Irish players pumped for another Under the Lights battle with USC

Tonight will mark the 3rd night game at Notre Dame Stadium in three years, but in the long history of the house that Rockne Built, a night game at ND is still very rare.

It's something the Irish players truly appreciate.

"Just being under the stadium lights, both teams just get a little more into the build up," Irish captain TJ Jones says. "You have a lot longer throughout the day, to let your emotions build up for the game."

Notre Dame and USC met in the night game at the Stadium two years ago, which the Trojans won. That was the first night game at Notre Dame in two decades and the atmosphere was electric.

"It was just crazy," Irish cornerback and captain Bennett Jackson says. "We are just so used to playing at mid-day. Finally to just turn the lights on and play--just loud and crazy. I prefer night games definitely because I love that atmosphere. I feel its a lot more energetic."

Irish running back Amir Carlisle played in that game two years ago--as a member of the Trojans.

"It was the most live environment we had that season," Carlisle says looking back. "It was Notre Dame. Coach Kiffin preached that the whole week. That this was the a big week. This was Notre Dame. I remember the energy we had was very high. We got off the bus, rocking the bus. It was a great experience to come here and play."

Now Carlisle gets to experience the rivalry game from the Notre Dame side and many younger players are experiencing a night game at ND Stadium vs USC for the first time.

"For the younger guys, you got to let them know its going to be a little bit of whirlwind," senior linebacker Dan Fox says. "Night game at home. It's a great atmosphere. You try and let them know how its going to be so they are somewhat prepared for it."

Notre Dame and USC square at 7:30 Saturday night. Coverage on WNDU begins at 5pm with the NBC Special: Onward Notre Dame. They we head live to Notre Dame Stadium for NewsCenter 16 at 6 followed by Countdown to Kickoff at 6:30.

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