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Every Saturday, Notre Dame starting nose guard Paul Grasmanis, a Jenison,

Mich., native, will share his thoughts about the Irish's game that day. Today,

Grasmanis discusses last week's narrow victory over Army, today's game against

rival USC and his injury.

I'm 100 percent again and ready for the USC game after hurting my knee again

against Army last week.

I hurt my knee in the third quarter when somebody cut me from the side and a

little behind me.

I didn't really see it coming. At first, I felt it and it hurt a little bit,

so I basically took myself out of the game, because I didn't want to do

anything that might make me miss the USC game.

The Army game was tough. I'm going to have to give Army a lot of credit. I

think they had a good game plan and played a great ballgame.

Maybe we weren't as ready as we thought we were for them. They had two weeks

to prepare for us, and they did a good job with their preparation.

Defending the wishbone was tough, and the wet turf at Giants Stadium made it

tough to get off your blockers.

Their quarterback, Ron McAda, hid the ball well, carried out good fakes and

did a good job of executing the wishbone offense.

I think everyone is excited about playing USC. We know it's a huge game. We

know we can't do what we did last week against Army and expect to win.

We're real confident about ourselves and like our chances. We know we can go

out and beat this team, even though they're undefeated and ranked high (No. 5).

We've been seeing a lot of things that their players have been saying about

us in the newspapers.

A lot of USC players were saying, "Who cares about Notre Dame," and that

they weren't worried about coming here to play against us and things like that.

I guess their offensive line said they were going to blow us off the ball

and things like that.

We know we can beat the hell out of them up front, hang in there and win the

game. I think it's going to be a battle up front.

It's going to be a battle in the trenches and a matter of playing

smash-mouth football. It's all going to be a matter of who shows up that day.

We feel pretty good about this game. USC is a big game and part of a great

rivalry. We're always up for USC.

I don't care what they say about breaking their winless streak (0-11-1 in

their last 12 matchups) against us. I'm just concerned about keeping the win

streak going for us.

We figure we have to win this game to get a major bowl bid. If we lose and

end up 8-3, our chances of getting into a bowl game won't be as good.

Coach (Lou) Holtz said this USC game is a big game and a lot of people are

trying to get tickets to see it.

He said he even heard that O.J. (Simpson) was trying hard to get a ticket or

pass to be in South Bend for the game.

I think it would be great if he showed up. I think it would be cool.

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