in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll despite winning six in a row. 

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Notre Dame lost to No. 25 Louisville last week and to then-No. 4 Ohio State two weeks prior. The Fighting Irish average 437.9 yards per game which ranks No. 35 among NCAA teams. 

However, USC is fourth in the country in total offense averaging 523.3 yards per game and just outlasted Arizona in overtime 43-41. 

“Most importantly what we can’t do is make excuses for why the outcome was what it was and we can’t let others make excuses for us,” Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said. “It’s my job to make sure this team is ready to perform on the stage that being a part of the Notre Dame football program presents, and every week it’s going to present this stage and this opportunity, and I have to make sure this team is ready to go. And so the best thing about this week is we got to get back to work and get prepared for a great opponent in USC coming in here Saturday night. We expect it to be an electric atmosphere, a great environment and a great opportunity for this program to use the adversity we faced from this past week and to use it as energy and motivation to get back to work and to prepare for this great opponent in USC.” 

Freeman wants to see the Fighting Irish compete at their highest level of ability.” 

“As I told the staff if you’re an elite competitor, which I know I am and we are, that you don’t pick and choose when you get ready for an opponent, and you have to continue to get ready the way we’re supposed to even after a loss, and I know our staff will and we’ve been doing it and we’ll continue to do it as we prepare for this game.” 

No. 8 Oregon at No. 7 Washington 

This week’s top-10 matchup is set to be a doozy. 

Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. will meet in a contest that has Heisman Trophy stakes attached to it. Nix and Penix both are within the top-five passers in the Pac-12 in passing yards, both averaging more than 291 yards a game. 

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The Ducks present the most well-rounded of the two teams. They are No. 2 in the country with an average of 555.8 yards of total offense and they’re No. 6 allowing an average of 255.6 yards of total defense. 

Saturday will mark the first time in rivalry history that both Oregon and Washington will meet when both teams rank inside the top 10. 

“The thing for us is we wanted to make sure this weekend was big, and so I’m proud of the way that guys have weekly, just every week gone about taking care of business,” Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer said. “And you saw this as hopefully inevitable that it came to this point, just a lot of respect for what Oregon is doing with their season too, so happy that this is a big week because we’ve done everything to make it that. If we slip up anywhere along the way it wouldn’t be as what it is so excited for this opportunity. That’s what it is. It’s a challenge, but it’s an opportunity. That’s what our guys came here to do is be a part of games like this and moments like this and build the program to this point. And so you know, embracing it is how we look at it.”