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Series Recap: Notre Dame vs. Southern Cal

Does it still bother USC that we call them “Southern Cal?” I hope so.

USC v Notre Dame
It’s about to go down on Saturday night
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images


It’s here. We have two days until the battle for that jeweled shillelagh happens. It’s the number 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. the number 11 USC Trojans. Oh man this is going to be a doozy. A lot is at stake with this game. The trophy, the bragging rights, and staying in playoff contention.

Before I start freaking myself out talking about the game, I gotta do a rundown of our series with USC. Unlike some recent opponents, there is obviously A LOT of history in this series. It is also still a very heated rivalry. We know that we hate USC, but USC fans and their team still do hate us.

With a lot riding on this game, let’s take a look into this series and how crazy, intriguing, and exciting it has been over the years.

ND vs. USC: The Series

ND and USC first met each other on the football field in 1926, a 13-12 victory for the Irish. The series is an ND lead at 46-37-5. The Irish had an unbeaten streak of 13 years from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, hence why there is that 9 win lead. That is essentially what did it for the series lead. However, it is usually back and forth with a lot riding on the game.

There have been many instances where the winner would either win or play for the national championship while maybe even spoiling a national championship berth for the other team. It’s been some bad blood over the years (cue Taylor Swift), and that isn’t going away. Let’s take a look at some highlights and lowlights of the series with USC, shall we?


1974: The dreaded comeback. We went up 24-0, but then SC turned on the jets and didn’t look back. Anthony Davis ran up and down the field against us for the 55-24 win. Just brutal.

The SI cover just not making us feel good at all
Vintage College Football Programs

2002: Carson Palmer and the SC offense went off that night. Like this game coming up, both teams were ranked right by one another. Number 6 vs. Number 7. Trying to salvage the season after the loss to BC, we looked to end the season well and beat SC. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Personal side note: This is the first time I can remember crying over an Irish game. There have been many other times since.

2005: We all know why, but here is the highlight video because it truly was a college football spectacle. One of the best atmospheres ever for a game. Silver lining there.

Also, the 6:28 mark is at least something you should watch. Pretty good.

2007: The shutout, and it was BAD. It was so bad, it could’ve been a Michael Jackson song title. 3-9 season plus a shellacking at home. Wow that was tough. This game is the reason I hope we don’t do a 40th anniversary of those green jerseys, or any anniversary for that matter. Yikes.


Ugh. That was a bad day.

2011: The Crazy Train game. ALLLLLLL ABOOOOOARRRDDDDDD. First night game at home in a long time. Had a chance finally to beat SC at home. and we squandered it away. ‘Twas sad.


1966: We just demolished them. After the 10-10 tie against MSU, we went into LA and just beat up on those Trojans. The 51-0 victory helped seal the national championship for us that year. Just a clinic.

1977: Green Jersey Game and also the Trojan Horse. I would’ve been going out of my mind that day. Let the video do the explaining.

1988: The Tony Rice run makes me downright giddy. The #1 vs. #2 matchup saw us come away with the victory to send us to the national championship game.

2010: This was the first time we beat them in 9 years and the first victory over USC that I saw as a true fan. Glorious day. Masterful running by Robert Hughes and game management by Touchdown Tommy Rees.


Plus, this game gave to us this fantastic shot:


2015: It was nuts. Become immersed in the highlights.

I absolutely love how Will Fuller just Disco Infernos Adoree Jackson...burn baby burn


2005: Yes it was that game, but I really need to address Zibby’s punt return. This was honestly one of the top plays in Notre Dame football history. The magnitude of the game. The athleticism of the play. The stiff arm. It was just magical. Also, Zibby’s stiff arm and final push to the end zone happened right in front of us, as I was sitting on the press box side on the 5 yard line (Section 126). Pure and utter jubilation commenced and it was a madhouse in the House that Rockne Built.

And finally, 2012: For this one, we sealed the chance to go to the national championship game. For the first time in my life, I saw us play a game as the number 1 team in the nation. I was nervous and thrilled at the same time. We got the W in LA.

The goal line stand is a straight thing of beauty! It had our players (and me) yelling YEAH COACH!

As a personal note for this game, I truly enjoyed this one (obviously), but for some other reasons as well. For one, growing up around Ann Arbor, I had to put up with people saying we were irrelevant (the oldest, most ignorant, and most lazy take in all of college football). Relevance was on everyone’s minds that night.

Secondly, I will never forget the moment that the final play occurred and I knew that we officially won the game. I remember falling to my knees and just weeping with joy. My father had the exact same reaction. Even though the national championship did not pan out well at all, in that moment, we were perfect. Through all the pain, stress, and turmoil of recent years past, we finally were atop the college football world. It felt incredible finally to have that feeling since I didn’t know what that was like until that moment.

Also, the game was done about midnight local time for me. I had my trumpet with me, and in the cold, November air of Southeast Michigan, 20 miles from Ann Arbor, I played the victory march outside as loud as I could. I didn’t care if I woke up the whole neighborhood. It needed to be heard.

Now, let’s Beat Southern Cal!

We hate them. They hate us. Let’s take it to them on Saturday night. Get emotional, get pumped, get hyped.

To send us out, here is one of the best hype videos for this series ever:

Give ‘em hell, Irish. Beat SC.

Go Irish. Beat Trojans.