USC routs Notre Dame

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs the USC Trojans

The USC Trojans have two big rivals in college football: UCLA and Notre Dame. The week before the Trojans lost to the UCLA Bruins in a game that was dominated by the Bruins almost from the opening kick 0ff. Saturday they faced another very good team in  the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Going into Saturday’s game in the Los Angeles Coliseum, Notre Dame had the same record as USC and they’ve beaten some good teams this year, so they have the potential to give fits to the Trojans like UCLA did last week.

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has kept the Fighting Irish in a position to win almost every game they lost. In the month of November he had 1,280 yards with 10 touchdowns before Saturday and he completes 65 percent of his passes in away games. But he had seven interceptions last month, before Saturday’s game, a weakness USC could take advantage of on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish get ready to hike the ball against the Trojans.
The Fighting Irish get ready to hike the ball against the Trojans.

But Golson is also quick on his feet, with over 200 rushing yards this season, so that is a part of the Notre Dame game that could change this for USC.

The Trojans have a proven winning combination in quarterback Cody Kessler and his favorite receiver, Nelson Agholor. When those two are doing well, USC wins. If the Irish can disrupt their game, they have a chance of beating the Trojans.

The Trojans have a running game — because USC always has a running game — and their primary running back is Javorius Allen, who has rushed for over 1,200 yards this season and scored nine touchdowns.  He’s also a threat catching the ball.

In all aspects, USC is the better team and this should have been a win for the Trojans, but they had lost to UCLA the week before in another big rivalry game so there was a chance Notre Dame would upset and win as well. Underdogs find ways of stepping up in long-standing rivalries. Coaches may say they don’t matter, but the athletes, who are students themselves, are very much aware of the rivalries.

Notre Dame came into the game with so many injuries, some of their players were getting a taste of varsity football for the first time. Not a good situation for the Fighting Irish. But having their first string team completely healthy may not have been enough for Notre Dame, USC was just that good.

Cody Kessler had the second best game of his career. With six touchdown passes, he also completed 82 percent of his passes. Kessler spread the ball around too; his favorite receiver, Nelson Agholer, had eight receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown.

George Farmer, Adoree Jackson, Darreus Rogers and Randall Telfer all caught touchdown passes as well and Justin Davis had a 16-yard run for a touchdown.

Though that was even more offense than the Notre Dame team on the field could handle Saturday, it probably would have been more than any Notre Dame team could handle this season.

Seven of Everett Golson’s first eight passes were incomplete and it wasn’t until the second quarter that he could get three straight completions, but on that same drive he was intercepted .

With five minutes left in the half Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly pulled Golson and replaced him with Malik Zaire, who completed a pass and then rushed in for Notre Dame’s first score of the game. But by then USC already had 35 points on the board.

Claudia Gestro reporting from the L.A. Coliseum Saturday
Claudia Gestro reporting from the L.A. Coliseum Saturday

USC dominated the second half the way they did the first. Greg Bryant scored a rushing touchdown for Notre Dame, the last score for the Fighting Irish, and the Trojans would score 14 more points, for a final tally of 49-14, USC.

It was a disappointing blowout for Notre Dame, but with so many players out with injuries, it seemed inevitable.

For the Trojans, it was a big win against a long time rival and great boost after the loss the UCLA. It was their final game of the season, which boasts a winning record of 8-4. Not good enough to make the top 25 in any of the rankings, but a winning season that ended on a high note.

They will get a call for a bowl game in the post season, but it won’t be any of the BCS bowls, but still if they have a chance to play again it will be a nice cap to a good year.

(All photos by Claudia Gestro)