#Gamecocks defense readies for Notre Dame rushing attack (AUDIO)

Sherrod Greene and the USC defense face a Notre Dame rushing attack that put up 200+ yards six times this season (Ryan Bethea)

Key Gamecocks defensive players addressed the media following practice, Tuesday, as South Carolina continues in its preparations for Friday’s Gator Bowl matchup with Notre Dame.

It’s no secret that the Irish game plan will rely heavily on a rushing attack that averaged 182.8 yards/game this season. Even before the departure of quarterback Drew Pyne (Arizona State), the strength of Notre Dame’s offense has been its hefty offensive line and trio of talented running backs, Audric Estime (825 yards), Logan Diggs (732 yards) and Chris Tyree (423 yards).

South Carolina’s defense struggled at times this season against the run, surrendering 295 yards rushing to Arkansas and 374 yards on the ground against Florida. The Gamecocks will have to stand up to Notre Dame’s running game without defensive tackle Zacch Pickens, who has opted out of the Gator Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft.

One way the Gamecocks defense can thwart Notre Dame is by forcing turnovers. USC’s defense failed to produce a takeaway in losses to Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri, but feasted late in the year, forcing nine turnovers over the last four games.

South Carolina and Notre Dame will clash in the Gator Bowl from Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field at 3:30 p.m., Friday.

Gamecocks defensive players

Edge Jordan Burch

Linebacker Sherrod Greene

Defensive back DQ Smith

Defensive back O’Donnell Fortune

Defensive lineman TJ Sanders

Defensive back Kajuan Banks

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