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Notre Dame will face LSU in Music City Bowl on Dec. 30

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame knows its bowl destination.

The team’s starting quarterback for the game, however, remains a mystery.

The Irish will face LSU in the Music City Bowl at 2 p.m. on Dec. 30 at LP Field in Nashville.

It’s Notre Dame’s first appearance in the game.

“We wanted to be challenged again,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “There’s no sense going into this bowl game situation and feeling like you’re not going to be challenged. I feel like there are matchups there that don’t give you the same kind of challenge.

“This is one that we wanted.”

LSU is No. 23 in the College Football Playoff ranking. The Tigers are 8-4, with wins against Wisconsin and Ole Miss as the highlights. LSU went 4-4 in the SEC.

Notre Dame (7-5) stumbled down the stretch, losing its final four games of the regular season.

“I’m sick of losing,” running back Cam McDaniel said. “I want to win. These last four weeks, really the last six, have been really drudging. It’s about time we got back on track. What a better time than now to make sure that we do that and just finish this thing off right.”

The Irish will use the practices leading up to the game to determine whether Everett Golson or Malik Zaire will start at quarterback against the Tigers. Golson started all 12 games in the regular season. He started fast, but has been plagued by turnovers (14 interceptions, eight fumbles). Zaire replaced Golson in the second quarter of the 49-14 loss at USC on Nov. 29.

“We have to go into that practice with a mind-set of getting Everett and Malik both an opportunity to show what they’re made of and how they’re going to compete and allow us the opportunity for them to both grow, but at the same time, see what competition looks like from that standpoint,” Kelly said. “True competition. Because, obviously, this was not a competitive situation during the year.

“We’re going to let them compete, and we’ll see where that puts us come game time.”

Kelly isn’t going to rush into making the decision.

“What we’re talking about is some things that I want to see change that will have to change during practice,” Kelly said. “And I’ve already had a conversation with both quarterbacks. It’s probably more towards what my eye sees during practice.

“It will be when I see what I see will be the duration of that competition. So it may be eight practices. It may be a year. But I’m going to have to see what I need to see from both of them.”

Email: lpope@post-trib.com

Twitter: @lamondpope