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Notre Dame Football: Three Things from USC

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Well...Saturday night was pretty fun eh?

NCAA Football: Southern California at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

1. That was the most satisfying win in my lifetime

NCAA Football: Southern California at Notre Dame Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I’m fairly young. I’m only 23 so i wasn’t really cognizant of the glory days of Lou Holtz. Saturday night was the most satisfying win I’ve ever experienced. The 2012 win over Oklahoma was fun, but they didn’t outclass the Sooners that night. It wasn’t until Saturday when I witnessed Notre Dame just thoroughly dominate a quality ranked opponent like that. So far, the changes in culture Brian Kelly made in the offseason have worked out for the better.

2. Welcome to the Josh Adams Heisman race

NCAA Football: Southern California at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I wrote about how Adams not getting Heisman love was justified. Until the other night, Adams had not really produced vs. a quality opponent and he’d yet to play a complete game. He did both against USC. The junior back ran 19 times for 194 yards and three scores, including an 84-yard touchdown run. He might not win the Heisman because the media is infatuated with Saquon Barkley, but for the moment he’s at least getting some attention and that is all we can ask for.

3. Remember when people worried about the Irish D-line?

NCAA Football: Southern California at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time back over the summer and fall camp when the d-line was a question mark for many. Now? Not so much. The Irish were all over Sam Darnold and had him running for his life for most of the night on Saturday. The Irish five sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Khalid Kareem led the way with two sacks in what was the best game of his young career. The Notre Dame defense is playing at a high level right now, and the pass rush is big part of that.

Bonus observations

  • He may have completed only nine passes, but Wimbush threw the ball pretty well against the Trojans. Both of his touchdown passes were perfect balls. He threaded the needle to Equanimeous St. Brown on the first one, and put the ball in a perfect spot on the touchdown to Kevin Stepherson.
  • Speaking of Stepherson, he took a step forward on Saturday night. He’s been pretty much a non-factor for most of the season for reportedly being in Kelly’s doghouse. He seems to be emerging though after seeing more snaps that past three games. On Saturday he caught three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed twice for 29 yards. The offense has been exceptional so far, but if Stepherson can come alive in the second half of the season it’ll just add another dimension to the Irish offense.